Am I Pregnant? How Early Can I Test?

Whether you want to be pregnant, or aren’t quite ready, not knowing is the hardest part. Some women swear by intuition, but intuition can be muddled by desire. If you want to be pregnant and be certain you are, you might doubt your own instincts. If you’re not ready for a baby, you may believe you’re safe, but still worry over the question nonetheless. When it comes to pregnancy, intuition isn’t much help.

Missing a period is a symptom of pregnancy, but can also result from stress. Feeling tired and violently throwing up your breakfast might signify pregnancy, especially when you’re normally energetic and not prone to morning nausea. But they’re all just symptoms. When it comes to pregnancy, you want the truth, and you want it now.

Ultrasound Test

Pregnancy can be detected as early as three to four weeks after intercourse using ultrasound tests. Although the fetus may not be visible this early, the presence and detection of a thickening endometrium or gestational sac strongly suggest positive results. To be certain, however, a fetus must be detected, and this usually occurs six weeks after conception.

Urine Test

Performed in a doctor’s office or laboratory, the urine test is about 99% accurate, seven to ten days after conception. Some doctors will only perform urine testing when your period is at least one week late. The urine test measures whether the pregnancy hormone human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) is present.

Home pregnancy tests are about 97% accurate when used as directed after a missed period. When used earlier, they can show false negatives, indicating you are not pregnant, when you really are. Be sure to check the expiration date on the box before purchasing.

Blood Serum Test

The Blood Serum Test is quite comprehensive. It can show whether you’re pregnant and, if so, when you probably conceived. This test analyzes the level of hCG in your bloodstream. Unlike urine tests, which only measure whether hCG is present, the Blood Serum Test measures the precise hCG level. A Rosette Inhibition Assay, for example, can detect Early Pregnancy Factor (EPF) as quickly as 48 hours after fertilization. Most blood tests will detect pregnancy within seven to twelve days of conception.

False Negatives

Conception can occur within one to seven days after ovulation. This means that hCG may not be present when an at-home urine test is performed. Adding to the uncertainty, is the fact that at-home pregnancy kits only test positive after registering a certain level of hCG. You could be pregnant, but without sufficient hCG present, you would still get a negative test result. If you try again in a few days, your result may be positive.

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