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How Soon Can You Take A Home Pregnancy Test After Having Sex (& Interpreting The Results)


Everyone likes saying ‘you’ll just know’ when people are trying for a baby, and wondering if conception has happened. But unfortunately, (or fortunately), it just isn’t that easy. Getting a pregnancy test can be a confusing time for you.

Sometimes you’re trying and sometimes you’re not, both of which are valid choices. But whatever outcome you’re hoping for, it is obvious that you’re a little eager and nervous while taking a pregnancy test.

Let’s find out when’s the right time!

When’s The Right Time?

If you have had unprotected sex, the condom broke or are experiencing some early signs of pregnancy, you should take a pregnancy test. Some signs to look out for are nausea, frequent urination and swollen or tender breasts. A missed period is usually your first warning sign, so taking a test after that would be advisable.

Ideally, you should not take the test too early. So, the day or the week after you have unprotected sex, is not a good time to take the test. It can also lead to a false negative.

Most medical professionals recommend waiting until after your period is late before taking a pregnancy test. If you’re a person who tracks their period, then you’ll have a clear answer as to when to take the test. If you do not track it or if your period is irregular, the recommended time is 9 to 12 days after you have had unprotected sex.

What Do I Do In The Meantime?

If you are hoping for a pregnancy, there is not much you can do except wait until it is the appropriate time to take the test. If pregnancy is something that you wish to avoid, however, you have some options.

Your first and easiest option is to take an emergency contraceptive pill. You can take this pill for up to five days in order to avoid an unwanted pregnancy.

The other option is to get a copper IUD. A copper IUD will help prevent pregnancy from your previous sexual encounter, as well as future ones. However, the IUD must also be implanted within five days.

How Does The Test Work?

The over-the-counter pregnancy tests work by checking your urine for a particular hormone that is produced only when you are pregnant. The hormone is called Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG), and is released when a fertilised egg is attached to the lining of the uterus.

These tests are most accurate if you take them after you’ve missed your period. The way to get the right result is to read the instructions carefully and check for the expiration date.

You should also ideally take it first thing in the morning, when your urine is most concentrated with HCG. If you plan on taking the test later in the day, try to avoid drinking lots of liquid in the hours before the test.

How To Interpret The Results

Once you’ve collected the urine and used the dropper to put urine over the strip, leave it alone for the recommended amount of time. After 5-10 minutes, you should be able to see the results of the test on the strip.

If the strip shows one coloured line, you are likely not pregnant.

If the strip shows two coloured lines, you are likely pregnant.

Although take-home pregnancy tests are 95-99% accurate, there are chances of false positives. For a confirmed result, visit a gynaecologist and get a blood test done. Even if there is a false positive, the blood test will confirm or deny your possible pregnancy.

Being nervous about pregnancy is completely understandable, especially if you have had unprotected sex and are not trying for a baby. On the other hand, if you are trying, that brings in another form of nervousness.

Just remember, no matter what the outcome of the pregnancy test is, you will always have options to decide what you can do about it. Take a deep breath and take it easy. The outcome is going to work out for you, no matter how many lines are on the test.

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