A person looking at their pregnancy test.

The best time to take a home pregnancy test

Timing when to take an at home pregnancy test can be a little confusing, and you might have questions about why Ovia suggests that you take a test on a specific day in your cycle.

How to time your pregnancy test properly

Here’s what you should know about this timing – and the science behind our recommendations.

First, understand how home pregnancy tests work

In the earliest stages of pregnancy, a fertilized egg will begin to implant in the uterine lining. This happens around four to six days after conception. Once implantation starts, the placenta starts producing human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), the pregnancy hormone. Home pregnancy tests work by determining if there is hCG present in urine – and, as you might know, home pregnancy tests ask you to pee to a stick to measure this.

Because hCG doesn’t show up until after implantation begins, if you don’t wait a few days to make sure the embryo has had a chance to implant, there’s the chance of getting a false negative – meaning that the pregnancy test reads as a “negative” even though pregnancy has occured. Implantation usually happens six to twelve days after ovulation, so the absolute earliest that you can test for pregnancy is a week after ovulation. For even more accurate results, it’s preferable to wait a few extra days so that levels of hCG can rise to more detectable levels. Waiting a few days after the first day of a missed period usually guarantees the most accurate results from a home pregnancy test.

Utilize Ovia Health to help with pregnancy testing

When it comes to pregnancy test timing, you probably know it’s best to take it at least one or more days after your next period is due. But your menstrual and ovulation cycle can fluctuate every month, meaning certain days of your cycle might change on a monthly basis and make it harder for you to know exactly when it’s time for you to take a pregnancy test. The US Department of Health and Human Services reports that nearly 20% of individuals who are pregnant get a false negative, because they’ve miscalculated their period or it arrived later than expected that month.

This is where tracking is helpful. Different ovulation symptoms can suggest that you’re in a certain part of your cycle. For example, in the luteal phase, which is when the egg implants and your body starts making the pregnancy hormone, your body releases progesterone, which can affect your moods, breast tenderness, and cervical mucus. Spotting might happen as a sign of implantation bleeding, too. These kinds of symptoms tell Ovia what phase of your cycle you’re in.

When you log your data consistently, Ovia takes all of the information you provide, like your period dates, cervical fluid consistency, basal body temperature, symptoms, and moods, and uses it to predict when you’re ovulating and when is the best time to take a pregnancy test. If Ovia tells you to test on a day that’s different from what you expected, this could be because of natural fluctuations in your cycle, as well as symptoms that suggest to Ovia that you’re at a different day in your cycle than you previously thought.

Other things to consider

Cycles fluctuate month by month, and it can be difficult to know for sure when one phase of your cycle ends and another begins. And if you’re patiently waiting for some positive news, we know you can’t get it soon enough – so we’re here to help. By consistently logging your symptoms and moods, you’re providing Ovia with important information that will help us predict the best – and most accurate – day for you to take a pregnancy test.

  • “Home use tests: Pregnancy.” FDA. US Food and Drug Administration, Jun 5 2016. Web.
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Home pregnancy tests: Can you trust the results?” MayoClinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Dec 2 2015. Web.
  • Connie Matthiessen. “Week 01 to Week 04 of Pregnancy.” HealthDay. HealthDay, Jan 20 2017. Web.

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