When should you take a pregnancy test? An unplanned pregnancy can be scary, and no one would blame you if you were worried. Before you panic, sit down and try to relax, then think back and consider what symptoms you might have. Write them down, along with the date of your last period.

When to Take a Pregnancy Test

According to the Cleveland Clinic, “Experts say women should wait 5 to 10 days after their period is officially late before taking the pregnancy test to make sure it is accurate. If the test is negative, wait a few more days. If menstruation (period) still hasn’t begun, take the test again and contact your doctor if you have more questions.”

“Here are some tips to follow when taking an at-home pregnancy test: use your first morning urine when possible (when hCG levels are most easily detected). If not, make sure the urine had been in your bladder for at least 4 hours; do not drink excessive amounts of fluids before the test to increase the volume of urine; this could dilute (thin out) the hCG levels; and read the directions included in the test thoroughly before starting the test, and follow every step precisely.”

Some manufacturers of pregnancy tests will say you can take the test as early as only 23 days after the first day of your last period. This is where the math and a calendar come in handy: circle the date of the first day of your last period; then count the required number of days. You can opt to take a more conservative approach and wait 5-10 days after your period is late, which allows hCG levels to be higher, or follow the directions provided by the manufacturer of the test you have bought.

Pregnancy Symptoms

There are a variety of pregnancy symptoms that appear early and, if you have them, they can help confirm what you suspect.

A poll conducted by the American Pregnancy Association displayed the most commonly reported first symptoms of pregnancy as the following:

  • 29% of women surveyed reported a missed period as their first pregnancy symptom.
  • 25% indicated that nausea was the first sign of pregnancy.
  • 17% reported that a change in their breasts was the initial symptom of pregnancy.

In addition to these, you could experience spotting or light bleeding and still be pregnant, so don’t be fooled or lie to yourself, especially if you have any other symptoms. This type of bleeding is commonly called implant bleeding and can occur anywhere from six to 12 days after conception. Some women also have cramping, while others don’t have this happen at all.

You may also feel more tired than usual. It’s a common symptom of pregnancy and can begin as early as one week after conception. This is not a surprise, as your body is very busy during pregnancy.

A missed period is, of course, the most important symptom, and is used as a guideline for pregnancy testing.

Come in For a Free Test

If you would like help understanding if your symptoms are pointing to pregnancy, we welcome you at Pregnancy Care Clinic. We offer free pregnancy testing, and our caring advocates will stand by your side in a supportive and non-judgmental environment. Call today to make an appointment.


Pregnancy Test Information. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/9703-your-guide-to-pregnancy-tests

Pregnancy Symptoms – Early Signs of Pregnancy. (2018, October 13). Retrieved from http://americanpregnancy.org/getting-pregnant/early-pregnancy-symptoms/