How Soon Can I Take a Pregnancy Test?

Deciding when to take a pregnancy test (regardless of the result you’re hoping for) isn’t an easy choice. If you take the test too early, your pregnancy hormone levels might not be high enough to detect. If you want to know right away as you’re eager to start your healthy pregnancy journey, it can be extremely hard to be patient and wait.

So how soon can you take a pregnancy test? As it turns out, it can depend on several factors. 

How Soon Can I Take a Pregnancy Test? 

There are plenty of different factors that will affect how soon you can take a pregnancy test. Perhaps your body feels different or your cycle is off. These are the things to look at to determine how soon to take a pregnancy test:

You can take it before you’re late but…

We’ve all seen the ads for early pregnancy tests (that let you know before you’re even late!). It’s true that these tests may be more sensitive to lower levels of pregnancy hormones. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re just as accurate as a test taken after you miss your period. 

There’s a significant percentage of women that still don’t get a positive home pregnancy test even on the day (or after) that they miss their period. 

You can take the test before you’re late. With that said, you might still get a negative result if it’s a very early pregnancy. If your cycle doesn’t resume, it’s a good idea to test again later. 

Other Signs You Should Take a Pregnancy Test

Aside from relying on your cycle alone, there are other ways to determine if it’s a good idea to take a pregnancy test:

You Have Symptoms

Some women go through early pregnancy without any of the ‘typical’ symptoms. However, if you’re late (or your regular birth control failed) and noticing that your body feels different, that can be an indication of early pregnancy. 

If you have abnormal cramping, nausea, sore breasts, feel sick from foods or smells that normally don’t disturb you, you might want to take a pregnancy test. 

While these can all be due to other health and hormonal changes, they can also be symptoms of pregnancy, even in the early stages. 

Your Period is Late

This is certainly one of the most obvious signs women rely on to determine if they can or should take a pregnancy test. It’s worth mentioning however, that even women with very regular cycles experience a period that arrives a day or two late once in a while. 

However, if you’ve been sexually active, or perhaps doubt your birth control, taking a pregnancy test can give you the answers you need. 

What If You Have an Irregular Cycle?

An irregular cycle is far from uncommon. Many women experience their cycles in timeframes that vary from long to short. 

If you’re in this group, it can be especially difficult to determine how soon you can take a pregnancy test. 

Most doctors recommend either waiting for the longest cycle timeframe you’ve had, or splitting the difference between your shorter and longer cycles. For example, if you experience cycles around a month or longer, wait for the end of the fifth week of your cycle.

Are Early Pregnancy Tests Accurate?

Early pregnancy tests are designed to detect smaller levels of hcg (the pregnancy hormone). However, when you test too early, you can’t expect very accurate results. 

For better accuracy, at least wait until you’re late. For the best accuracy, wait until you’re about a week late. 

Conclusion

How soon can you take a pregnancy test? That’s really up to you. You can base it on your symptoms, your cycle, or how well you know your body. Just make sure that if you test early, you understand how the tests work.