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IF YOU think you may be pregnant, you’ll want to know for certain straight away.
Perhaps you have been showing early signs, such as a missed period, tender breasts or headaches.
But it’s not recommended to always rush into getting a test.
Doing it too early could give you a wrong result – most likely a “false negative” – which could set you on an emotional rollercoaster after finding out the truth later on.
Here’s all you need to know about the best time to get a test…
How do pregnancy tests work?
After intercourse, if an egg has been fertilised it will travel into the uterus and implant itself in the uterine wall.
A woman’s fertility changes over the course of her cycle. The “fertile window” is during ovulation, around a week to 10 days a period, and the chances of getting pregnant outisde of this are low.
Around six days after fertilisation, small amounts of pregnancy hormone – human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) – will start to appear in the urine.
This is the hormone that pregnancy tests are looking out for.
The hormone peaks weeks after conception, however tests are able to pick up tiny amounts.
How early can you take a pregnancy test?
The NHS says you can carry out most pregnancy tests from the first day of a missed period.
For the most accurate result it is recommended that you wait till at least a week after missing your period.
This avoids any wrong results.
The NHS says that some sensitive tests can detect a pregnancy as early as eight days after conception, sometimes before a missed period.
But it’s more likely the test is unreliable if you rush into it so early.
If you know what day you are expecting your period, the Clearblue tracker helps you work out the first day you can take a pregnancy test.
When’s the best time to take a pregnancy test?
You may get the best result if you take the test first thing in the morning as your urine will be more concentrated.
However, you can take pregnancy tests at any point of the day.
Can a pregnancy test be wrong?
The at-home tests are about 99 per cent accurate.
If you get a positive result, it is highly likely that you are pregnant.
This is regardless of the colour of the line or how faint it is.
“False positives” very rarely occur.
While some women may do another test hoping for a negative result, women also fear that a positive test result is wrong, if they have been trying for a baby.
A staggering 62 per cent of mums carry on taking tests, despite already having a positive result, as they worry about the health of the pregnancy or the initial test being wrong – spending an average of £30 on tests.
Meanwhile, a negative test is more likely to be incorrect than a positive one. This is called a “false negative”.
There are a few circumstances where you still could be:
- You took the test too early
- The test is past its expiry date
- You didn’t take the test correctly
- Your urine is too diluted as you drank a lot of fluid before taking the test
Why is my period late?
There are a number of reasons why your period could be late or irregular that don’t involve pregnancy.
Stress and dramatic weight loss can cause women to miss a period or for their periods to stop entirely.
Some women experience early onset menopause, and menopause symptoms can occur as many as 10 or 15 years before it actually starts.
Being overweight can also affect your menstrual cycle as can hormonal conditions.
If you are concerned it is best to speak to your doctor.