Home Pregnancy Test Overview

How long do you have to wait to get an accurate reading from a pregnancy test?


Robert Steele

Robert W. Steele, MD, is a board certified pediatrician at St. John's Regional Health Center in Springfield, MO. He graduated from medical... Read more

Home pregnancy tests are able to detect a pregnancy as early as 4-5 days after conception. However, that does not mean that every pregnancy may be detected this early because of a couple of factors:

  • Ovulation, or when the ovary releases an egg to be fertilized occurs 14 days prior to the onset of the next period. How long that egg is viable to become fertilized is variable.
  • Sperm may live in the vaginal/uterine environment for several days. Therefore, the time an egg is fertilized may not correspond to last episode of intercourse.

Generally, it is recommended that a home pregnancy test is accurate in detecting a pregnancy 14 days after the last episode of intercourse. However, if a period is missed or you are experiencing some of the typical signs of pregnancy, I always recommend repeating the test several days later. There are more accurate blood tests that may be done at your doctor's office or family planning center.

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