When Should You Take a Pregnancy Test?

“I think I might be pregnant.”

If you’re thinking this or something like it, you’re not alone. Unexpected pregnancies happen every day to women from all walks of life. However, before you start making any difficult decisions, you need to be sure you’re really pregnant by taking a pregnancy test.

Free Pregnancy Testing Services

Pregnancy tests are remarkably accurate at determining whether or not you’re pregnant, but only when you follow the instructions and use them correctly. If you want to be safe, you can also get a free, accurate pregnancy test at Hope Clinic today. Simply call 601-264-2181 or text 669-500-TEST (8378) to schedule an appointment and get your free pregnancy test.

How Pregnancy Tests Work

Pregnancy tests differ in looks and brands, but they all function in very similar ways. Virtually every pregnancy test available over the counter tests for a specific hormone in your body – human chorionic gonadotropin, or HCG. HCG is only produced by pregnant women, and when a pregnancy test detects it in your body it is a sure sign you are pregnant.

HCG is removed from your body when you urinate, so over-the-counter pregnancy tests can tell if you’re pregnant by detecting the amount of HCG in your urine. Some pregnancy tests are more sensitive than others, but that doesn’t make the less sensitive ones unreliable – you just need to wait a little longer for them to work.

There are several ways a test can detect HCG in your urine. For instance, a pregnancy test may require you to:

  • Collect your urine in a cup and dip a stick into it;
  • Collect your urine in a cup and use a liquid dropper to move a small amount into a special container;
  • Place a testing pad or stick into your urine stream as you urinate.

Most OTC pregnancy tests are over 99% effective when used properly. If you do get a positive pregnancy result from an OTC test, a pregnancy clinic or doctor’s office can give you an ultrasound to check for a fetal heartbeat and confirm your pregnancy.

When to Take a Pregnancy Test

Unfortunately, you can’t take a pregnancy test immediately after having sex and see if you are pregnant. HCG hormone takes time to build up in your body, meaning you generally need to wait until after your missed period to tell if you could be pregnant. Some pregnancy tests can work sooner, and are able to detect HCG in your body 7 to 12 days after the fertilized egg has implanted in your uterus.

If you do choose to take the test earlier, you may not receive an accurate result. Accuracy on pregnancy tests goes down dramatically when they are taken too soon. If you take a pregnancy test soon after having sex and get a “Negative” result, it could just be because you didn’t wait long enough. You should always wait at least 2 to 3 weeks after having sex to take a pregnancy test to make sure the test is accurate. It’s also best to take a pregnancy test in the morning, since the HCG hormone builds up in your body overnight.

Signs You Should Take a Pregnancy Test

If you aren’t sure whether you could be pregnant, you can look for these signs and symptoms of pregnancy as well:

Missed Period

A missed period is one of the most common and noticeable symptoms of pregnancy. If you miss your period soon after having sex, you should take a pregnancy test just to be safe.

However, some women have irregular cycles or very light menstruation. Other women experience spotting early in their pregnancies and mistake it for a period. Your period can also be delayed for other reasons such as stress, diet, exercise, and illness. In other words, if you aren’t sure whether you missed a period or not you should take a pregnancy test just to be safe.

Pregnancy Symptoms

There are many other symptoms of pregnancy you can look out for, including:

  • Cramping (usually caused by implantation)
  • Sore, swollen or sensitive breasts
  • Frequent nausea
  • Muscle pain and weakness
  • Frequent urination

Many women experience a variety of symptoms early in their pregnancies. The above symptoms are a short overview, but you may experience a variety of other symptoms as well. If you’re simply feeling strange or different, you may want to take a pregnancy test soon.

Contraceptive Failure

Another major sign you should take a pregnancy test is when your contraceptive fails. Failure, in this case, can have several meanings, including:

  • A condom breaking, leaking, or being used incorrectly;
  • Forgetting to take your birth control pill;
  • Forgetting to replace a patch, implant, or ring.

In these cases, the chances of an accidental pregnancy are much higher. That means you should be ready to take a pregnancy test if you suspect your birth control may have failed.

Free Pregnancy Testing Services

If you have any reasonable suspicion you could be pregnant, the best course of action is to take a pregnancy test. You should never forego taking a test just because you’re not sure or because you don’t want to admit you could be pregnant. It’s always better to know and be ready, even if the result isn’t what you were hoping for.

At Hope Clinic, we provide free pregnancy testing services at our clinic for all women. If you think you could be pregnant, simply schedule an appointment with us to take a pregnancy test. Our services – and your results – are completely confidential and 100% free. Call 601-264-2181 or text 669-500-TEST (8378) to schedule your appointment now.


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