How Soon After Unprotected Sex Can I Test for Pregnancy?

If you think you may be pregnant, you must determine right away if you are. The sooner you know for sure if you are pregnant, the sooner you can start necessary prenatal care.

Key takeaways:
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    The best time to take a pregnancy test following unprotected sex is after the first day of your missed period.
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    You can take some early pregnancy tests as soon as eight days after having unprotected sex, but the results may not be accurate.
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    Home pregnancy tests detect a pregnancy hormone called hCG.
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    Pregnancy tests can sometimes provide false negative or false positive results.
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    For the most accurate pregnancy test results, test your urine first thing in the morning and try to avoid drinking a lot of water.
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    If you have a positive pregnancy test result, make an appointment with your doctor immediately.

As hard as it may be, you may have to wait to take a pregnancy test if you want it to be accurate. The best time to take a pregnancy test is around the time of your missed period, which will vary depending on the length of your menstrual cycle.

How soon should I take a pregnancy test after sex?

The short answer is that you should wait until the first day of your missed period or 21 days after unprotected sex to take a pregnancy test. However, you may be able to take a pregnancy test as early as two weeks after sex, as your missed period will likely fall about two weeks after ovulation. To get pregnant, you would have to be ovulating at the time of having sex.

When is the best time to take a pregnancy test?

The best time to take a pregnancy test is usually on or around the start of your first missed period. This usually falls anywhere from two weeks to 21 days after having sex. Some pregnancy tests may be able to detect pregnancy hormones in the urine sooner, but the longer you wait, the more likely the test results will be accurate.

Many women measure their menstrual cycle based on an average 28-day cycle with an ovulation day around day 14. If this is your typical menstrual cycle, then the first day of your missed period would fall about two weeks after conception (when you had sex). So, you could likely get accurate pregnancy test results about two weeks after sex.

However, it is important to note that not every woman has a 28-day menstrual cycle in which they ovulate on the 14th day. Menstrual cycles vary a lot, so it is hard to say when exactly is the best time to take a pregnancy test as this will vary from person to person. The best time to take a pregnancy test is after you've missed your period. The earlier you take the test, the less accurate it will be.

What about early pregnancy tests?

Some early pregnancy tests may be able to detect pregnancy hormones in the urine as early as eight days after ovulation. However, these test results may not be as accurate. Waiting as long as possible to take a test will produce the most accurate results. Of course, you can take a pregnancy test as early as possible. Just remember that your results may not be entirely accurate, and you'll likely have to test again in a few days or weeks.

How do home pregnancy tests work?

Pregnancy tests work by detecting a pregnancy hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG. HCG is unique to a pregnancy and is detectable in urine or blood, meaning it is only released when a woman is pregnant. Because it takes some time for hCG to build up in the body, a pregnancy test taken too early may come back negative if the amount of hCG in the body is too low to detect.

How do I know if my pregnancy test is accurate?

The best way to get an accurate pregnancy test is to wait and take it at the right time. Taking a pregnancy test too early makes a false negative test more likely, since your hCG levels may be too low to detect.

It is also helpful to take the pregnancy test first thing in the morning since this is when hCG levels will be more concentrated in the urine. If you drink too much water, you could also get a false negative pregnancy test as your urine will be too diluted.

The chances of a false positive pregnancy test are incredibly slim (only about 1%), but it can happen. A false positive pregnancy test can happen when an egg is fertilized and the pregnancy is not viable. This is referred to as a chemical pregnancy. Some fertility drugs also contain hCG, so taking a pregnancy test around the same time you've taken one of these medications can also lead to a false positive test.

You may notice other early pregnancy signs, such as tender breasts, nausea, or fatigue. The presence of additional pregnancy signs can help you confirm the accuracy of your pregnancy test.

When should I see my doctor following a positive pregnancy test?

Following a positive pregnancy test, it is recommended to see your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will be able to confirm your pregnancy with additional testing and possibly an ultrasound (depending on how far along you are). Your doctor will also establish a routine for care and answer any questions you may have about taking care of yourself throughout the pregnancy.