Before modern medicine, women probably figured out they were pregnant if they missed their period, or when their bellies began to grow. Luckily, women can now take an at-home pregnancy test and find out if they're pregnant within minutes. But even though you don't have to wait as long as generations before you did, there is still a short period of time before you can test accurately for pregnancy. If you think you are pregnant, you'll want to know as soon as possible — so how early can you take a pregnancy test?
Dr. Eva Martin, CEO of Elm Tree Medical, Inc., tells Romper that pregnancy tests are designed to detect the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your blood and urine, which is produced by the placenta after the implantation of the embryo into the uterus.
According to Martin, hCG levels will likely not be high enough to be detected by an at-home urine pregnancy test until after implantation occurs, and that you should wait to test until the day of your missed period. The American Pregnancy Association noted that it can take up to 11 days after conception for hCG levels to show up on a blood pregnancy test, and 12 to 14 days post-conception for urine tests.
However, Martin adds that it's important to remember that these days aren't exact, because the day and time of ovulation, conception, and implantation aren't predictable; they're just estimated. Some tests are also more sensitive than others, she says, and these tests claim to get results about six days before the date of your missed period. But Martin insists that the most accurate results are still seen at the time you miss your period.
Waiting can be really difficult, especially when the results can be life changing. But time eventually passes, and soon enough you'll be able to test and know whether or not you are pregnant. The upside is, you won't have to wait as long as our ancestors did to find out.