Peeing on a chemically prepared stick from the drugstore is the fastest and most convenient way to detect the presence of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), or “the pregnancy hormone” in your urine. When you have a pregnancy blood test at the doctor’s office a few weeks later, they’re actually testing for the same hormone’s presence in your blood.

The new embryo begins to produce hCG immediately after it attaches to the uterine wall in the very first few days of pregnancy, even before you’ve had a missed period. It is the first hormone produced by the placenta, and its levels double every two days in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. After passing through your body, hCG is eliminated through the urine.

By the time your period is late, there is usually enough hCG in the urine for a home pregnancy test to give an accurate result.

In fact, a pregnancy test taken on the first day of a missed period (which, for a woman with a regular 28-day menstrual cycle, will be 14 days after ovulation) is 99% accurate.

pregnancy tests

Are signs of pregnancy different if you’re having a boy vs. a girl?

Though baby’s sex is determined at the time of conception, blood tests and ultrasounds can’t give you an accurate answer until the end of the first trimester, at the earliest. Until then, all an expectant parent can do is speculate: Am I having a boy or a girl? It’s why gender predictors and old wives’ tales are so popular.

But according to a new study, those old wives’ tales may have some truth to them. Researchers say there’s some evidence that pregnancy symptoms really are different if you’re carrying a boy or a girl. In the study, women carrying a female baby developed a higher number of pro-inflammatory cytokines (or experienced an increased inflammatory response) when exposed to bacteria compared to women pregnant with a male baby. Researchers say this could explain why it’s believed that women pregnant with girls experience heightened pregnancy symptoms.

Another study published in the Lancet supports this claim, noting that mothers with hyperemesis gravidarum were more likely to be carrying girls.

When should I take a pregnancy test?

It’s possible to get a positive pregnancy test as early as 10 days past ovulation, but at-home pregnancy tests yield the most accurate results 7-10 days after your missed period.

Why such a big window of time? Pregnancy tests check for hCG, a hormone our bodies secrete from the placenta during pregnancy. And all pregnant women produce hCG at different rates. That said, most pregnant women will have enough hCG in their bodies to get a positive pregnancy test about a week after their missed period.

What if you don’t get the positive pregnancy test you were hoping for?

Be aware that, until your body is producing enough hCG hormone to be flushed out in your urine, a home pregnancy test might give you a false negative. While the first hCG spike is typically eight days after conception, not all women have the same cycle. If you tested early on, be sure to try again in a few days.

If you didn’t conceive this month, staying mindful of early pregnancy symptoms while tuning into your body is never a lost cause. Knowing more about your cycle, your hormones, and your body may help you achieve a different result next month.

How soon can I tell if I’m pregnant?

Waiting for that positive pregnancy test? At-home pregnancy tests are most accurate about 7 days after your missed period. THAT FEELS LIKE FOREVER, I know! Luckily, you can get a positive pregnancy test earlier; some women say they’ve had positive pregnancy tests as early as 10 days past ovulation.

How can you tell if you are pregnant?

The best way to tell if you are pregnant is to take an at-home pregnancy test. When used correctly, they’re 99% accurate—that’s just as accurate as a urine test at the doctor.

Once you get a positive pregnancy test, call your healthcare provider. They’ll want to set up an appointment to confirm your pregnancy with a blood test.

How early do pregnancy symptoms start?

One of the earliest signs of pregnancy is implantation cramping and / or implantation bleeding. This occurs when the blastocyst implants in the uterus, often 6-11 days after conception. Some women may also experience mood swings and/or headaches, but it’s important to note that some women don’t experience any of these things when they’re pregnant.

How can I tell if I’m pregnant after 1 week?

Ready for a curve ball? At one week pregnant, you won’t experience any pregnancy symptoms… because you’re not actually pregnant. Say what?! The conventional method of dating pregnancy does not use conception as the starting point for pregnancy. Instead, healthcare providers use the date of your last menstrual period to date pregnancy. For most women with regular cycles, this means they aren’t actually pregnant during the first two weeks of pregnancy.

However, one week after conception (approximately three weeks pregnant for most women with regular cycles), some women may begin to experience very early pregnancy symptoms, like fatigue, nausea, a heightened sense of smell, or light spotting. But don’t fret if you don’t get a positive pregnancy test at this point: your body likely hasn’t started producing enough hCG to get that BFP.

What are the symptoms of pregnancy at 2 days?

Another trick question! You won’t experience any pregnancy symptoms two days after your last menstrual period, because you’re not technically pregnant during that time. Even at two days past conception you’re unlikely to experience any pregnancy symptoms. It generally takes between 12 and 24 hours for the sperm to meet the egg. Once this happens, it takes another 3 to 5 days for the fertilised egg to implant into the uterine lining. Though some women say they “just know” when pregnancy has occurred, it’s unlikely you’ll experience any early pregnancy symptoms before 3 to 4 weeks.

What colour is your urine when you’re pregnant?

Some women say the knew they were pregnant because their urine was darker, cloudy, and/or had a strong odour. Unfortunately, there really isn’t much scientific evidence to support this theory.

That said, frequent urination is an early sign of pregnancy. This is thanks to an increase in the hormones progesterone and hCG an increase in body fluids.