How soon after sex can I find out if I am pregnant?

Quick answer:

You can find out you’re pregnant as possibly as soon as 10 days after sexual intercourse, or 5 days before your missed period according to the package instructions with many over-the-counter urine pregnancy test kits.  However, many women will not show positive test results until the day of the missed period, or 14 days after sexual intercourse.  Let’s look at some of those variables and learn more about pregnancy tests.

The urine pregnancy test kits are measuring a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This is produced by the placenta soon after it begins forming.  The amount of hCG in your body doubles every other day in early pregnancy and can be measured in either your urine or your blood.  Levels can vary from woman to woman! This means your friend might get a positive test 4 days before her period; but you need to wait until the day you miss your period.  Both are normal.

Here are a few questions to think about!

What if I get a negative test?

Negative test results before your missed period are not reliable.  Try again in a few days, waiting (if you can!) until the day your period is due.  If it is till negative, you are probably not pregnant, but might want to explore some other reasons for a negative test.

Can I trust a urine test? Or should I get a blood test to be sure I’m pregnant?

The urine test itself, done as instructed on the package, should give you an accurate result (99% according to most packaging), so if it says positive, you are probably pregnant. However, there is always a small chance that you are not pregnant.  Negative tests cannot be trusted until you are more than 14 days after sexual intercourse.

Blood tests are usually done only if you go to the doctor or emergency room for some other issue, or for bleeding and cramping.  The initial blood test for hCG will usually be followed by a repeat test a few days later to see if the hCG levels are rising, indicating a healthy pregnancy.  Once you have that second and rising hCG, pregnancy will be confirmed by your doctor.

The other way to be absolutely certain you are pregnant is to have an ultrasound.  We do ultrasounds here at the CPC and one of our nurses would be happy to talk to you about scheduling one.

If you would like to have some help with the pregnancy test, or are uncertain if you are reading it correctly, drop in to see us at CPC, or call and talk to us.  We are here Mon- Fri 9-4.

Here are some links to other common questions and links about pregnancy tests.

How much fluid should I drink before the test? Answer: not too much!

What brand of pregnancy test is best?  Answer: It doesn’t make much difference.

Are expensive test kits better than cheap ones?  Answer: No

What’s happening in my body between the time I conceived and the time my test turns positive?

If you would like to have some help with the pregnancy test, or are uncertain if you are reading it correctly, connect with CPC!