Trying to conceive is a heck of a journey — there are more ups and downs than a ride at Disney World, and half of it seems more based on superstition than logic and science. But some things are pure science, and can make you question everything. Like, how long does it take to get a positive pregnancy test? Are those tests that are purportedly designed to accurately test for pregnancy up to five days before your missed period worth it, or should you wait it out?
Home pregnancy tests (HPTs), may all look slightly different, and give you the results in different ways, but they are all testing for the same hormone — human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). That is the definitive pregnancy hormone. It is only found in pregnant women, and varies in levels throughout the pregnancy. According to the Journal of Reproductive and Biological Endocrinology, hCG is the hormone that begins the process of forming the placenta around the zygote, and attaches it to the walls of the uterus.
The level of hCG in the blood doubles every 72 hours, according to the journal, and because each pregnancy test tests for a different level of hCG in the urine, according to Craig Medical Research lab, each test will show a positive pregnancy test at a slightly different time.
According to the researchers at the Craig Medical Lab, there are tests that can show a positive pregnancy result days before you miss your period. However, the Mayo Clinic cautioned against doing this because of the possibility of early pregnancy loss, sometimes known as a chemical pregnancy. The Mayo Clinic goes so far as to mention recent research that points to the optimal time for testing being approximately one week after missing your period to get a correct result. By that time, according to Craig Medical Lab, you may as well buy the cheapest test on the market because you should have enough hormone going through you to be tested in a very simple manner.
Who doesn't like saving money? I mean, kids are pricey, so start looking for deals now, trust me. I just spent $400 on six weeks of swimming lessons. I found out I was pregnant with my little fish thanks to a dollar store pregnancy test and a Dunkin Donuts iced coffee, and the coffee cost twice as much. I regret nothing.
If you're extra anxious to know if you're pregnant, you can test early, you should just be aware that a lot can happen that early in pregnancy, and you might be setting yourself up for heartbreak. This is one of those cases where it may just be best to wait just a bit longer.