How soon can you have a pregnancy test?

As recently as the 1970s, you had to miss a period before taking a pregnancy test, and results could take up to two hours. These days, you can use a home pregnancy test to find out earlier, faster, and more accurately than you expect.

For the most accurate results, you should still wait until the day after your missed period to test. However, some over-the-counter (OTC) early pregnancy tests are sensitive enough to detect some pregnancies in the days before a missed period, and you can get results within minutes.

This article will discuss the types of pregnancy tests, the factors that can affect the results, and methods for determining how often testing is available and whether retesting is necessary after a negative result.

Everything you need to know about pregnancy tests

How does a home pregnancy test work?

Home pregnancy tests check the urine for a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). It’s called the “pregnancy hormone” because it’s only produced when you’re pregnant. If your menstrual cycle is 28 days, you can detect hCG in your urine 12 to 15 days after ovulation.

Types of Pregnancy Tests

Today’s home pregnancy tests are easy to use and nearly as accurate as those offered at a healthcare provider’s office. But there are a few things to consider when deciding which pregnancy test is right for you.

urine test

Urine testing can be done at home or at your healthcare provider’s office using an over-the-counter kit.

Home OTC tests include peeing on the end of a stick to check for hCG. If you have a urine test in a health care provider’s office, it’s usually necessary to urinate in a cup, and the provider will then dip the test stick into the urine sample.

Small amounts of hCG can sometimes be detected in the urine around 10 days after conception or pregnancy.

If you take a urine pregnancy test less than 10 days after conception, the test may give a “false negative” result. If you had an early test and it came back negative, you should keep testing if you miss a period.

For the most reliable results, wait until after the first day of your missed period.

What if my test result is negative?

Getting a negative pregnancy test result doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have hCG in your urine, especially if it was taken before a missed period.It just means it doesn’t contain enough Trigger positive results.

blood test

Blood tests to detect pregnancy are rarely performed routinely because they are expensive and the same results can be obtained from a urine test.

However, if you have a high-risk pregnancy, are undergoing fertility treatment, or are concerned that you may have complications such as multiple births, a miscarriage (before 20 weeks), or an ectopic pregnancy, your healthcare provider may order blood tests for pregnancy (fertilization The egg implants outside the uterus, such as in the fallopian tube).

Results from blood tests take longer than urine tests, but they can detect lesser amounts of hCG. Your healthcare provider may use one or both of the following types of blood tests:

  • Qualitative hCG blood test: A qualitative blood pregnancy test provides the overall picture. It tells your healthcare provider if hCG is absent or present in your blood. These tests are slightly more accurate than urine tests.
  • Quantitative hCG blood test: Quantitative refers to a count or amount. The results of this test are given as exact numbers. This gives your healthcare provider more detailed information about where you are during your pregnancy and how it is progressing.


Urine tests that look for the pregnancy hormone hCG can sometimes detect pregnancy around 10 days after conception. Blood tests can detect very small amounts of hCG, but are expensive and are usually only done for people undergoing fertility treatment or who are at risk for complications.


When it comes to pregnancy tests, timing is everything. This is because the amount of hCG in urine increases over time.

During early pregnancy, HCG levels should almost double every 48 hours, so if you’re pregnant and wait a few days for a test, you’re more likely to test positive.

best time in cycle

After pregnancy, it takes a while for hCG to increase to detectable levels.

The best time to take a pregnancy test is after your period is delayed. If you don’t want to wait until you miss your period, you should wait at least a week or two after sex.

Everyone’s fertile window (the time you can get pregnant) is different, depending on when they ovulate.

Menstrual bleeding usually starts 14 days after ovulation. Women who ovulate on day 14 usually get their period on day 28 or 29. Women who ovulate later in the month may not get their period until day 31 or later.

It’s best to wait until you’re sure you’ve missed a period of time before taking a pregnancy test. If you’re not sure when you’re ovulating, you can try an ovulation test kit or track your basal body temperature.

How long does it take to get pregnant?

Are you sure your period is late?

Many women have irregular menstrual cycles, long or short. It can sometimes be difficult to remember the exact date of your last period and when your next period will be. 10% to 20% of pregnant women get a negative pregnancy test because the test is too early.

Tracking your cycle can help you understand a few things: when you ovulated, the first day of your last period, when your next period is expected, and a general idea of ​​the length of your cycle.

Best time of day to test

Take the test first thing in the morning so you have a better chance of getting accurate results. Assuming you don’t wake up all night drinking lots of water, your urine will be more concentrated. This means that if you are pregnant, you will build up or more hCG in your urine.

This is especially true if you are taking the test before your expected period or just a day or two later. As you get further pregnant, the test is more likely to detect hCG at any time of the day.

Early Results Pregnancy Test

An early pregnancy test is a test you can use in the days before you miss your period. Keep in mind that these tests are more accurate for women who conceive (pregnancy) early in their cycle.

If you ovulate a little later, you may conceive later in your cycle. In this case, these tests may not have enough hCG to detect until near or after your missed period.

If you have had an hCG trigger injection to help with fertility, it is best to wait two weeks after the injection to take a pregnancy test. Trigger shots can lead to false positives if tested before the drug leaves your system.

How the luteal phase helps conception happen

Negative test but ‘feeling’ pregnant?

Talk to your healthcare provider if you have a negative pregnancy test, but you are experiencing early pregnancy symptoms, such as:

  • breast tenderness
  • mild cramps
  • very light bleeding called spotting
  • fatigue
  • Sensitivity to smell
  • a little nauseous in the morning

Since the amount of hCG increases rapidly during pregnancy, you may need to retest in a few days.

How well did the early tests work?

If you want to take the test before your period is late, consider the pros and cons first.


  • The chance of getting a positive result is very small

  • This is helpful if you need to start or stop taking your medication

  • Get you started with prenatal lifestyle changes


  • High chance of false negative results if pregnant

  • The cost of repeating the test if necessary

  • Inaccurate firing of hCG triggers

Test accuracy

Most tests promise to be 99% accurate on the day you miss your period. But that doesn’t actually work for early results.

In a European study, seven pregnancy tests were tested for accuracy. Three of these seven were accurate 97.6%-100% of the time. The other four had lower accuracy, ranging from 81.6% to 95.9%. The study does note that these tests are regulated differently in Europe than in the U.S., and results may vary by user.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the accuracy of these tests depends largely on how people follow directions and interpret the results. The FDA also noted that these tests are able to detect hCG, but if someone tests too early, there may not be enough hCG to detect, resulting in false negatives.


While you can theoretically start a pregnancy test 10 days after conception, even if you are pregnant, testing earlier may give you a negative result.

With the rapid increase in pregnancy hormones, the longer you wait, the better your chances of getting an accurate result.

The best time to take a pregnancy test is in the morning, the day after your expected period, when you urinate for the first time of the day.

VigorTip words

It’s understandable if you want to get tested early when you’re in a rush to see results. If the result is positive, contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible to discuss your options and possible next steps.