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

Quick answer: how soon is a little variable but possibly as soon as 10 days after sexual intercourse, or 5 days before your missed period. This is 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. So in others words, how soon is dependent on your body.

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), which is produced by the placenta soon after it begins forming.  The amount of hCG in your body doubles every other day in early pregnancy. It can be measured in either your urine or your blood.  Levels vary from woman to woman, so 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.

What if I get a negative test? Does that mean I am not pregnant?

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 you 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, but 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 test and rising hCG are present, pregnancy will be confirmed by your doctor.

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

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

  • How much fluid should I drink before the test? Answer: not too much! Learn more from What to Expect.
  • What brand of pregnancy test is best?  Answer: All brands are treated the same. Learn more from What to Expect.
  • Are expensive test kits better than cheap ones?  Answer: No! Check out this link for from “What to Expect” for more information.
  • What’s happening in my body between the time I conceived and the time my test turns positive? Answer: A LOT actually – This link helps you understand what’s going in your body.

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.  Schedule an appointment by clicking the button. We are here for you!