How Soon Can You Take a Pregnancy Test

Wondering how soon can you take a pregnancy test? The answer is never overnight, but it does depend on the pregnancy test kits that you use. Cheap pregnancy tests simply aren't as reliable early on.

Pregnancy tests detect the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in the body. This hormone appears just after the embryo attaches to the uterine lining. The buildup of HCG is rapid in the first few days of pregnancy. This is the hormone that produces the symptoms of pregnancy.

Types of Pregnancy Tests
There are two ways a pregnancy test can be done: with blood or urine. Urine tests can be done at home or in a clinic. Depending on the brand of test, you collect your urine in a cup and dip a stick into it, put the urine in a special container with an eyedropper or put the stick into the urine stream. Some tests show a line, a symbol, a change in color, or will say "pregnant" or "not pregnant."

Though some of the urine tests will work as early as the first few days, it is better to wait until after the first day of your missed period. This is about two weeks after conception. When the instructions are followed, home pregnancy urine tests are about 97% accurate. If you do get a negative result, but have missed a period, have breast tenderness or feel fatigued, wait about a week and take another test, or you can go to the doctor to get a blood test.

Blood tests can detect pregnancy as early as 7 to 12 days from conception. A qualitative blood test just gives a yes or no answer, much like a urine test. They're more accurate in the early days than a urine test, though it is possible to receive a negative result. If you do, but have missed a period, a second blood test should be done.  

Another type of test is a quantitative blood test, which measures the exact amount of HCG in the blood. This test is typically given after a positive pregnancy test as a way to determine how long you've been pregnant.  

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