The Best Time to Take a Pregnancy Test

In a Nutshell: The best time to take a pregnancy test is about two weeks after ovulation, aligning with the expected time of a missed period. This timing is crucial for ensuring that hCG levels are adequately high for accurate detection.


  • Understanding the menstrual cycle is crucial for timing a pregnancy test accurately.
  • Waiting approximately two weeks after ovulation aligns with a missed period and ensures accurate hCG detection.
  • Hormone hCG, critical for pregnancy, is produced after the embryo implants in the uterus.

When to Take a Pregnancy Test

Understanding the best time to take a pregnancy test is a common concern among many women. 

Dr. Anu Kathiresan, a board-certified fertility specialist based in Los Angeles, CA, offers her expert insights on this topic, drawing from her extensive experience in fertility medicine and as a doctor mom.

The Menstrual Cycle

Dr. Kathiresan stresses the importance of understanding the menstrual cycle to identify the best time to take a pregnancy test.

She explains that the cycle begins with a period, followed by the growth of a follicle containing an egg. As the follicle grows, it produces estrogen, which thickens the uterine lining, aiding in implantation. 

Ovulation occurs about 24 hours after an LH surge, and the egg remains viable for an additional 24 hours, which is the ideal time for fertilization.

Hormone Production

After fertilization in the fallopian tube, the embryo undergoes cell divisions to become a blastocyst, which then implants in the uterus five to six days post-ovulation. 

This implantation triggers the production of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), a hormone critical in maintaining the pregnancy.

Optimal Timing

Dr. Kathiresan explains that technically, hCG can be detected as early as eight to nine days post-ovulation in trace amounts. 

However, she cautions against testing too early, emphasizing the need to find the best time, considering variations in each woman’s follicular phase and ovulation timing.

She emphasizes using an ovulation predictor kit for more accurate timing.

Considerations for Accurate Results

Testing too early, especially after a ‘trigger shot’ of hCG, can lead to false positives. 

Dr. Kathiresan advises waiting approximately two weeks after ovulation, aligning with the expected time of a missed period, to ensure that hCG levels are sufficiently high for detection. 

This waiting period also addresses the varying sensitivities of different pregnancy tests.

Reliable Pregnancy Testing

Dr. Kathiresan’s advice is clear: avoid diluted urine samples and understand the nuances of your menstrual cycle for accurate pregnancy testing. 

By identifying the best time, such as the recommended two weeks post-ovulation, women can expect more reliable results, reducing the chances of false positives or negatives.

Dr. Anu Kathiresan emphasizes the importance of timing and understanding one’s body for reliable pregnancy testing. Her advice helps women navigate the complexities of reproductive health with informed and accurate approaches to pregnancy testing.

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