When Should I Take a Pregnancy Test?

Pregnancy test
Photo © Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

Most women take a home pregnancy test (HPT) when they have a pregnancy symptom or two. For many women the first pregnancy symptom is usually a missed period. You may have other pregnancy symptoms as well. Pregnancy tests are usually good at the minimum on the first day that you miss your period. There are a few tests that are extra sensitive that can be used sooner, but may not be as reliable as if you were to wait.

How Do Home Pregnancy Tests Work?

These tests work by measuring the quantity of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine. Once you have conceived, it will take about 10-14 days for hCG to show up in your urine.

Where Can I Get an HPT?

You can buy home pregnancy tests at nearly any store, including most grocery stores and major chain retailers like Target or Wal-Mart. Many women will also buy bulk pregnancy tests online. These tests contain less packaging, but work just as well for much less money.

What Will Affect My Results of the Pregnancy Test?

There are very few things that will effect the test.

The biggest category would be hCG containing medications, like certain fertility drugs. Antibiotics, birth control pills and allergy medications do not effect the results of your home pregnancy test.

How Do I Read My Test?

Generally a pregnancy test will have one line if it is negative, meaning that you are not pregnant.

There will be two lines if you are pregnant. Some have these lines side-by-side, while others have them forming positive and negative signs. Be sure to follow the instructions in your pregnancy test.

Why Would I Need a Blood Pregnancy Test?

This is the type of test for pregnancy that uses blood to detect hCG. This can give your doctor or midwife specific numbers to measure and compare. In general, your hCG will nearly double about every two days in early pregnancy. So by having multiple blood tests about 48 hours a part, you can track this hCG number and get a better read on the pregnancy. Serial blood tests can help your practitioner monitor your pregnancy for miscarriage or even an ectopic pregnancy or multiples.

What Do I Do If My Pregnancy Test Is Positive?

If you have a positive test you can assume that you are pregnant. Congratulations! You will first want to decide with whom you will share the good news. Will you think of a fun way to tell your family? Have you chosen a midwife or a doctor? There is a lot to do and we'll help you!