What DPO Can You Take a Pregnancy Test?

For most accurate results, it's best to wait until 14 days past ovulation (DPO)

Photo Illustration of person looking at pregnancy test

Verywell / Photo Illustration by Michela Buttignol / Getty Images

For many people trying to conceive, taking multiple early pregnancy tests becomes a habit. However, taking them before your period is expected is not recommended because even if you are pregnant the test may not produce an accurate result. Instead, it's best to wait until at least 14 days past ovulation (DPO) before doing a pregnancy test. This is typically when enough hCG hormone would be circulating in your body for a positive reading, Holding off to 15 DPO is even better.

Whether you are hoping for a positive result or are not trying to conceive and anxious to know ASAP if you're pregnant, there are many good reasons not to take tests early (“early" meaning before your period is actually due, although technically, a pregnancy test taken on the day your period is due is also considered early). The good news is that once you wait until 14 or 15 DPO, test accuracy is extremely high. So, before you take that next test early, consider these drawbacks.

Disappointment

If you're hoping to conceive and your early test is negative, you’re likely to be disappointed. The odds of getting a positive result at 10 DPO are extremely small, even if you did actually conceive. Every day earlier than that, those odds are even lower.

What about early pregnancy tests—the ones where the box says you can take the test before your missed period? If taken correctly, these may deliver a positive result a day or two before your period is expected (say, at 12 DPO, not 10). But an early negative may be false. That means waiting another few days and re-testing. Consider whether that is worth your money and your emotional well-being.

Unclear Results

An early test doesn’t really answer any questions. It just confirms you don’t have any detectable pregnancy hormone in your urine yet. The process of fertilization and implantation takes several days, and a test taken before this process is complete won't be positive even if you're pregnant.

Chemical Pregnancy

If you do get an early positive pregnancy test result, it's not time to relax and celebrate (if you want to be pregnant) or panic (if you don't want to be pregnant). Unfortunately, one of the biggest drawbacks of early testing is that these early tests can detect a pregnancy that isn’t going to last, known as a chemical pregnancy.

According to at least one study, very early miscarriages may occur up to 30% of the time. Some are so early that most people don’t realize they are having one. If you don't test, you will get your period without knowing that you had conceived a nonviable pregnancy. While it may be disappointing to get your period, this may be less painful than thinking you were pregnant and then experiencing a loss.

You should not consider a positive to be a true positive until it happens at 15 or 16 DPO (in other words, after your period is late). Of course, there is still a risk of miscarriage at this point but it's lower than at 10 DPO.

Anxiety

The two-week wait can be a stressful, anxious time, born out of the uncertainty between ovulation and your expected period. You may think that taking tests makes it less intense, but it really doesn’t. You just won’t know if you're pregnant until your period is late and then you take a test.

Taken too early, a test—whether it's negative or positive—will not give you a clear answer. And that uncertainty is likely to do nothing to ease your anxiety during this time.

Effect of Fertility Treatments

If you’re going through fertility treatments, an early pregnancy test may pick up on the hormones used in these treatments. Specifically, if you have a trigger shot—or an injection of hCG, sold under the brand names Ovidrel, Novarel, Pregnyl, and Profasi—you’re injecting pregnancy hormone into your system.

This means that if you took a pregnancy test the day after the injection, you would get a positive result. But that doesn’t mean you’re pregnant. Wait at least 10 days after the injection to test (12 days is even better).

Cost

Even the ultra-cheap pregnancy test strips that you buy in bulk can add up if you take multiple tests per month (which you'll need to do if you test too early). If you're trying to conceive for several months or more, you'll use a lot of tests. Since you can't get a definitive answer on a too-early test, save them for when they're more likely to be accurate.

A Word From Verywell

Taking an early pregnancy test is certainly tempting if you are trying to conceive. Tests promising an early result are readily available, as are very inexpensive options that might allow you to take multiple tests with every cycle. But the uncertainty of early testing may produce more stress than waiting, even when waiting feels like an eternity. If that's the case for you, hold off until you miss your period.

6 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Cleveland Clinic. Your guide to pregnancy tests.

  3. Han S. The chemical pregnancy: Technology, mothering, and the making of a reproductive experience. J Motherhood Initiative. 2014;5(2):42-53.

  4. Larsen EC, Christiansen OB, Kolte AM, Macklon N. New insights into mechanisms behind miscarriage. BMC Med. 2013;11(1):154. doi:10.1186/1741-7015-11-154

  5. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Pregnancy.

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By Rachel Gurevich, RN
Rachel Gurevich is a fertility advocate, author, and recipient of The Hope Award for Achievement, from Resolve: The National Infertility Association. She is a professional member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and has been writing about women’s health since 2001. Rachel uses her own experiences with infertility to write compassionate, practical, and supportive articles.