Early Pregnancy Test Overview

How soon after conception can I detect pregnancy using an over-the-counter home pregnancy test?


Toni Weschler, MS

Toni Weschler is the author of the popular book Taking Charge of Your Fertility. By offering a simple and effective means of identifying... Read more

It takes about a week for the fertilized egg to travel down from the fallopian tube to the uterus, where the egg implants in the lush, prepared uterine lining. It is only at this time that a pregnant woman's body begins to release the pregnancy hormone, HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin).

There are several factors that will determine how soon an over-the-counter pregnancy test can detect a pregnancy. The sensitivity of the specific test, the amount of time before the woman's body starts releasing HCG, the amount of HCG the individual woman's body produces and the timing of the test are all factors that can delay accurate results of a home pregnancy test kit.

Blood tests are usually considered the gold standard of pregnancy tests, because blood detects the HCG before urine does. If a urine test is really sensitive, it can often pick up at least small amounts of HCG as early as about ten days after fertilization.

Keep in mind that pregnancy tests are only accurate if they test at the right time! As discussed above, it needs to be at least ten days (and often longer) after fertilization.

How do you know when you ovulated? Many women make the mistake of assuming that they ovulated on the mythical day 14, but you may not ovulate until, for example, day 23 of your cycle. In this case, testing through a home pregnancy test as early as day 24 would be utterly useless and a complete waste of money.

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