When there’s a chance you may be pregnant, but you’re not sure yet, every day waiting to find out can seem like an eternity. Getting a definitive answer as quickly as possible will allow you to start planning for what comes next – or possibly just breath a sigh of relief.
So, how early can you know for sure?
A good rule of thumb is to test seven days after your missed period. By that point, if you are indeed pregnant, your body has likely had enough time to build up a sufficient level of human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) to be detectable by most pregnancy tests.
The HCG hormone starts being produced in a woman’s body once the placenta implants into the uterine wall. Its presence in a woman’s urine or blood therefor is a pretty reliable indicator she’s pregnant. Other factors, however, like a chemical pregnancy or recent miscarriage, can also lead to detectable hCG.
Some home pregnancy tests (all of which rely on hCG detection) claim they can provide results the first day after a missed period or even earlier. Testing too early, however, can provide an inaccurate result. The amount of hCG in a woman’s body doubles every two to three days during early pregnancy. If you test too early, even if you are pregnant, you may not yet have the necessary concentration of hCG to trigger a positive test result.
The website for Clearblue, one of the country’s most popular home pregnancy tests, even acknowledges the risk, saying, “If you are testing early, you should be aware that even if your result is not pregnant, you may still be pregnant. This is because levels of hCG vary from woman to woman and there may not yet be enough hormone for the test to give a positive result.”
A false negative result could make you feel it’s safe to engage in behaviors that could risk your baby’s health. And a false positive could cause you undo emotional stress.
Waiting the necessary time also allows leeway to account for fluctuations in your cycle. Ovulation timing can vary month to month. Plus, there can be some variance in how long it takes the fertilized egg to implant into the uterine lining and initiate hCG production.
Your best bet for an accurate result is to just wait until seven days after your missed period and then get a medical pregnancy test followed by an ultrasound.
At Sira in Gainesville, we offer free confidential medical pregnancy tests and free limited obstetrical ultrasounds to any woman, with no need for insurance. And, if your test results come back positive, we can help you choose the right path for your pregnancy and connect you with valuable community resources.
Contact Sira today at 352-377-4947.