Trying to Conceive

How Soon After Unprotected Sex Can I Test for Pregnancy?

Team Peanutabout 1 month ago4 min read

Whether you’re TTC or trying not to, the interlude between unprotected sex and a reliable pregnancy test can feel long. And in that gap, a whole host of questions might be firing.

How Soon After Unprotected Sex Can I Test for Pregnancy?

How soon after sex can I take a pregnancy test?
Can I detect pregnancy in 3 days? 4? 5?

Right. Let’s get into it.

In this article 📝

  • How long after sex can you take a pregnancy test?
  • Is 7 days after conception too early to test?
  • Can you feel pregnant after 2 days?

How long after sex can you take a pregnancy test?

First, a quick spin around how pregnancy tests work. Basically, they’re on the lookout for a hormone called hCG (the long version of that is human chorionic gonadotropin). Your body releases hCG shortly after implantation.

Implantation happens like this: an egg is fertilized by an awaiting sperm and together they form a zygote. That zygote makes its way to your uterine wall where it implants in the hope of growing into a fetus.

Home pregnancy tests are pretty accurate when the instructions are followed exactly. While not all pregnancy tests are created equal, most tests claim to be 99% accurate.

If you take a pregnancy test too early, there’s a chance that you could get a false negative because the hCG levels in your body haven’t had enough chance to build up.

There are also cases where you might get a false positive. If you were recently pregnant, or had an abortion or miscarriage, you may also get a false positive because there is still hCG in your system.

Testing very early can also pick up a chemical pregnancy, which is when the zygote is formed but does not implant.

Interestingly, before today’s sensitive pregnancy tests were invented, many women had miscarriages without even realizing they were pregnant. These early miscarriages can often be mistaken for a period.

Is 7 days after conception too early to test?

The short answer is yes.

While implantation may have happened (usually around five to six days after conception), your body may still need some time to get its hCG levels up. (Anything above 25 mIU/mL is considered positive.)

How long does it take for hCG to show up in urine?

If you are pregnant, hCG should show up very soon after implantation has taken place—about 10 days after unprotected sex.

Because conception happens somewhere around the time you are ovulating—ie. when an egg is released from your ovary—a helpful TTC marker is how many days past ovulation you are. If you’ve seen the acronym DPO, that’s what it stands for.

So if you’re wondering when is the best time to take a pregnancy test, a good time is about 14 DPO.

And if that feels really confusing and/or you have no idea when you ovulated, the easiest is to wait until after your next expected period.

If it doesn’t come, take a test. If you’re unsure of the result you get, take another one in a few days’ time.

Can you feel pregnant after 2 days?

While you may not be able to get a conclusive test for a bit, it’s not uncommon to start experiencing symptoms as soon as a few days after conception.

And if you’re not feeling anything, that doesn’t mean anything either way. It’s totally normal to not have any symptoms until much later in your pregnancy.

One of the more common early pregnancy symptoms is implantation bleeding—which often looks more like spotting than a full on period—and cramping.

But you may have to wait until at least five or six days after having sex before implantation takes place. Two days might be a little soon.

And if you’re looking for some help with surviving this time (AKA the infamous TWW or Two Week Wait), we’ve got you covered.

We know this time can be super stressful. We’re wishing you all the best.

💡 More from The 411:
Ovulation Tests: How They Work & When to Use Them
Negative Pregnancy Test But Feeling Pregnant? What’s Going On?
What is the Evaporation Line?
When is the Best Time to Take a Pregnancy Test?
Pregnancy Symptoms but Negative Test
Does a Salt Pregnancy Test Work?