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Want to Know When to Take a Pregnancy Test? Our Expert Is Here to Help!

Pregnancy isn’t only one of the most wonderful times in a woman’s life – it’s also a period that involves a myriad of hormonal changes that may cause discomfort. During the first few weeks of pregnancy, you will likely experience mild cramps, nausea, constipation, food cravings and aversions, frequent urination and vaginal discharge (leucorrhea). For most women, these symptoms may appear normal and not unusual, having no clue that, in actuality, they’re pregnant.

If you suspect a potential pregnancy but don’t know when to take a pregnancy test, well, you’re not alone. Since the information provided on the Internet varies from site to site, it’s difficult to say what’s true and what isn’t. Our expert is here with insight on the common problem many women face: when to take a home pregnancy test.

Pregnancy isn’t only one of the most wonderful times in a woman’s life – it’s also a period that involves a myriad of hormonal changes that may cause discomfort. During the first few weeks of pregnancy, you will likely experience mild cramps, nausea, constipation, food cravings and aversions, frequent urination and vaginal discharge (leucorrhea). For most women, these symptoms may appear normal and not unusual, having no clue that, in actuality, they’re pregnant.

If you suspect a potential pregnancy but don’t know when to take a pregnancy test, well, you’re not alone. Since the information provided on the Internet varies from site to site, it’s difficult to say what’s true and what isn’t. Our expert is here with insight on the common problem many women face: when to take a home pregnancy test.

1. I have recently had sex with my fiancé, and although we used a condom, I’ve started experiencing some unusual symptoms. I have a bowel movement every 4 or 5 days, but I used to have it nearly every day. Also, my period is around 2 days late, and this scares me since it always came on time. It should have arrived this month on the 29th, but it’s already the 31st and still no sign of it. However, I’ve started noticing some weird discharge from vagina – it’s clear, slippery, and makes my vulva feel very tacky. Sometimes I have to change my underwear because it’s too much of it, and no matter how much I wash down there, it won’t stop.
I think I may be pregnant, but I’m not sure when is a good time to take a pregnancy test. It’s been longer than 8 days since I’ve last had sex. Could you please help me? When is the earliest you can take a pregnancy test?

Expert Answers:

First of all, thank you for reaching out to us for help.

Unfortunately, condoms can be quite unreliable when it comes to protected sex. They can break during the intercourse, and hence no protection is provided. If you’re pregnant, then that’s probably what happened in your case as well.

Many of the symptoms you describe are pregnancy symptoms. Due to the huge increase in estrogen, women frequently experience more vaginal discharge than usually, which is medically known as leucorrhea. It’s slippery, clear or whitish in color, and can smell slightly musky. If it isn’t white, yellow, green or gray, doesn’t have a fishy odor, and its consistency is rather runny, then you have nothing to be worried about. There’s no way to stop it – however, you may attempt to keep yourself clean and fresh by changing your underpants as frequently as needed to avoid bad smells, wearing sanitary pads (not panty liners, as they’ll likely cause bacterial vaginosis), and by washing with plain water every 2-3 days. Avoid soaps, deodorants, perfumes and other such hygiene products.

Delayed period is the most common signs of pregnancy. Since your period is only 2 days late, you will have to wait another 8 (for a total of 10 days) before you can take a pregnancy test. You may wonder: “Does it matter when you take a pregnancy test?” Absolutely! During the first few days after fertilization, your body might haven’t started producing enough hCG, and hence the result of the test will be negative. The amount of hCG your body produces doubles every day, so 10 days after your missed period is the perfect time frame.

2. I was wondering when is too soon to take a pregnancy test? I had sex with my boyfriend a few days ago, and I think I may be pregnant. Yesterday I noticed a few blood spots on my underwear. I thought my period was about to arrive (it is due on September 3, and slightly irregular sometimes), so I went ahead and used a tampon. I had cramps, was a little dizzy the whole day, but that was all… There’s no period, and I think it must have been implantation bleeding. The “blood” doesn’t even look like blood – it’s slightly pinkish, and there were just a few spots. My period is usually heavy, especially on the first day.
Help – when to take a pregnancy test after implantation bleeding? What do you suggest that I do?

Expert Answers:

Before I can actually answer your question, I have to explain how the testing works, in this case, so let’s start with the beginning.

Implantation, as you probably know, is the process of the fertilized ovum attaching to the endometrium (interior wall of the uterus). In general, the implantation process starts on the 6th day after fertilization, and concludes on the 12th day. During implantation, human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (HCG) is being produced. If you’re taking a home pregnancy test, its accuracy will depend on the HCG level in the examined substance, and sensitivity to HCG of the test you’re taking. Thus, 4-5 days after implantation bleeding, the HCG levels in the blood increase to 250mIU/ml. In another 1-2 days, the HCG levels in urine reach the same mark (250mIU/ml).

If you take the test during the 1-5 days after implantation bleeding, the result may be a false negative since there is not enough HCG in your urine. Wait at least 7-9 days after implantation bleeding before testing for pregnancy. A test with sensitivity 40 mIU/ml will be good if you’ve already experienced IB.

You may want to contact your GP or go to a local hospital/clinic to take a blood test and see if you are pregnant. These tests are often more accurate, and will give a definitive answer to the question, when is a pregnancy test accurate.

3. My husband and I have had sex two weeks ago. I’m only 35 years old, and my period is always regular. It should have arrived on August 26th, but it’s been longer than 5 days and still no sign of it. I thought I may be pregnant, and I actually started to notice some symptoms over the past few days: constipation, food aversions, nausea (sometimes vomiting), frequent urination, and lots of discharge. I’ve been pregnant before (and have birth to the sweetest girl on Earth!), so I kind of recognized the symptoms. The point is, I’ve taken 4 home pregnancy tests, and only one of them turned out to be positive. It’s perplexing! During my first pregnancy, all three tests I’ve taken turned out to be positive. I’ve already scheduled an appointment with my GP and a local clinic for some blood tests, but I was wondering when is a pregnancy test effective? Perhaps I haven’t waited enough? I’ve taken the tests 2, 3 and 5 days ago. Was it too soon?

Expert Answers:

Most of the time, home pregnancy tests are accurate. However, there is an error margin of about 1%, so the results of the other 3 tests might have been false negative. I suggest that you wait for your appointment and results of the blood tests – these are the most accurate, and will quickly tell you if you’re pregnant or not.

There is a chance that you’ve taken the tests too soon. If the fertilization took place around 5 days ago, then there is not enough time for the body to produce sufficient HCG, and hence the tests may turn out negative. In addition to HCG levels, the sensitivity of the tests plays a big role in the results. If the test that turned out to be positive was more sensitive than the other two (sensitivity 20mIU/ml), then it detected HCG in your urine faster.

It’s important to consider other potential causes of delayed period. Some include infections, certain conditions, stress and lifestyle changes.

Ask yourself these questions, and if you answer ‘yes’ to at least one or two of them, then the cause of your delayed period is not pregnancy-related:

  • Have you started using a different hygiene product for washing down there?
  • Have you been wearing tampons or panty liners?
  • Have you recently sampled a swimsuit or pair of bikini in a store?
  • Have you been particularly stressed?
  • Have you traveled to a country with a different timezone?
  • Have you changed your eating habits?
  • Have you taken antibiotics or steroid medications?

If the blood tests turn out to be negative, I suggest that you consult with your ob/gyn to further investigate the cause of the delayed period and symptoms.

4. I have a dilemma and I don’t know who I should be asking this. I’m a sexually active woman, and I’ve been married for three years already. My period has always been regular, and I always know when it’s due to come, although times differ. This month my period came like usually, but once it stopped, I noticed some unusual symptoms: cramping, frequent urination and morning sickness. I’ve been having them for one week already, and they interfere with my day-to-day schedule. I had to take two days off because the nausea was preventing me from doing anything – it was really horrible. I’m afraid to take a pregnancy test – what if it’s negative? I don’t have kids, but I really want to have one! Is there a chance that I’m pregnant? When is the best time to take a pregnancy test?

Expert Answers:

It’s not uncommon to still have your period even if you’re pregnant, so I suggest that you still take a pregnancy test to be sure. Some women still have their periods during the full nine months of pregnancy; others have it during the first few months only. It depends on how your body works. It’s difficult to say for sure given your situation.

The symptoms you describe may be concerning if you’re not pregnant. Cramps are not normal if your period isn’t due to arrive or if you’re not pregnant, so if the pregnancy test turns out to be negative, contact your healthcare provider and have the issue further investigated. As for the nausea, this may look like a normal pregnancy symptom, except when you’re not pregnant. Nausea may indicate a more serious underlying issue, so taking complete tests may be necessary.

Another possibility is an STD or STI. I’d rather not suggest it, but if your husband has been unfaithful to you, perhaps he has contracted the infection and passed it to you during sexual intercourse. Have you recently noticed unusual vaginal discharge that’s white, yellow or green, smells really bad, and has a cottage cheese-like texture? You may want to visit your ob/gyn and have a few swabs taken for analysis.
If the test shows that you’re pregnant, congrats! Make sure to talk to your specialist about the best hygiene practices during pregnancy, and inform him or her about any unusual symptoms you experience.

5. I have recently found out I’ve got a stubborn yeast infection. I’ve got it after taking prolonged antibiotic treatment for my inflamed polyps. Yesterday I took a pregnancy test, and it turned out positive. Today I’ve taken another, but it shows I’m not pregnant. Can I still be pregnant regardless of what the test shows? Will the yeast infection interfere with the course of the pregnancy? I think I might have taken the tests a little too early – it’s been just 4 days from the supposed conception. When can I take a pregnancy test again?

Expert Answers:

Four days are not enough for the HCG hormone to be produced in sufficient amounts for the test to turn out positive. You must wait around 10 days after fertilization before taking a pregnancy test, otherwise you risk getting a false result. Have you used different tests? If yes, then perhaps one had a greater sensitivity to HCG as compared to the other, hence the positive result. I suggest that you wait another six days before taking another test. If you want to get a result faster, consider blood tests – they’re more accurate.

As for the yeast infection – you must definitely treat it, otherwise it may interfere with the development of the baby if you’re pregnant. Consult your ob/gyn to get appropriate treatment, and take a probiotic supplement to help stave off the infection.

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