If you’ve been wondering how long after sex you can take a pregnancy test, you are not alone. Even Planned Parenthood warns against it. It takes at least a week for an egg to fertilize and implant. Taking a pregnancy test immediately after sex will only be a waste of time.
Depending on your location, you may not have the chance to find out about your pregnancy until a week or so has passed since your last period.
Taking a home pregnancy test
You might think that taking a home pregnancy test after sex is a good idea. This is a perfectly normal reaction, but it can cause many problems, including false results. You may be surprised to learn that the presence of hCG is detectable as early as five days after sex. In fact, the hormone is more likely to be detectable when urine is collected at least 10 days after sex.
Home pregnancy tests are pretty accurate as long as the instructions are followed. The hormone hCG, short for human chorionic gonadotropin, is released by the body shortly after implantation. The egg and sperm combine to form a zygote, which then travels to the uterine wall and implants itself. From there, the zygote grows and develops into a fetus. Fortunately, home pregnancy tests are highly accurate when performed correctly, and most of them claim to be 99% accurate.
Taking a test at a community clinic
It’s never too early to take a pregnancy test at a community clinic. Taking a test too early can result in a false negative, leaving you with a false sense of relief, joy, or disappointment. Taking a test after sex at a community clinic is confidential and the staff will never tell your parents if you are under 18.
While pregnancy tests can detect pregnancy hormones in urine as early as 10 days after unprotected sex, these tests are not 100% accurate and can cause false positive or false negative results. Another reason for false negative results is irregular periods. If you are in doubt about your pregnancy, take a test at least three weeks after having sex. To be on the safe side, take a test before your period, and if you’re unsure, seek advice from your doctor about contraception.
Generally, pregnancy tests look for the presence of a hormone called hCG in urine. The hCG level is highest six to 14 days after ovulation, or after a woman’s last unprotected sex. However, conception can occur up to seven days after intercourse, as sperm needs to swim up the vagina and into the uterus.
Taking a test within 24 hours
If you’ve been having sex but don’t have a period, the best time to take a pregnancy test is immediately after your last missed period. You can also wait until your next period to take a test. Planned Parenthood and drugstores also sell pregnancy tests. If you can’t wait until your next period, you can take the morning-after pill, also known as emergency contraception. The pill can be taken up to five days after sex.
Using the human chorionic gonadotropin hormone can also affect your digestion and cause morning sickness. In fact, a pregnant woman may already be experiencing these symptoms as early as two weeks after sex. Headaches are another early sign of pregnancy. Headaches are caused by the hormones released during early pregnancy, so even a mild headache could indicate pregnancy. Taking a pregnancy test within 24 hours after sex is the only way to know for sure.
Taking a test after a missed period
Taking a pregnancy test is a great idea if you’ve missed your period for a couple of days. However, if you don’t have a regular monthly period, you may not have a normal amount of hCG in your urine, which means that you’ll need to take a test a few days later. Although home pregnancy tests are usually accurate, if you’re unsure, you should still visit your doctor for a confirmation.
Many women have irregular menstrual cycles and may have a missed period despite the fact that their menstrual cycle is on track. This irregularity may lead them to test early, which could miss the pregnancy. Taking the test first thing in the morning is recommended, since the urine is more concentrated early in the day. That means you’ll have more hCG in your urine if you’re pregnant.