Am I Pregnant? Everything You Need to Know about Pregnancy Testing
The process of trying to get pregnant is vastly different for every couple. And there’s no doubt it can be a nerve-wracking experience. I’ve had friends who seem to get pregnant with the blink of an eye. Others go through countless fraught months, or even years, of trying. Some eventually turn to IVF pregnancy treatments, adoption, or in the saddest cases, give up on becoming pregnant altogether.
But let’s look on the bright side. Most women do manage to conceive naturally and there is help available for those with difficulty. Unfortunately, I have no pearls of wisdom on your
chances of getting pregnant, how long it will take you to conceive or even how to get pregnant (most of us already know how the birds and the bees work!).
What I do have is some common sense advice on how to stay positive in those weeks after ovulation, when you’re living in hope of conceiving, and a work or two on how home pregnancy tests work, and the best time to take one.
Waiting and Hoping: What to Expect when You’re Getting Pregnant
Making the decision to try for a baby is one of the most important ones you’ll make in your life. But my advice and the advice of thousands of women who’ve let the process become a nail-biting experience full of anxiety and self-doubt is:
Don’t let trying to get pregnant take over your life!
Think of the process of getting pregnant in these five simple steps:
- Make the decision to try for a baby and stop taking any birth control you are using. Note that some contraceptives can take a few months to work their way out of your system.
- Pay a little more attention to your general health (e.g. good diet and regular exercise) – having a healthy body is good both for conceiving and for the early stages of pregnancy. STOP smoking and/or drinking the moment you decide to try for a baby.
- Start taking note of when you have your periods and how long they last – there’s a lot to be said for red crosses on the calendar! This way you’ll be able to tell when you’re ovulating.
- Here’s the fun part: have sex with your partner! The most likely time to get pregnant is right after ovulation, which is approximately 14 days after the beginning of your last period. But, don’t turn your sex life into a scheduled event that revolves around dates on the calendar – enjoy each other and this adventure!
- When the time is right, take your home pregnancy test. If you get a positive, congratulations: you have conceived (do note that not all early conceptions become viable pregnancies, but it’s a start!) If you get a negative, or your next period arrives, shake it off and try again next month.
Other than those things, all you really need to do is relax, keep enjoying your life and wait for that little miracle to happen!
Home Pregnancy Test Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How soon can you take a pregnancy test?
Answer: The good news is that pregnancy tests are more effective and more accurate than they’ve ever been before and you can now get a positive result as long as six days before your period is due to begin. If you don’t get a positive, I recommend testing again at three-day intervals until your period arrives, as the pregnancy hormones build up at different rates for different women.
Question: How does an early detection pregnancy test work?
Answer: Home pregnancy tests work by measuring the levels of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG), which is basically the pregnancy hormone. HCG starts building up in your body from the moment of conception and doubles every 48 hours. Depending on your body, measurable levels of HCG can build up within about 7 days of conception.
Question: What is the best early pregnancy test?
Answer: We recommend [email protected] to our readers. All pregnancy tests do the same job but we recommend this brand for a couple of reasons:
It’s friendlier on the environment and doesn’t have the bulky (and unnecessary!!!) plastic cases that some of the other brands have.
It comes in handy packs of 25 test strips so you’re not constantly dashing to the drugstore and can test every few days after your ovulation.
It’s 99.8% accurate, takes only 3 minutes for a result, and can detect HCG in the system just a few days after conception.
Question: What is the earliest sign of pregnancy?
Answer: Traditionally, the very first sign of pregnancy is your period not arriving when it’s due! But, if you’re using pregnancy tests, you may already have a positive result by the time that day rolls around!
Question: What is the best position to get pregnant?
Answer: I’m sorry to say, but there is no magical sex position that will make your partner’s sperm more likely to fertilize your egg. All the same, feel free to try as many as you like!
It’s all about Attitude: Staying Positive Until You Get a Positive
Remember that trying to get pregnant isn’t always easy and that it will be worth every minute when you finally get there. If you find yourself sneaking off to the office bathrooms on your break to take an early pregnancy test every second day, you’re probably letting it get to you. Early detection tests are more effective than ever before, but they don’t work the morning after! Unless you want to be spending a small fortune on disappointing results, wait until six days before your period is due and take the test at home where you can share the news (either negative or positive) with your partner. Remember to relax, get on with life, and have fun! You’ve got this!
Useful Links when You’re Trying to Get Pregnant
- Use our free ovulation calculator to work out when your fertile window is.
- Check out our pregnancy due date calculator to figure out when your little bundle will arrive.
- Find out what pregnancy symptoms you can expect each week in our pregnancy week by week guide.
- Still not pregnant? Find out about possible next steps here.