Early Signs Of Pregnancy: Gynaecologist Shares When To Take A Test

Everyone experiences different symptoms of pregnancy and at different times. It’s important not to compare your pregnancy to someone else’s because pregnancy symptoms can vary. But how to know if you’re pregnant? We got in touch with women health experts who share the earliest signs of pregnancy, types of tests and the ideal time to take a pregnancy test for accurate results. Read on.
Early Signs Of Pregnancy: Gynaecologist Shares When To Take A Test

Early Signs Of Pregnancy: Gynaecologist Shares When To Take A Test (Image Credits: iStock)

Bringing new life into the world is a momentous journey, often marked by subtle signs. For those trying to conceive or not actively preventing pregnancy, watching for the earliest signs and knowing when to take a pregnancy test can be an exciting yet nerve-wracking time. Understanding the earliest signs of pregnancy and knowing when to take a pregnancy test are crucial steps for couples planning to expand their families. While missing a period is the most obvious sign of potential pregnancy, there are several other early symptoms and the best time to take a test for accurate results.
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We got in touch with health experts who share early signs of pregnancy, types of pregnancy tests and when you should take a test for accurate results.
Dr Neelam Suri, Senior Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi shares early signs of pregnancy.
Missed Period
The most well-known early sign of pregnancy is a missed menstrual period. However, it's important to understand that a missed period doesn't necessarily mean you're pregnant. Factors like stress, hormonal imbalances, excessive exercise, or significant weight loss can also delay a period. But if you've maintained a regular cycle and have missed your period, it's a good reason to take a pregnancy test.
Breast Tenderness
Sore or tender breasts can be one of the first noticeable signs of pregnancy. Rising hormone levels, especially estrogen and progesterone, can cause your breasts to swell, feel fuller and become tender to the touch as early as 1-2 weeks after conception. However, breast tenderness is also a normal symptom that many women experience before their period.
Nausea or Morning Sickness
Morning sickness, which can actually occur any time of day, is another common early pregnancy symptom caused by rising hormone levels. Nausea typically starts around 4-6 weeks of pregnancy and can range from mild queasiness to severe vomiting for some women. While unpleasant, it's generally a reassuring sign that the pregnancy hormone hCG is increasing as it should.
Fatigue and Mood Changes
In the early stages of pregnancy, women commonly experience fatigue and mood changes like increased irritability or feeling unusually emotional. These symptoms usually start around week 6 of pregnancy as levels of progesterone soar, although they can occur even earlier. Feeling tired and emotional is normal, but can also make it harder to determine if pregnancy is the cause.
Implantation Bleeding
Light spotting or vaginal bleeding may occur about 10-14 days after conception when the fertilized egg implants in the uterine lining. However, implantation bleeding is very light, short, and distinctly different from a normal period. Many women don't experience implantation bleeding at all.
Dr Pooja Mehta, Director - Unit Head Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Marengo Asia Hospital, Gurugram shares types of pregnancy tests you can take when in doubt.
1. Urine Tests (Home Pregnancy Tests): Home pregnancy tests, which detect the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone in urine, are widely available and convenient. Most tests can produce accurate results on the first day of a missed period. However, for approximately 10-20 percent of pregnant women, these tests may not accurately detect pregnancy during the first week of a missed period.
2. Blood Tests (Beta hCG Test): In cases where a home pregnancy test yields inconclusive results or there are doubts about its accuracy, a blood test can be performed to measure the levels of hCG hormone in the bloodstream. This beta hCG test offers greater sensitivity and can confirm pregnancy with higher accuracy.
Dr Neelam Suri shares that for the most accurate results, it's best to wait to take a pregnancy test until about one week after you've missed your period. This allows time for levels of the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which is detected by pregnancy tests, to build up enough to be detected.
“Most over-the-counter pregnancy tests can detect a pregnancy about 3-4 days before a missed period or around 2 weeks after conception. Taking a test before then increases your chances of getting a false negative result, even if you are pregnant,” she further explains.
“The most sensitive tests are able to detect even tiny amounts of hCG a few days before your missed period. But it's still best to wait at least one week after your missed period to get the most accurate results,” Dr Neelam Suri mentioned.
Dr Neelam Suri explains that if you get a negative result but still have reason to believe you may be pregnant based on other symptoms, wait a few days and test again. Levels of hCG double about every 2-3 days in early pregnancy, so retesting in a few days will allow more time for the hormone to build up to detectable levels.
“If you get a positive result on a home pregnancy test, make an appointment with your doctor to get it confirmed and discuss the next steps. Watching for those very first symptoms and carefully timing when you take a pregnancy test are important first steps on this exciting journey,” she said.
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