Pregnancy Tests: When And How To Take A Pregnancy Test

by Sep 10, 2019

When you are trying to conceive, hope and excitement make you want to take a pregnancy test ASAP. This is perfectly understandable and common, so it’s essential to use the test accurately.


In this post, you’ll learn when and how to use a home pregnancy test. You’ll also discover many helpful tips and important facts about testing.  All of your bases are covered, so you can feel confident about testing at home.

When Can You Take A Pregnancy Test?

Take a home pregnancy test (HPT) at least one day after the estimated start date of your next period. If you have a 28-day cycle, wait until:

  • 29 days after the first day of your last period
  • 14 days past ovulation (DPO)

Results are up to 99% accurate the day after a missed period, but they can be 75% accurate at times. Range in accuracy is due to a few factors.

  • Correct use of a home pregnancy test.
  • Knowing the first day of your last period.
  • Knowing your ovulation and menstruation cycle dates.

If you aren’t tracking your cycle, there are many benefits to doing so. Using Mira’s fertility kit can help you know when you ovulate by tracking your precise LH levels. Combined with AI personalized cycle prediction, this helps you test at the right time.

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When Is It Too Early To Take A Pregnancy Test?

Being excited about pregnancy test results can make waiting seem hard. Unfortunately, you can’t get answers right after unprotected sex during ovulation. This is true whether you’re pregnant or not pregnant.

Home pregnancy tests detect a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in urine. Your body doesn’t produce hCG until a fertilized egg attaches during implantation. This usually happens between 7 to 12 DPO.

There are standard hCG levels for the first few weeks of pregnancy. The weeks below are based on the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP).

  • 3 weeks – 5 – 50 mIU/mL
  • 4 weeks – 5 – 426 mIU/mL
  • 5 weeks – 18 – 7,340 mIU/mL
  • 6 weeks – 1,080 – 56,500 mIU/mL

Pregnancy tests use a minimum level of hCG to detect positive results. There are some important figures about hCG detection you should know.

  • hCG total range detection – 10 mIU/mL to 100 mIU/mL
  • hCG average detection – 25 to 50 mIU/mL
  • hCG early result test detection – 25 mIU/mL

These test statistics include digital tests and early pregnancy tests. Medical professionals say a positive pregnancy is 25 mIU/mL of hCG or more. From the numbers you read above, you see why waiting is the best option.

How To Use A Pregnancy Test

Using a pregnancy test is pretty easy. All HPTs are urine tests and often use a testing stick you hold in your urine stream.

  1. Purchase a test and check the expiration date on the box.
  2. Read test instructions and follow them carefully.
  3. Use your first morning urine for the highest hCG concentration.
  4. Read the results based on test instructions.

If you’re not sure you tested correctly, simply take another test. Many HPTs come in packages of two or three. Buy multi-packs if you’d prefer to double-check test results.

Can You Get False Negative Pregnancy Test Results?

Yes, you can get false negatives when you use HPTs. There are three common causes of false negative pregnancy tests.

  • hCG hormone levels are too low.
  • A test was taken incorrectly.
  • Urine was too diluted for accurate results.

If you get a negative result, wait several days to retest. If you’re pregnant, hCG levels may rise enough for a positive result.

Can You Get A False Positive Pregnancy Test Results?

You can also get false positives from HPTs. The causes for false positive pregnancy test results are:

  • chemical pregnancies
  • using the test incorrectly
  • evaporation lines
  • medications containing hCG
  • certain medical conditions

To learn more about these causes, read our blog post about faint lines and false positives. Wait several days or longer, then test again.

When To See Your Doctor For A Blood Pregnancy Test

If you’re uncertain about home test results, or want to verify them, it is a good idea to schedule an appointment with your OBGYN. It’s also important to make an appointment if:

  • Your HPTs are negative, and you’ve missed three cycles.
  • You suspect you may have a health issue causing false results.
  • You have a history of miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies.

Your doctor may perform a blood test to determine pregnancy.  A quantitative test measures the level of hCG in your system, and qualitative tests measure the presence of hCG. Quantitative tests are used for monitoring increases or decreases hCG levels.

Preparing For Your Pregnancy Test Results

Now you know when and how to take a pregnancy test at home. Patience is a huge factor, but it’s worth the outcome. Using the advice above makes it likelier to get accurate positive or negative test results.

Preparing for your test results may not be easy, and any emotions you feel are valid. If you’re seeking positive HPT results, read more about trying to conceive to discover tips, facts, and encouragement.

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Reserve Your Mira Today

Ready to easily, precisely, and automatically track your ovulation cycles? Let Mira take the guesswork out of getting pregnant, so you know exactly when to conceive.