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For most women, the best time to take a pregnancy test is a few days after your period would normally be due.
There are two kinds of pregnancy tests, a urine test and a blood test. All pregnancy tests measure the amount of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) – the pregnancy hormone – in your body, but the two types of tests differ in how (and when) they detect it.
All home pregnancy tests are urine tests. They detect the amount of hCG in your urine, but only when it reaches a certain level. If you use one of these tests too early in pregnancy, the amount of hCG in your urine may not be high enough for a positive result. While some tests advertise earlier results, most urine pregnancy tests will give you an accurate answer if you test a few days after your period would normally be due.
A test may be negative for several reasons: You may not be pregnant, you may have tested too early, you may have ovulated later than you thought (and not be far enough along for the test to detect your increased hCG level), or your pregnancy may have complications affecting the amount of the hormone in your body. If you get a negative result, try again in a few days if you still haven't gotten your period.
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The other kind of pregnancy test measures the amount of hCG in your bloodstream. Blood tests are more sensitive that urine tests, so they can measure much smaller amounts of the hormone. They can detect pregnancy earlier than urine tests, usually about six to eight days after ovulation. Blood tests are more expensive, must be ordered by a physician, and require you to give a blood sample.
A blood test is useful when it's critical to know about a pregnancy early on, say if you need an X-ray. Otherwise, it's best to wait until your period is late for a clear indication from a urine pregnancy test.