If you have had unprotected sex and are anxiously waiting to see if your period is going to start, you are probably wondering how soon can I take a pregnancy test?

Home pregnancy tests may state that you can take a pregnancy test up to 5 days before your missed period, but is that really accurate?

First, it helps to know what is being tested by a home pregnancy test.  All home pregnancy tests detect human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG).  HCG is a hormone released in your body when you are pregnant.  In early pregnancy, HCG is increasing rapidly.

Every person has different levels of HCG in their body.  This means that some women can get accurate results when taking a pregnancy test just a few days before their missed period, while others will need to wait longer in order to get true results.

As a general rule, most pregnancy tests are 99% accurate on the day of your missed period.

Always make sure that you check the expiration date of your pregnancy test and that you perform the test according to the instructions.  If you take a pregnancy test before the day of your missed period, it is best to take the test first thing in the morning when urine is typically the most concentrated of the day.

If your periods are irregular and you are not sure when to test, make an appointment with a healthcare provider who can help you decide on the best time to take a pregnancy test.

It is always a good idea to get a medically-verified pregnancy test and discuss the results with a healthcare provider.


Keely Darnell, MSN, RN, WHNP-BC

Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner


This post is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition. If you have any concerns, please speak with a healthcare provider.