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How Long After Sex Is A Pregnancy Test Accurate?

By MomMed | 27 May 2022 | 0 Comments

Pregnancy can be daunting. Yet that is what almost all women look up to, an experience to nurture a life inside of you. While getting pregnant is like a breeze for some women, and happens almost accidentally, others find it tough to track and try at the right time.
The journey to get pregnant is filled with a lot of hope, worry, excitement, and fear. Testing for pregnancy every time certainly increases anxiety. It doubles up when women do not have an idea about when to get the most accurate results.
To help you avoid that inconvenience, we have detailed everything you need to know about what is going to happen following unprotected sex. This will give you an insight into the timeline of events occurring inside your body and thus a fair estimate of when to check to get your pregnancy test accurate.


When To Have Sex To Get Pregnant

The ovary releases one egg every menstrual cycle through a process called ovulation. Post ovulation, the egg travels down the fallopian down and dissolves after 24 hours unlike the sperms, which can survive in the female system for 3-5 days. This leaves a very short window for women to get pregnant.
 It is clearly understandable, that only if the sperm is present in the fallopian tube at the time the egg gets released from the ovary, fertilization is possible. Therefore, having unprotected sex every other day starting from 5 days prior to the date of ovulation increases the chance of getting pregnant.
The most fertile days, however, are considered to be the date of ovulation and two days prior to that. You can easily track your ovulation through various apps, over-the-counter ovulation test strips, or fertility monitors.

How Does Pregnancy Happen

You do not get pregnant immediately after you have sex. The sperm waits in the fallopian tube for the egg to be released from the ovary. Following that, fertilization occurs. Therefore, the time lapse between intercourse and fertilization can be a few minutes to a few days, depending on when you actually ovulate.
Fertilization takes about 24 hours to be completed. The zygote then divides and travels down the fallopian tube into the uterus where it gets implanted in the inner lining. It takes about 10 days for implantation to happen after which the level of hCG, (human Chorionic Gonadotropin) increases to maintain the uterine lining. This surge is detected in urine during a pregnancy test.

When To Take The Test

It takes at least 2-3 weeks after unprotected sex to detect pregnancy accurately. Very early in your pregnancy, the level of hCG in the urine is too low. It might, therefore, give a false negative. However, the level doubles every 48-72 hours for the first few weeks of pregnancy. This indicates that, if you want your pregnancy test accurate in one go, then wait for at least 21 days after sex. You can get a pregnancy test at home, preferably, on the date of your period. If you test negative, then get another test a few days after you miss your period.
Experts however suggest that to get a pregnancy test accurate, you should ideally wait till you miss your period. Some women might show spotting during the first trimester. Remember, that is not menstrual bleeding. Therefore, if anything of that sort happens after you get a positive result, then consult your doctor for confirmation.

How To Take The Test

The most convenient way to check if you are pregnant is to get a pregnancy test at home. Test strips that check the amount of hCG in your urine show very accurate pregnancy test results. You can urinate on the strip for 3-5 seconds or dip it in your urine for a few minutes and let it absorb.
The results must appear within 5-10 mins. It has to be inferred from a single line that you are not pregnant, while a double line means you have successfully conceived. The line can be faint or dark depending on the level of hCG in your urine.
The first urine of the day is usually recommended to receive reliable pregnancy test results. Fluid intake over the course of the day can dilute the hCG in urine and might lead to a false negative. However, you can take a test at other times. Just make sure to avoid drinking anything or urinating, a couple of hours prior to that.


What Next

The immediate thing to do after you get a positive result is to take a prenatal appointment. This is extremely crucial to confirm your pregnancy. Though rare, false positives are possible. They might occur due to hCG infusions you have been taking as a part of your fertility treatment, tumor, medications, or underlying health conditions.
Your doctor will prescribe a quantitative blood test that will analyze the amount of hCG getting circulated in your body. You might be prescribed another test a few days after to see the level of surge and gauge how healthy the pregnancy is. You will also undergo an ultrasound where the doctor will check how far along you are in your pregnancy.
You might not be getting any pregnancy symptoms yet, but prepare your mind for the impending discomfort. A lot is going to change in your body to make space for your little one and nourish it. So, try to stay calm and you will be fine.


Testing too often, too early might overwhelm and disappoint you. Therefore, be well informed about the process. This will give you an estimate of the time you shall wait and thus the patience to do so. Even though most at-home pregnancy results are pretty much accurate, sometimes things might go wrong.
Therefore, confirm from your doctor following a test at home. If you experience pregnancy symptoms following a negative result, do not dodge a visit to your gynecologist; you might have taken the test too early. Be patient in the journey. Trust your body, trust your doctor and you will definitely get the best results.


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