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How early can I take a pregnancy test?

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Think you might be pregnant?

If you’re a first time mom, the wait to take a pregnancy test can be agonizing. You’ll likely be excited and super aware of every little change and feeling in your body, hoping for some sort of confirmation.

So, how soon can you take a pregnancy test?

Woman holds pregnancy test in anticipation.

Early Pregnancy Signs and Symptoms

Truth be told, there aren’t too many definite signs of pregnancy in those first few days and weeks.

Some women say “they just know”, but apart from that, symptoms of pregnancy don’t usually start until a little after the first missed period, or about week 5 or 6.

The earliest pregnancy signs you may experience are very light bleeding or spotting known as implantation blood or you may experience some mild cramping.

Since those symptoms are almost identical to period symptoms, the only way to know if you’re pregnant is to take a test!

RELATED: Everything To Know About Being A New Mom

When To Test

There are several tests on the market that claim to give you results as early as 6 days before when you expect your period to arrive.

However, the earlier you test, the more likely you are to get a false negative as these test usually only provide a 50% chance of giving you the correct result that early.

Unfortunately, for the most accurate test results, you’ll need to wait until the day after your missed period, or 7-12 days after implantation.

HCG, or “the pregnancy hormone,” is not well detected before this time.

When the time does come, you don’t have to spend a ton of money on a fancy, name-brand test. A dollar store test will do just fine!

Your Luteal Phase

A good way to predict if you’re pregnant or not without taking a test is to track your luteal phase, or the time between ovulation and your expected period.

To know your luteal phase, you’ll need to be tracking things like your basal body temperature as well as your cycle for at least a few months to get an idea of what your regular timeline is.

This sounds complicated, but there are several apps and devices out there to help you collect data.

Once you see that you’ve ovulated, by charting a slight temperature dip after your period, you can start counting your luteal phase.

If your luteal phase has gone one day past your usual length, there’s a good chance you’re pregnant.

If your luteal phase is two days past the longest it’s ever been, there’s an even higher chance that you’re pregnant.

If it’s 18 days past your charted ovulation and you haven’t had your period, chance are extremely high that you’re pregnant and it’s definitely time to take a test!

What’s Next?

Go See Your Doctor

Once you’ve missed your period and received a positive test result, you’ll need to schedule an appointment with your doctor to confirm the pregnancy.

You’ll be given a blood test and may even be able to hear they baby’s heartbeat.

Manage Your Symptoms

Early pregnancy feels pretty terrible, so you’ll want to take it easy during that time and accept help from close friends and family.

Be sure to learn the 3 stages of pregnancy and the different side effects you may experience so you can be prepared.

Start Planning

Here are some other things you’ll want to plan during this special time:

Pregnancy can have a huge effect on your emotions and body, so remember that most of these changes are temporary and try to enjoy the journey as much as you can!

Here are even more tips for the first time mom for pregnancy, postpartum and beyond!