pregnancy

Yes, there is a 'best time' of the day to take a pregnancy test.

So your boobs hurt, or you’ve missed your period. Perhaps you accidentally missed a pill.

Something just feels off. You need to head down to the local chemist, take a pregnancy test and sort out whether you’re actually bringing a baby into the world or just still full from last night’s burrito.

But how can you make sure the test is as accurate as can be?

First, know the details

Before you actually take a pregnancy test, it’s important to know what actually happens when you take one. That way you can maximise your chances of having an accurate result.

The minute you become pregnant, your fetus produces a hormone called hCG, or, human Chorionic Gondotrophin. Pregnancy tests measure the levels of this hormone in your urine and are generally able to detect whether you’re pregnant or not.

pregnancy test
There is a 'best' time of day to take a pregnancy test. (iStock)

So how long does it take to show up?

Often, the hormone won't be detected the minute you fall pregnant. According to Obria Medical Clinics, it can take anyway between seven and 10 days from successful implantation until the hCG hormone is detectable in urine.

Daniel Roshan, an OBGYN at Rosh Maternal-Fetal Medicine in New York told Parents that "a urine test needs 50 units of hCG to test positive".

Naturally, every woman is different and so is every pregnancy, so the time at which you have 50 units might be before you missed your period. Or, for others, it might be after. Such is the complicated nature of the female body.

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So is there a sure-set time to take a test?

According to Kelly Winder of Belly Belly, it's at around 12 days past ovulation that you should be able to detect levels of hCG of around 50mIU. At 14 days past ovulation, those levels are likely to be at around 100mIU, which is pretty definitive.

Is one time of day better than another?

If you want to be 100 per cent sure of your pregnancy, take the test first thing in the morning when your urine has a higher concentration of hCG.

Additionally, some believe excessive fluid intake can dilute the levels of hCG in your body when you're testing for pregnancy in the really early stages of your first trimester, so if you've had a lot to drink, wait a while before reaching for a test.

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Should I take more than one test?

If you took the test early and it says you're not pregnant, there's a tiny chance you still could be pregnant.

For example, one study found that some pregnancy tests have poorer detection limits for hCG than others and that while home pregnancy tests are 99 per cent accurate, it's more likely that you will get a false negative than a false positive result.

But according to Dr. Roshan, a woman's hCG level doubles every 48 to 72 hours, so if you really are pregnant, it won't be negative for long.

When should I see a doctor?

If you take more than one test and have different results, it's essential you see a doctor as soon as possible so that they can confirm whether or not you are pregnant. Similarly, if your period has become irregular since having sex or are having pregnancy-like symptoms despite a negative test result, you should still see your doctor as soon as possible.


Pregnant? Or planning? 
Sign up to our Before The Bump newsletter for the best stories and advice from women who've been there.

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