ASK A VWC NURSE: ANSWERS TO YOUR COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Once a month, we are going to feature answers to commonly asked questions that our Valley Women’s Clinic medical staff receives. Our nurses will provide answers to these questions here on the blog.
Q. HOW SOON AFTER SEX SHOULD I TAKE A PREGNANCY TEST?
If you’re freaking out after a sexual encounter, worried you may be at risk for an unplanned pregnancy, you may be asking yourself how soon a pregnancy test will show if you’re pregnant.
A. THE EARLIEST A PREGNANCY TEST SHOULD BE TAKEN AFTER A SEXUAL ENCOUNTER THAT MAY HAVE CAUSED A PREGNANCY IS AFTER 10 DAYS.
That’s because there is a window of time each month in which a woman may get pregnant. Each woman’s cycle starts with the first day of her menstrual period. A period lasts from 3-7 days. During the next few days after her period ends, hormones work in a woman’s body to prepare one of her ovaries to ripen an egg for ovulation (releasing a ripe egg).
Ovulation generally occurs about day 14 in a woman’s cycle, but which day it actually occurs on can vary from month to month due to hormonal fluctuations. Ovulation can occur as early as day 7 of a cycle, as late as day 20, or on any day in between.
A woman can get pregnant only if sperm is present from sexual intercourse when her egg is released into her fallopian tube. The egg travels from the fallopian tube into the uterus. If the egg encounters sperm and one sperm penetrates, entering the egg to fertilize it, then the egg begins to develop into an embryo.
The embryo releases a pregnancy hormone that can be detected in the woman’s blood at 7 days after conception. The hormone can be detected in the urine at 10 days after conception by a lab grade pregnancy test. Therefore, the earliest a pregnancy test should be taken after a sexual encounter that may have caused a pregnancy is after 10 days. Taking a pregnancy test any sooner than 10 days after sex could give a false negative result.
If you’re worried that you may be pregnant, Valley Women’s Clinic can provide you with a free pregnancy test. All of our services are free and confidential. Request an appointment at our Blacksburg or Radford office.
Do you have a question for one of our VWC nurses? Fill out this form to anonymously ask your question and it could be featured on one of our future Ask a VWC Nurse blog posts!