Implantation is the literal attachment of a fertilized egg to the wall of the uterus. This process occurs at the start pf pregnancy, and the famed implantation bleeding may or may not occur – every woman and pregnancy is different.
Eager mothers-to-be always ask the same question: how soon after implantation can I test?
The answer is: it depends.
What kind of test would you like to take?
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2 Pregnancy Test Methods
There are two basic forms of pregnancy tests: at-home and blood tests. Women often choose to use the at-home tests because they’re less expensive than going to a doctor, and the accuracy rate for these tests has improved greatly in recent years.
The blood tests are performed at a doctor’s office or in a clinic. And you’ll need to go to the office and have your blood taken. The blood will be checked for:
Pregnancy causes the “pregnancy hormone,” or hCG to be produced. The placenta causes the hormone production to begin. Tumors can cause this hormone, too, so there is a risk of a pregnancy test being false.
But the doctor will be able to provide a thorough examination and ensure that you’re pregnant.
This is the benefit of a blood test – you’re working with a professional that can ensure you’re in optimal health and guide you through a healthy pregnancy. When you take an at-home test, you’ll need to visit the doctor eventually to be checked.
But since the at-home tests are so cheap, it makes sense to wait for a positive test before paying for a doctor’s visit.
At-home pregnancy tests also detect hCG, but the test will detect the hormone in the urine instead of in the blood. This is very important to understand because the hormone is detected in the blood before it’s detected in the urine.
Women often find that blood tests provide faster results. But it’s just a matter of days.
Blood tests can detect hCG as early as 6-8 days after ovulation. At-home tests can take 10+ days to show a positive result.
Every woman’s body is different, so she may not produce hCG as fast as the next woman. If the test is false, it’s recommended that four days’ time passes before testing again for best results.
Implantation: A 3-Step Process
Implantation occurs on the 6th day after an egg is fertilized, and the implantation will successfully finish on the 12th day. Again, this is the average amount of time it takes for implantation to occur.
The process may be shorter or longer.
A 3-step process occurs over this six-day period:
- Ovum attachment
- Implantation of the endometrium
- Fixation and healing of the mucous lining
Implantation bleeding occurs during the second step – if it occurs at all. This is when the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine lining.
Hormones dictate the implantation process.
The ovum produces hCG while the placenta is being formed. This allows for the body to prepare for the child.
If implantation has occurred, hCG levels in the body will increase. These levels are what all pregnancy tests use to test for pregnancy. Each at-home test will rely on the sensitivity of the test and the amount of hCG found in the urine.
Trace amounts of hCG won’t trigger a positive test.
During the first 8 weeks of pregnancy, hCG levels will double every 2 days on average. This allows for levels to be monitored and tested rapidly. And this is why if a test is negative, it’s recommended that you wait an additional 4 days before testing to allow hCG levels to ramp up and increase the accuracy of the test.
In most cases, hCG levels will have a 25mIU/ml level (enough to be detected in the blood) 4 – 5 days after implantation.
This is before your expected period.
But in the urine, it will take 6 – 7 days before hCG levels reach 25mIU/ml.
If you believe implantation has occurred, it’s best to wait a few additional days before taking a pregnancy test. The reason for this is simple:
- Higher mIU/ml levels are more accurate.
Every at-home test will list how early they can detect pregnancy. A test that can detect pregnancy at 20mIU/ml can be taken very early (in 4 days in most cases), while a 40mIU/ml detection requires 7 – 9 days to pass after implantation to provide accurate results.
If you’re confident that implantation has occurred, wait 7 – 10 days before testing for best results.
hCG levels rise lower for some pregnancies. A woman that is going through an ectopic pregnancy will have a slower rising hCG level than her counterparts. This causes inaccuracies when testing, and a lot of false negatives.
Negative tests – even if you believe you’ve had implantation bleeding – are possible.
There’s a few reasons for negative tests:
- You’re not pregnant
- You tested too early
Laboratory errors are possible, too. If you’ve missed your period and an at-home test is negative, wait a few days a retest. If you continue to produce negative tests and your period has yet to present, a visit to the doctor is recommended.
Confirming a Positive Test After Implantation Bleeding
Women often only know that implantation occurs because of bleeding, and just one in three women will produce implantation bleeding. So, there is a chance you didn’t bleed but you’re still pregnant.
There are tell-tale signs of pregnancy that cannot be ignored:
- Frequent urination
- Swollen breasts
- Nausea or vomiting
- No period
An ultrasound is advised if you need to confirm your pregnancy. This will provide a foulproof method of determining if you’re with child.
The fetal heartbeat will be heard 24 days after fertilization when a woman’s hCG levels have surpassed the 1000 mIU/ml mark.
At this point, all pregnancy tests should be positive.
False Pregnancy Tests: There’s Still Hope
A false pregnancy test can be heartbreaking. You’ve been trying to have a child for months, and a false test means another false hope. Will you ever get pregnant? Is there something wrong with you? Is there something wrong with him?
These questions and more will flow through a woman’s mind.
But false pregnancy tests do happen.
Surveys show that 62% of women will retest even if the test is positive because they fear that the test is wrong. You should wait 4 days before testing again if the test is positive to allow enough of the pregnancy hormone to accumulate in the body.
And do yourself a favor and test when you wake up first thing in the morning.
The idea is that the pregnancy hormone will accumulate in the bladder overnight. This allows for the highest level of hCG to be present during your first urination of the day. If you test after drinking a gallon of water, you’ll dilute the urine so much that the hormone will be in trace amounts and undetectable.
Another 60% of women take their pregnancy test an entire week too early, so ensure you’ve waited long enough before testing.
A staggering 65.1% of tests taken 8 days after ovulation were negative, so try and wait until the 10-day mark to test. There’s also the fact that 10% of women don’t go through implantation until after their missed period.
There is a low risk of a woman getting a negative pregnancy test even though she is pregnant – just 5%. Of course, you’ll need to wait until the hormones reach a readable level for this statistic to hold true.
False negatives are very common, and this happens in 9 out of 15 women (so over half of women will have a false negative test).
The shocking statistic is that some women will not have a positive test until 7 – 8 weeks into her pregnancy. hCG levels may not rise quickly, and it can take a long time before a woman realizes she is pregnant.
A good indicator, even if the test is negative, is a missed period.
If you’re weeks past your period date and your test is negative, visit your doctor and have a blood test taken. Not only may you be pregnant, you may also be suffering from a medical condition that’s causing your period issues.
In either case, the right choice is to go to the doctor to get a confirmation on your health and pregnancy status.