If you wonder how soon can pregnancy be detected you are either trying to get pregnant or had unprotected sex and worry that you could be pregnant. How soon you will be able to find out whether you have conceived or not depends on the type of pregnancy test you take but firstly, it is necessary to understand what happens after you conceive and how pregnancy tests work.
There are basically two types of pregnancy tests – urine and blood tests both of which measure the levels of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). This hormone is released after the fertilized egg attaches itself to the wall of your uterus, while its amounts increase as the pregnancy progresses. How soon a pregnancy test will be able to detect this hormone depends on its sensitivity because some are able to detect HCG only when released in large enough amounts. As a result, a pregnancy test that is not able to detect small amounts of HCG will give you a negative result if you take it too soon. Let’s see when is the best time to take the pregnancy test and which one.
You have to have sex when you ovulate to conceive. The time of ovulation varies from one woman to another but most women release mature eggs 14 days before the beginning of their next menstrual period. This means that you probably ovulate 14 days after beginning of your last menstrual period if your menstrual cycle lasts 28 days. If the egg was fertilized by the sperm, it will travel to your uterus and implant itself in the uterine wall which takes about 6 to 12 days. At this point, your body will start producing HCG which means that a pregnancy test can detect HCG only after the implantation of the fertilized egg has occurred.
If we assume that you ovulate 14 days after the beginning of your last menstrual period and that the fertilized egg has attached itself to the wall of your uterus 6 days after fertilization, you could in best case take a pregnancy test 7 days after ovulation or one week before the expected menstrual period, of course under condition, that you use a pregnancy test that can detect the smallest amounts of HCG. However, since it can take up to 12 days for the fertilized egg to implant itself in the uterine wall, the pregnancy test will give you a negative result if the implantation has not occurred yet. This means that it is best to wait with the pregnancy test until a missed period.
Blood tests are more sensitive and can detect HCG almost immediately after implantation of the fertilized egg, however, they need to be done in your doctor’s office. Some newer ultra-sensitive urine pregnancy tests claim to be able to detect HCG as early as one day after a missed period but most health experts recommend to wait at least 7 days after a missed period to get accurate results. If you just cannot wait that long, ask your doctor for a blood test.