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Knowing When it’s Time to Take a Pregnancy Test

Pregnancy TestingWhether you’ve been actively trying to get pregnant or it came as a bit of a surprise, knowing when to take a pregnancy test is important. Taking one too early could give a false negative result, delaying you from getting proper prenatal care. Testing late could mean you participated in potentially dangerous behaviors early in the baby’s development, like drinking alcohol or taking certain medications. Thankfully, pregnancy testing is simple and, when done correctly, can provide you with the accurate results you need.

The Right Time for a Pregnancy Test

While some over-the-counter pregnancy tests boast being able to give you results before a missed period, you should be somewhat cautious as these aren’t always accurate. The best time to take a test is after your period is already considered late or missed. For women who experience irregular periods or no periods, a pregnancy test will usually provide accurate results when taken three weeks after sex.

Some women may begin having early pregnancy symptoms that signal the need to take a pregnancy test. These may include:

  • Weight gain
  • Tender, swollen breasts
  • Mood changes
  • Increased urination
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Slight spotting referred to as implantation bleeding

It’s important to note that not all women will experience symptoms. Plus, many of these symptoms also come with menstruation, so it can be easy to confuse them with pregnancy symptoms. The only way to truly confirm a pregnancy is by using an accurate test.

Pregnancy Testing Options

When you need a pregnancy test, you have a few options. You can purchase a pregnancy test over-the-counter from the pharmacy, drugstore, grocery store, and more. These tests are simple urine tests that check for the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone that is present only in pregnancy when the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus. A urine test, when used as instructed, is considered 99% accurate.

If you have already received a positive result with a urine test, or suspect you may be pregnant based on symptoms, visit your doctor or clinic for a blood test. The blood test also tests for hCG, but is usually more conclusive as outside factors, like dehydration or time of day, won’t influence the results. The hCG level present in your blood will help your doctor determine how far along your pregnancy may be when it’s still too early for an ultrasound.

Is it time to take a pregnancy test? For quick, accurate results, visit one of our convenient Midwest Express Clinic locations. We offer both urine and blood tests with on-site lab testing services, all with no appointment necessary.