You Can Take a Pregnancy Test Earlier Than You Might Think

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Whether you are actively trying to get pregnant or not, the question of potential pregnancy can be one that tends to linger if you are sexually active. For some people, a spot of heartburn the day after having sex could spark the thought, “Am I pregnant?!” and for others, it might take ignoring multiple signs of pregnancy before ever taking a test.

Early signs of pregnancy can look different for everyone – from morning sickness to intense fatigue. The only way to know for sure if you’re pregnant is to take a pregnancy test (via at-home urine test or a blood test from a provider) or have your healthcare provider perform an ultrasound. But how early can you take a pregnancy test? POPSUGAR spoke with Lakeisha Richardson, MD, OB/GYN, about the right timing and some of the earliest signs, symptoms, and tips to look out for in early pregnancy.

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Early Signs of Pregnancy

Although one of the earliest and most obvious signs of pregnancy is a missed period, some people may not get a period at all due to their birth control pill or other health factors, which can be confusing when trying to figure out if you’re pregnant. “Most women realize that they may be pregnant when their cycle doesn’t start on time,” Dr. Richardson tells POPSUGAR. “In addition, women may have morning sickness, an aversion to certain smells, and breast tenderness early in pregnancy.”

Planned Parenthood says early signs and symptoms can also include:

  • Bloating
  • Peeing more often than usual
  • Metallic taste in the mouth
  • Constipation
  • Heartburn
  • Fainting
  • Skin changes

One of the most obvious signs of pregnancy (but also not so obvious, because being tired is just a part of adulthood) is fatigue. “While every woman is different and experiences early pregnancy differently, every woman will experience the fatigue of early pregnancy,” says Dr. Richardson. “During the first trimester of pregnancy, [the development of the fetus occurs], which usually requires a large amount of energy and leaves most women feeling exhausted by midday or early afternoon. Most women usually feel the need to nap daily during the first trimester.”

Related: The 1 Surprising Symptom That Made Me Realize I Was Pregnant

How Early Can You Tell If You’re Pregnant?

With an average menstrual cycle of 28 days, it doesn’t seem like that long of time in between cycles to wait to see if you conceived, but if you’ve ever felt like you might be pregnant but weren’t sure, you know that each day waiting for your period to come or not can feel like an eternity. Thanks to pregnancy test technology, however, women are able to find out nearly a week before their missed period if they’re pregnant. “With First Response, you can tell as soon as six days before your first missed period that you are pregnant. [It] is over 99 percent accurate,” Dr. Richardson notes of the popular pregnancy test brand.

How Early Can You Take a Pregnancy Test?

It’s possible to get a positive result from an at-home test as early as 10 days after conception, according to Cleveland Clinic. But for a more accurate result, it’s recommended to wait until after you’ve missed your period to take a test because if you take a test too soon, you could risk getting a false negative. And to be safe, you can take two pregnancy tests to confirm the same result.

Should You See a Doctor Following a Positive Pregnancy Test?

Physically, early pregnancy may not look like much (even if it feels like you’re getting hit with a ton of bricks), but you should see your doctor well before your baby bump makes its debut. According to Dr. Richardson, “You should see a doctor as soon as possible after confirming an early pregnancy” because the first trimester is so important.

“The first trimester is a crucial time in pregnancy because of [the development of the fetus],” she says, before listing additional reasons why some women may need some extra assistance from their doctor within the first trimester.

For example, women who are high risk may need to stop certain medications that can disturb the development of the fetus, Dr. Richardson explains. And “women who have a history of preterm labor may need to be started on injections to prevent preterm delivery,” she adds. In general, contacting or visiting your doctor is always a good idea if you’re concerned or have questions, especially during the early stages of your pregnancy.

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