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The Best Time for Pregnancy Testing

by
author image Jennifer Olvera
Jennifer Olvera has been writing since 1997 for publications and websites such as "Chicago Sun-Times," Orbitz, "Chicago Tribune" and Priceline. A four-time author with books that include "Food Lovers' Guide to Chicago," she is a recipe columnist for Serious Eats. Olvera received a Bachelor of Arts in English from DePaul University.
The Best Time for Pregnancy Testing
A woman is holding a pregnancy test. Photo Credit Anna Omelchenko/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

One of the most common questions that arises among women who are trying to get—or are concerned about being—pregnant is when to take a pregnancy test. Home pregnancy tests, which involve detecting the presence of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in the body, are generally quick, easy to take and—when done properly—about 97 percent effective, according to the American Pregnancy Association.

Time of Month

The American Pregnancy Association advises women to wait until the first day of their missed period (approximately two weeks after conception) before attempting to take a home pregnancy test. Some home pregnancy tests, which are available over the counter, are able to detect hCG sooner than others. However, taking pregnancy tests early—or incorrectly—increases the likelihood of an inaccurate reading.

Time of Day

Pregnancy.org recommends taking a pregnancy test with your first morning urine to ensure the most accurate reading, as this is when the body’s hCG level is the highest. Alternatively, it’s best to wait a minimum of four hours after urinating before attempting to take a pregnancy test.

After Ovulation

The HCG hormone may first appear 6 to12 days after ovulation when an egg is implanted; in fact, 84 percent of pregnancies implant 8 to10 days after ovulation occurs, according to BabyHopes.com. The time it takes for a fertilized egg to implant in the uterus wall varies from one woman to the next, and taking a test this early may result in a false negative.

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