How Early Can You Take a Pregnancy Test?

Desperately trying for a baby? Or quietly freaking out you might be pregnant by mistake? Just how early can you take a pregnancy test?!

The short answer is you can pee on a home pregnancy test stick any old time you want. But should you?

It’s only natural to want to find out immediately if you’ve got a baby on the way or not – especially if you’re experiencing pregnancy symptoms. But if you don’t want to waste your money by buying loads of DIY pregnancy test kits. Or be unnecessarily disappointed by checking if you’re up the duff too soon, then read on.

Implantation is the key

The general rule of thumb is that you should wait until the first day of your missed period to whip out the pee stick. The reason for this is that it’s not just about when you got busy in the bedroom. (Or had an IVF clinic procedure such as insemination or an embryo transfer).

Conception is one thing, but you can’t test whether you’re pregnant or not until implantation has occurred. A fertilised egg only starts producing hCG – the hormone detected by pregnancy tests – once it has implanted properly. In other words, when it attaches to the wall of your uterus ready to start growing into a baby.

How early can you take a pregnancy test

So how early can I take a pregnancy test then?

Well, on average it takes about seven to 14 days from when you had sex for implantation to take place. So wait at least a week after doing the deed before checking anything. Another way to look at it is when you last ovulated. If you’re tracking your ovulation, then the earliest you should do a a test is between eight and ten days past your ovulation date. If you can hold on a bit longer though, so perhaps 12 days past ovulation, then the result is going to be even more accurate.

If this is all too much to remember though, then go back to your period. They now make early detection pregnancy tests meaning you can pretty accurately find out if you’re having a baby or not, six days before your period is due. So no more waiting in agony for your period to come or be late!

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Other stuff to remember

A few other handy tips for you:

  • Always buy quality home pregnancy tests from reputable brands with a high level of accuracy – 99%.
  • Regardless of a positive or negative result, do another test two days after your first one. This way you can rule out a chemical pregnancy (early miscarriage) and other things, such as your hCG levels not being high enough to be detected.
  • Don’t drink too much water before testing, and catch the urine mid-stream. Otherwise it might be too diluted to pick up a positive result. And don’t leave your urine sitting around for ages before testing it, you need to test it immediately.
  • Women going through fertility treatments or who are perimenopausal (nearing menopause) can often have elevated levels of hCG, resulting in false positive results. So do multiple tests.

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Not keen on peeing on sticks?

If you can’t get to the chemist or don’t want to fork out for yet another pregnancy test, some women swear by using toothpaste to confirm whether they’re pregnant or not. Simply mix a bit of wee with a dab of plain toothpaste in a cup. If it goes frothy with a blueish tinge you could be up the duff!

Fertility tracking brand Ava is also working on a nifty smart bracelet that will be able to notify you when you’re pregnant, so that could soon be another option too.

However, remember if it’s concrete answers you’re looking for then head to your doctor. A quick urine test and/or a blood test will give you a definite thumbs up or not. And you can also go through all your next steps with them at the same time too.

Whatever the outcome you’re hoping for, fingers crossed and good luck!

Are you trying for a baby at the moment? Read our article here about what foods can affect your fertility and also 11 crazy things couples do when trying to fall pregnant.

Avatar of Susan Taylor

Susan is a Sydney based writer and mum of three highly energetic boys who keep her firmly on her toes (and slightly bonkers). When she’s not writing or trying to keep it all together she’s probably reading, watching Netflix or having a sneaky massage.

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