Pregnancy Tests: How Accurate Are Home Pregnancy Tests?

I'm anxious to conceive and recently quit the pill (low dosage) after six years. I have had one regular period since I quit and calculated that my ovulation should have been last week. This morning I woke up with spotting, but my period isn't due until next week. Please explain about spotting after ovulation and conception. Also, if I miss my period next week, how soon will a home pregnancy test be accurate?

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Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

I can understand your anxiety. The waiting is always very hard.

Nidation -- implantation of the fertilized ovum into the rich endometrial lining of the uterus -- often causes spotting. Typically, this occurs three to five days after ovulation.

Pregnancy tests turn positive around the time the menses would be due, but in your case, it is hard to tell when that would be. I would count two weeks from the spotting and do the test then; if it is negative, wait one week and repeat it. If it is negative (and for sure, if it is positive), I would make an appointment with a provider for an exam. The uterine size can be estimated and any abnormalities in the pelvis can be ruled out.

This is not terribly unusual after cessation of birth control pills, especially if you were a bit irregular before starting them.

I wish you happy news.

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