When to Take a Pregnancy Test

a woman looks at a positive pregnancy test
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We all know the Hollywood signs and symptoms of pregnancy. Basically, if a female between the age of 15 and 50 throws up or feels nauseous, then they are pregnant. Real life is a bit different though and you may be wondering if you need to take an at home pregnancy test or not. Integrity Urgent Care has a few recommendations for when to take one and when to come see our medical team.


How a Test Works

Most over the counter, at home, pregnancy tests measure the amount of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in urine. HCG is only present in pregnancy once a fertilized egg has attached to the lining of the uterus. Healthline cites the Cleveland Clinic as stating most tests are 99% effective when taken at the right time and when taken correctly. Different tests have different indicators including regular lines, plus or minus signs, or the words “pregnant.”


Signs You May Need to Take a Test

There are a few signs you may want to wait for before taking a test. We know if you are trying to conceive or if you are worried your birth control methods may not have been as effective as you planned, it can be difficult to wait. A better time to take a test, and to get more accurate results, would be after you have some or most of these signs.

1. A Missed Period – This sign can vary from female to female if your cycles are irregular. Also, you can miss your period if you are stressed, experiencing drastic changes in your diet or exercise plan, or have certain medical conditions. If you are regular, you can test any time after your missed period. Others may need to wait up to a month after their cycle was due.

2. Cramping – This is an extra confusing sign for women who experience cramping during their period anyways. They are located in a similar location and happen at a similar time. Cramping for pregnancy is due to implantation of the fertilized egg or stretching of the uterus as the body grows, later in pregnancy.

3. Tender breasts – During pregnancy more hormones are produced, like estrogen and progesterone. These hormones surging in the body may cause tenderness in the breasts and may make veins appear darker under the skin.

4. Feeling different and sick – Nausea, food aversions, and exhaustion can all be signs that you may need to take a pregnancy test. The same hormone measured by the test, HCG, is responsible for these symptoms and they can be present for most women through the first third of the pregnancy and, in some cases, throughout until labor.

5. Failed contraceptive – If you know that, for whatever reason, your contraceptive method failed, you can use that as an indicator you need to take a pregnancy test. Most women will be able to get a good indicator of their pregnancy status a few weeks after intercourse takes place.


When to See a Doctor

If you have a positive pregnancy test, go ahead and call your OB-GYN to schedule a confirmation appointment. If you have a positive pregnancy test and you begin to bleed, more than just a little spotting, you need to see a doctor immediately. Some women who experience extreme nausea and food aversions will need to see a medical team for assistance in hydration or treating these symptoms. Lastly, if you skip multiple periods, but do not have a positive pregnancy test, you need to see a medical doctor to make sure there isn’t a larger concern that needs to be evaluated.


Integrity Urgent Care can help you evaluate your needs and that of your growing family. We can answer the questions you have and assist you in getting medical care in our clinic and referring you for a specialist as needed. Come see us at one of our many locations or contact us today.

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