How to Calculate When to Take a Pregnancy Test

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Most couples trying to conceive are very anxious to take a home pregnancy test as soon after ovulation as possible to determine whether they've achieved pregnancy. There are two basic types of home pregnancy tests on the market--early pregnancy tests and standard pregnancy tests--and the type of pregnancy test used determines when it should be taken. How to calculate when to take a pregnancy test is a relatively easy task that most couples can accomplish by knowing the date of ovulation and the date of the anticipated menstrual period.

Things You'll Need

  • Home pregnant test (early or standard type)
  • Ovulation predictor kits (optional)
  • Temperature charts (optional)
  • Urine specimen

How to Calculate When to Take a Pregnancy Test: Standard Home Pregnancy Test

  • Take a home pregnancy test beginning on the day of the missed period in women with regular cycles.

  • Use the date of ovulation, normally determined through ovulation predictor kits or by temperature charting, and add 14 days to calculate when to take a pregnancy test in women with irregular cycles.

  • Wait until one week past a missed menstrual period to take a home pregnancy test for the greatest accuracy. However, most brands of standard home pregnancy tests claim to be 99% accurate in detecting pregnancy beginning on the first day of the missed period.

  • Wait one week to take a home pregnancy test again if a negative result was obtained on the first testing but the menstrual period is still absent.

  • Confirm positive pregnancy test results with an OB/GYN appointment.

How to Calculate When to Take a Pregnancy Test: Early Pregnancy Tests

  • Determine the date of ovulation by using ovulation predictor kits or temperature charting and record.

  • Use the date of ovulation and add 9 days to determine the earliest possible day an early pregnancy test can detect pregnancy. This date corresponds with 5 days before a missed period, which is the normal date listed on early pregnancy test packaging to begin testing. Counting from ovulation may be best for women with irregular cycles, while for women with regular cycles using the menstrual period date for reference may be more accurate.

  • Take the early pregnancy test on the first possible date.

  • Repeat the test after the missed period if a negative result is obtained initially.

  • Confirm positive pregnancy results with an OB/GYN appointment.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use first morning urine for home pregnancy tests, as it tends to have the highest concentrations of HCG, the pregnancy hormone. Be sure to follow the directions of the home pregnancy test to ensure accurate results. While early pregnancy tests claim accuracy days before a missed period, most OB/GYNs still recommend waiting to test with them until the date of the missed period.
  • Many pregnancies, estimated at 25% or greater, end in miscarriage, most in the early days and weeks of gestation. By using early home pregnancy tests, many women are able to detect pregnancies that end in early miscarriage that they would otherwise have never been aware of. These early miscarriages are quite normal, but can be very disappointing to couples trying to conceive.

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