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Why do I have to wait 10 days after sex to take a pregnancy test?

Ten days feels like a long time to someone wondering all the while whether or not they’re pregnant. The simplest answer is ten days is the average time for the fertilized egg to travel to and implant in the uterine lining. Examining the “behind the scene” details might help clarify the answer…

Avenue Women’s Center provides highly accurate, free pregnancy tests to women in Chicagoland. Is now not the right time to be pregnant? Are you concerned about a possible pregnancy? Please call or text us today.

How It All Works – Pregnancy Basics

There are a number of variables involved when pregnancy occurs. First, ovulation – the event when the ovary erupts and an egg is produced – occurs on day 14 of an average menstrual cycle. The average woman’s menstrual cycle takes 28 days. And the day an egg is produced occurs 14 days after the first day of the last menstrual period, or LMP. Keep in mind that this 14-day mark is for the average woman, and that, for some women, ovulation can take place later than day 14. The egg lives 12-24 hours and if not fertilized will eventually dissolve and be flushed away in menstrual flow. Sperm, on the other hand, live 3 days on average. So a woman is most fertile 3 days before ovulation and 24 hours after ovulation. If she has unprotected sex during that time, fertilization may occur.

Once fertilized, the egg is swept down the fallopian tube toward the central cavity of the uterus. This process can take 6-12 days. Once inside the uterus, the egg begins implantation. That is the process of embedding in the thick, development-friendly environment of the uterine lining. This location is where the pregnancy will develop. Once the egg is implanted in the uterine lining, it begins to develop an attachment which will eventually become the placenta. In addition, a hormone known as HCG is produced. It is only when levels of HCG are high enough to be detected in the mother’s bloodstream that it can be evaluated by either a blood test or a urine test. At three weeks of pregnancy (or one week following conception) the range of HCG in normal pregnancy can range from 5-50 mIU/L (a tiny amount, but wide range, in laboratory calculating language).

Why Wait 10 Days for a Pregnancy Test?

Home pregnancy tests are very convenient and common these days. They can be used for detecting the presence of HCG in the urine in the range of 20-25 mIU/L, which is typical for approximately 10 days after conception. But the longer one waits and is closer to the first day of the missed period, the more accurate the test will be.

Taking a home pregnancy test can be confusing or feel isolating. Receive reliable results you can trust in a professional environment. If you’d like to find out for sure if you’re pregnant, Avenue Women’s Center offers free pregnancy tests. Our highly sensitive, lab-quality tests are accurate just 10 days after possible conception. With six centers in DuPage County, we offer convenient, confidential services at no cost. Call, chat, email, or text for an appointment today! 

Guest post by Carla Sebaski, RN

The information provided here is general in nature.  It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center.  If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention.  Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.

2 responses to “Why do I have to wait 10 days after sex to take a pregnancy test?

  1. I had sex on 28th last month but because i want a baby i didn’t wait my periods to begin i tested today but it was negative i still believe that i might pregnant so am waiting to miss my periods

    1. Hi Essie, I’m so glad you found us! You’re right that it’s still possible you could be pregnant since the tests may detect a pregnancy “as early” as 10 days. Waiting to miss your period or testing again in a few days sounds like a good plan. Please let us know if you’d like to come in for a medical-grade test at one of our locations – we’d be happy to see you.

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