How soon can I take a pregnancy test?

What can I do if I think I’m pregnant?

Okay, almost every person who can become pregnant has been faced with a pregnancy scare at one time or another.  Whether you are feeling mild anxiety or are in a complete meltdown, there are some simple facts that might be helpful. Each situation is different, but we will try to help here.

If you have had unprotected sex within the last 5 days and do not want to be pregnant, you may want to try emergency contraception (EC). You can get over-the-counter emergency contraception at most drug and grocery stores without a prescription in every US state. Brand names like PLAN B work no better than the many generics out there, so cheaper versions are fine.

One consideration, if you have a BMI of 30 or more, or weigh more than 165 pounds, this option may not be effective for you. ELLA is a prescription brand of EC that is not impacted by body size. Another option is going to a clinic for the insertion of a Paragard IUD. These are all options to prevent pregnancy even after unprotected sex.

When can I take a pregnancy test?

If it’s been more than 5 days since you had unprotected sex and too late for EC, you can get a pregnancy test from a doctor or you can take a home pregnancy test. Home pregnancy tests are now just as effective as the tests available in a doctor’s office. There are many kinds available, and more expensive tests are not more accurate than those that are less expensive.

You do have to wait at least 10 days from unprotected sex for a pregnancy test to be effective, and it’s even more effective if you can wait until only a few days before your period is due. If you don’t track when your period normally comes, this can be hard to do. Most people see a period about every 28 days. The closer you can estimate, the more effective your test result will be.

A test from a doctor’s office is no more effective than a home test. If you prefer to seek one out anyway, you should avoid most places that advertise free pregnancy testing. Often called Pregnancy Resource Centers or Crisis Pregnancy Centers, these are offices typically run by volunteers of non-medical, often religious-based institutions that exist only to try to discourage people from choosing to have an abortion.

What time of day should I take a pregnancy test?

Most over-the-counter pregnancy tests work best if you use them with the first urine you pass in the morning, which is when your urine is most concentrated. These tests are looking for the presence of hCG or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, a hormone produced during the onset of pregnancy.

Don’t forget; home pregnancy tests, aka HPTs, may not work if they are expired, or if you don’t follow the instructions. Before you take your test, remember to check the expiration date, and make sure you understand and follow the instructions. Be sure to read the test result only after waiting the time recommended in the test instructions. Never pick up a test after a few hours once it’s in the trash and read it again. Many tests will show a false positive result if left sitting long enough.

What if I get a negative pregnancy test result?

If you get a negative test result, but still believe you may be pregnant, wait a few days and take another test. You may want to avoid close sexual contact during this time.  If it has been more than 21 days since you had unprotected sex and your test is negative for pregnancy, you are not pregnant.

If you are still experiencing signs of pregnancy after a second negative test result and your period hasn’t returned, you may want to schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider. Remember, there are things other than pregnancy that can delay a period.

What if you find out you are pregnant?

If your home pregnancy test is positive, you may know right away what option is best for you. But if you don’t, that’s ok. Some people need to take more time to carefully weigh their options of abortion, adoption, or parenting a child. If you find you need to talk more about your options, there are several nonjudgmental resources but we recommend All Options, an organization dedicated to peer counseling and support.

If you are considering abortion, please be aware of the laws in your state, so you know of any limitations on how long you may have to choose an abortion. This varies widely across the US and from state-to-state. For more legal support options to you can reach out to Jane’s Due Process or If/When/How.

I missed my period and I don’t want to be pregnant.

Ok, we can help. First and foremost, take a deep breath and know you are not alone. Abortion is a common thing that 1 in 4 people who can get pregnant will experience in their reproductive lifetime. It’s a good idea to get as much information as soon as possible about your options. Reviewing our website or calling carafem is a great place to start.

Our staff will often start the call or ask online if you know the day your last period started. This is how we can date how far along you are in your pregnancy so we can provide you with abortion options specific to your needs. You can also access our website for information about choosing the abortion pill vs. an in-office abortion procedure.

Abortion Pills Online

carafem offers abortion pill care via secure video consultation as well as immediate evaluation, which does not require a video visit. We’ve ensured safe, reliable access to the abortion pill to thousands of people who are not in the immediate area of one of our health centers. Whether it’s your first or another abortion, our compassionate providers are here for you.
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Abortion Information You Can Trust

carafem medical standards and guidelines have been composed and approved by Board-certified Ob/Gyn Physicians as part of the carafem medical committee. We are members of NAF and the Abortion Care Network. carafem is a nationally known expert in providing abortion care that is professional, affordable, private, and responsive to the individual needs of the people we serve. Still have questions? Check out our FAQ page, or call us at (877) 708-5064, or find a location near you.