When Can You Take a Pregnancy Test?


The burning question for anyone who is impatiently awaiting positive results: when can you take a pregnancy test? When I was trying to get pregnant, this is something I wondered too. I was so impatient that I wanted to take that test the moment I knew I ovulated. Of course, it wouldn’t have given me accurate results at that time, so I had to force myself to wait. Not an easy thing when you’ve been trying for six years!

RELATED: Five of the Best Pregnancy Tests

So exactly when can you take a pregnancy test? That’s what we’re going to discuss today. The answer isn’t really as straight-forward as you’d think, especially with so many different tests on the market.

When can you take a pregnancy test AND get accurate results?

That’s the real question, isn’t it? You can take a pregnancy test whenever your pretty heart desires, but you can only take them AND expect anything resembling accurate results during certain times of the month.

For the purposes of this article, I’m assuming that you’re asking about a home pregnancy test. Blood tests and sacrificial bunnies have different rules. I’m joking about the bunnies. No one does that anymore.

When it comes to timing, it used to be a matter of both the right time of day and of month. Let’s talk about both.

Right time of month to take a pregnancy test: Timing your pregnancy test for the right stage of your cycle is vital if you want accurate results. The good news is, many newer home pregnancy tests don’t make you wait until you miss your period. For example, First Response Early Result Pregnancy Test gives 76% accurate results up to five days before you’re supposed to get your period.

If you want 99% accuracy, though, you’ll have to wait until the first day of your missed period for most tests, even those that boast earlier results. While that seems to be the “magical day of reckoning” for most tests, a fewer off brands may require even more time to show accurate results.

Oddly, though, the cost of a test doesn’t determine its effectiveness. I got accurate results the day before I was due to get my period with a cheap pregnancy test that I bought in bulk. That was ten years ago. Pregnancy test technology has improved since then, so don’t write off the cheap tests.

Right time of the day: Once upon a time (probably back in the sacrificial bunny days) you had to take a pregnancy test with your first morning urine. Why? Because it contains the highest concentration of HcG, the pregnancy hormone that makes your test come up positive. Of course, if you got up to use the bathroom two hours before waking, this theory goes right out the window.

These days, though, you rarely need that first morning urine if you’re testing after you’ve missed your period. If you’re trying to get accurate results before your missed period, though, you may want to consider using your first morning urine.

The best advice I can give you when it comes to answering the question of when can you take a pregnancy test: TRY to be patient and wait until you miss your period. Even with a highly accurate early pregnancy test, there’s a chance of a false negative. If you’ve been trying for a long time, that negative can break your heart. I know it’s hard, but try to wait a few more days and get more accurate results.

Do you have any tips on the best time to take a pregnancy test? Tell us in the comments!

22 thoughts on “When Can You Take a Pregnancy Test?”

  1. The sensitivity of tests just gets better and better. I’ve heard from friends that you can all of the information online about which test is “the best”, what minimum level of HcG they measure, and even galleries to compare the photos for faint lines vs evaporation lines! The TTC world is a wealth of knowledge!

    1. It has come a LONG way since my days of TTC. Back then, I think there were one or two articles that listed the sensitivity of tests. It was so interesting too because, back then, dollar store tests ranked among the most sensitive.

  2. I’ve only used a pregnancy test once, & it was to confirm that I was pregnant with my son. It worked accurately & put huge smiles on the faces of the entire family!

  3. First Response has sure come a long way from when I was trying to get pregnant admittingly 20-some years ago. lol They have really improved in accuracy and testing is so easy now too! :)

  4. After many years of trying to get pregnant, I learned it best to wait until I was officially late with my cycle. I spent a lot of money on tests before I was able to finally conceive.

    1. I know exactly what you mean, Stefany. It took me six years to get pregnant. During those years, I probably should have bought stock in both pregnancy tests and ovulation predictors! Although I did end up getting a bunch of bulk pregnancy tests from a friend who had just gotten pregnant. Those cheapos were the ones that told me I was finally pregnant.

  5. Robin (Masshole Mommy)

    I took mine within a day or two of being late and I got the correct result. I am like clockwork, though, and as soon as I was late I knew.

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