I say tipS (plural) because, seriously, who can take just ONE test!?!?
These are mine from September 2, 2008, approximately 14 days past ovulation. I dipped one in the cup and it popped up before I even set it down. Not trusting my eyes, I dipped the other one immediately afterward. I was amazed!!
When I was learning the Fertility Awareness Method, I remember reading that it is almost impossible for a woman to go beyond 18 days past ovulation without being pregnant. For charters, being past day 18 post-ov without a period is an almost sure sign of pregnancy. “Well, I’ll just wait the 18 days and test after that, then,” I remember thinking.
Riiiiiiight. That never happened.
With all three of my pregnancies, I started taking $1 tests as early as 10 days past when I thought I ovulated. I would have negatives or even light positives on days 11 and 12, but I didn’t get a STRONG, dark, CONCLUSIVE positive result until fully 13-14 days post-ov.
I was never an obsessed test-taker, but I did try the dollar tests just for fun in the days leading up to day 13-14, knowing I’d have to splurge on a ‘real test’ for the official result.
So! Here are my Tab’s Tips for Taking Pregnancy Tests:
1. Wait to take a test until your period is truly LATE.
Implantation needs to occur before hCG is produced, and that generally happens between 6-12 days post ovulation, usually by 10 days after. I recommend not testing before at LEAST 10 days post-ov, and closer to 13-14+ days if you can bear to wait that long.
During the ‘waiting to test’ phase is when knowing the typical length of your luteal phase (the time between ovulation and your period) is extremely valuable. Knowing what’s normal for you means that you can test confidently within a day or two of when you would usually expect your period.
With my first pregnancy, I knew my luteal phase rarely went past 12-14 days AND I usually had spotting on days 11-14 or so. When I got to day 13 post-ov with NO spotting, I figured something was up. Sure enough, the test on day 13 was very faint but on day 14 it was VERY positive.
CAUTION!! Many factors can lead to a longer-than-usual cycle including delayed ovulation due to stress of sickness. So unless you KNOW when you ovulated, just thinking you’re ‘a little late’ doesn’t necessarily mean you’re pregnant.
COOL TOOL!!! Wondering when to test based on your specific cycle?? Try this on CountDownToPregnancy.com. Gives you a run-down of when various pregnancy tests will pick up the hormone levels. Very cool! According to my dates, I’d be a fool to test before at least Nov. 4 and I’m advised to wait until Nov. 7th and beyond. My plan is to hold out until Thursday the 8th because I have a big teaching gig the next day AND my grandmother arrives into town so I will HAVE to know!
2. Test with your first morning AND midstream urine if possible. You should use midstream urine–meaning you should pee a little first and then either hold the test stick in your urine stream or use a collection cup. And I recommend…..
3. Pee in a cup, THEN dip the stick IN (rather than trying to pee ON the stick). You will be nervous and your hands might be shaky, so don’t attempt to pee ON the stick!
Follow the package instructions, of course, but for MOST tests, you can pee in a paper cup then dip the absorbent tip into the cup for the specified amount of time and lay the test down to get your result.
4. Keep the test pointing downward and then lay it flat afterward. I remember with my third pregnancy, I dipped it in the cup then watched it move across the control and BAM! The second line emerged, before I could even set it down! That was awesome.
5. Know your tests. Some tests are more sensitive than others. If you’re testing early, you want a test that detects the LOWEST amount of the pregnancy hormone. There are many tests on the market that can pick up 25mlU. Some even pick up levels as low as 10mlU or 15mlU.
Check out this list from FertilityPlus.com for a list of the most sensitive tests then take it to the store and see which ones are on sale.
Wondering about the hCG levels? A rounded-off average would be about 25 mIU at 10 dpo, 50 at 12 dpo, 100 at 14 dpo. You can see why I got FAST, clear positives on day 14!
I’d wait to get the digital “I’m pregnant” test until you’re pretty sure you are OR if you are just DYING to know for sure early on. It is a fun picture for the scrapbook (or to use as a prop to announce your pregnancy), but cheaper tests can still give you a conclusive positive (or two or three or six) before you have to splurge on the expensive digital version.
Do you have tests you love or hate? Do share!