At home pregnancy tests return positive results with the detection of hCG, or human Chorionic Gonadotropin. However, there must be enough of this hormone present in you urine in order to determine whether or not you’re pregnant. hCG is known as the “pregnancy hormone” because the body only produces it while pregnant; however, the levels can be low—especially early in pregnancy. So, what’s the best time to do a pregnancy test to detect it?
After your egg meets his sperm, it continues its journey down the fallopian tube and into the uterus. Once here, it implants to the uterine wall and the placenta begins to form. After the placenta forms, the body begins producing hCG. Inititally, the levels of hCG will double about every 48-72 hours. Approximately 12-14 days after conception there will be enough hCG levels in the urine for you to test positive.
Morning is the best time of day for the most accurate pregnancy test results. Peeing onto a dipstick or into that little cup first thing after waking means that your urine has been accumulating in the bladder for the past 8 hours (or longer). This buildup of urine also means a buildup of hCG, making this the best time to do a pregnancy test. The more hCG in your urine, the more likely you’ll receive an accurate test result.
Home pregnancy tests are very accurate when used properly. However, since conception doesn’t occur until the third week of your pregnancy and hCG levels must build until detectable levels, it’s best to wait until at least 12 days after conception could have occurred before you take a home test. And of course, it’s important to follow the directions included in the instructional pamphlet. Some tests may recommend avoiding certain foods or limiting physical activity before taking the test.
hCG levels in the blood are higher than those found in the urine. If a home pregnancy test is inconclusive, and you’re experiencing early signs of pregnancy such as nausea, fatigue, and mood swings, then it may be time to schedule that first prenatal appointment with your doctor or midwife. It’s important to remember that implantation bleeding occurs in about 30% of pregnancies; this light bleeding, which occurs when the egg attaches itself to the uterine wall is normal, can be mistaken for the beginning of a period.
In short, the best time to do a pregnancy test that provides the most accurate pregnancy test results is morning. The longer urine has waited in your body, the higher the hCG levels will be. However, most home pregnancy tests will return accurate results when used properly 12 days after conception.