ZocdocAnswersWhen should I take an at-home pregnancy test?

Question

When should I take an at-home pregnancy test?

Advice online says, "about a week after a missed period." Does that mean a week after the day your period was supposed to start, or a week after it was meant to end? I chart my cycles and am about 3-5 days late. I have a obgyn appt next week, but would like to take the at home test with my husband asap if it is not too soon.

Answer

I recommend that you discuss your concern with your doctor. There is a reasonable chance that the pregnancy test would be positive now if you are pregnant. Home pregnancy tests rely on measurements of the hormone hCG which is created on an exponential scale during the early stages of pregnancy. Usually, when taken a week after the first day that a period was missed, it is possible to note the presence of this hormone in the urine of an expectant mother. There are some instances where this is not true, however, and there are many instances where the test would be positive before that time. All of these variables depend on the individual woman who is taking the test, although the earliest that most tests will claim to actually yield a result is the day your period was supposed to have started. Following the results of the actual test that you are using is the best way to yield the best results, but you may have a false negative or false positive result either before or after the manufacturer's suggestions, as these do occur. The testing performed by your doctor is far more accurate, but all tests do have some variability and can be wrong. Please speak with your doctor.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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