Think you might be pregnant?
Even with the most effective birth control methods, there’s always a chance for error. After all, it takes just one sperm to fertilize the egg. Finding out whether or not that’s happened is as easy as taking an over-the-counter (OTC) pregnancy test.
Most tests are 99 percent effective if taken after a missed period. The best part is that you can do it in the privacy of your own home. Simply open the test, follow the instructions, and wait for the recommended amount of time to view the results.
How soon can you take a pregnancy test?
You should wait to take a pregnancy test until the week after your missed period for the most accurate result.
If you don’t want to wait until you’ve missed your period, you should wait at least one to two weeks after you had sex. If you are pregnant, your body needs time to develop detectable levels of HCG. This typically takes seven to 12 days after successful implantation of an egg.
You may receive an inaccurate result if the test is taken too early in your cycle.
Here are some signs that you should take a pregnancy test:
1. You’ve missed your period
One of the first and most reliable signs of pregnancy is a missed period. But keep in mind that your period can sometimes be delayed or skipped due to stress, diet, exercise, or certain medical conditions.
2. You have cramps
Implantation can also produce a feeling similar to menstrual cramps. In early pregnancy, you may feel this discomfort and think your period is just around the corner, but then it never comes.
3. Your breasts hurt
As your pregnancy produces more and more estrogen and progesterone, these hormones start to make changes in your body to support the baby’s growth. Your breasts may feel tender and appear bigger due to increased blood flow. Your nipples might hurt and the veins might look darker under the skin.
4. You’re feeling different
Along with cramps and sore breasts, early pregnancy can cause: nausea, food aversions, exhaustion, frequent urination. Any unusual physical symptoms could prompt you to take a pregnancy test.
5. Your contraception failed
Birth control pills, condoms, and other types of contraceptive devices don’t provide 100 percent protection from pregnancy. In other words, there’s always a slight chance of pregnancy, no matter how careful you are. Consider taking a test if you experience any of the signs we’ve listed.
When in doubt, test!
Sexually active women in their reproductive years have a chance of pregnancy every month, even when using protection. There are certain signals your body might send that should prompt you to take a pregnancy test.
For the best results, take the test after you think you’ve missed your period. Test during your first morning bathroom visit, or hold it for several hours to increase the concentration of the HCG hormone that the test measures.
Testing early helps to ensure that you get proper care for yourself and, if applicable, prenatal care for your baby. In the event of a positive result, contact your doctor as soon as possible to discuss your options and potential next steps.