No longer do women have to wait until a missed period to take a pregnancy test. Technology has changed our world; making pregnancy tests accurate earlier and more affordable.
So how early can a pregnancy test be taken? Let’s learn a little about the female body before we answer that question.
Each month an egg is released from the ovary and into the Fallopian tube. This is ovulation. Once an egg is released it has approximately 24 hours to meet a sperm. If a sperm cell is able to penetrate the egg, conception occurs.
The fertilized egg (also known as the embryo) travels down the fallopian tube into the uterus. There the embryo makes a home among the lining of the uterus. This process happens about 6-12 days after ovulation. Once implantation has occurred the placenta (the organ transferring nutrients and oxygen from the mother to the baby) starts to secrete hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin).
Why is hCG important? The hormone hCG is measured on a pregnancy test. The average non-pregnant women has 5 mlU/ml of hCG in her system. After conception and implantation the amount of hCG doubles every 48-72 hours. If there is enough of the hCG hormone the test will come back positive, pregnant.
We are back to our question: How early can a pregnancy test be taken?
Pregnancy tests are made to detect different levels of the hCG hormone. Determining the level of sensitive of the test is important in knowing how early and accurate it will be. 20 mlU/ml, 50 mlU/ml, or 100 mlU/ml are the levels the tests are made to read. Due to the fact that a pregnant woman’s hormone level is increasing every couple of days the lower reading tests will be more accurate earlier on in the pregnancy.
Typically by 7 days after ovulation a women should have 50 mlU/ml of hCG. With that in mind, a more sensitive pregnancy test (20 mlU/m) will ready positive 7-10 days after ovulation.
There is such a thing as a false negative test. This could happen for two reasons. First, if ovulation occurred later the test could come back negative when a women is in fact pregnant. Second, if the hCG levels increase at a slower rate than the average the test could also come back negative. If you do decided to take a pregnancy test as early as 7 days after ovulation, and it reads as negative; it is recommended that you take another test a few days later.
We are here for you
At Options for Women we offer free pregnancy testing. We do strongly recommend you wait until 10 days after having intercourse before you come in for a free pregnancy test in order to make sure you get an accurate result. If you need an appointment for a free test or want to talk to someone, please contact us. We care because you matter!