How Soon Is Too Early to Test for Pregnancy?

When you think you might be unexpectedly pregnant, it can feel like torment waiting to know for sure. You might have sore breasts, mild cramping, and other signs of early pregnancy that could also be premenstrual symptoms, and it causes you to waver back and forth, thinking you are pregnant and then thinking you are not. That can leave you feeling more confused and wondering how soon you can get the answers you need. You have seen ads for pregnancy tests that claim to detect pregnancy five days before your expected period. So, should you test that early? And how soon is too early to test for pregnancy? We will answer those questions here.

When Is It Too Early to Test for Pregnancy?

If you take a pregnancy test before you have missed your period, you increase your chances of getting a false negative result. This means the test will read negative when you actually are pregnant, so experts recommend waiting until you have already missed your period to prevent false-negative test results.

Why Wait?

As hard as it is, it is best to wait so that if you are pregnant, your body has enough time to produce human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), the hormone that a pregnancy test will detect in your urine. Your peace of mind in knowing your result is accurate is worth it!

How Do Pregnancy Tests Work?

After sex, an egg is fertilized with sperm (fertilization). The fertilized egg travels to the uterus and attaches into the uterine lining (implantation). Implantation occurs about 7-14 days after you have had sex, and it triggers your body to start producing the pregnancy hormone, hCG. Your hCG levels will double every 48-72 hours after implantation, and it is important to give those levels time to climb.

What About Early Pregnancy Tests?

Early pregnancy test manufacturers market to your desire to get answers as early as possible. It is not hard to see the advertising on the box and read the claims of 99% accuracy along with the ability to detect pregnancy six days before your missed period.

But let us take a closer look, so you do not test too early for pregnancy. The first thing to consider is that the percentage provided on the front of the package is only accurate when you take the test on the day of your expected period — and in a laboratory setting by professionals. The same goes for the the instructions printed inside the pregnancy test kit; the claims of accuracy are elevated because they do not reflect real-life testing in real-life situations.  The results from a University of New Mexico study reveal the chances you can anticipate getting the right answer from an early home pregnancy test:

  • One day past your expected period: 100% of pregnancies detected
  • On the day of your expected period: 96% of pregnancies detected
  • On the day before your expected period: 93% of pregnancies detected
  • Two days before your expected period: 81% of pregnancies detected
  • Three days before your expected period: 68% of pregnancies detected
  • Four days before your expected period: 42% of pregnancies detected
  • Five days before your expected period: 33% of pregnancies detected
  • Six days before your expected period: 25% of pregnancies detected

When Is the Best Time in Your Cycle to Test?

Although your body begins to produce hCG 7 to 10 days after fertilization, waiting provides the most accurate results. In order to give your body enough time for hCG to build up to a detectable level in your urine by a pregnancy test, it is best to take a pregnancy test about 14 days after fertilization. For a woman who has a 28-day cycle and ovulates 14 days after her last period, this would mean testing on the day you expect your next period if you suspect you are pregnant. For the most accurate results, take a pregnancy test a couple of days after your missed period.

If your test is negative and your period does not start, you still might be pregnant, but your hCG levels are just not high enough to register on the test. Most testing kit instructions recommend you wait one week to take another test; however, many women test a few days later. Contact a healthcare professional if you still have a negative pregnancy test or have further questions.

When Is the Best Time of Day to Take a Pregnancy Test?

The best time of day to take a pregnancy test is first thing in the morning because at that time your urine  contains the highest concentration of hCG. This is particularly important the earlier you are taking your pregnancy test. You can test later in the day, but you will have a higher chance of seeing a false-negative test result because your urine will be diluted. Tips for testing include:

  • Use first-morning urine (or after you haven’t urinated in at least four hours).
  • Don’t drink a lot of fluid that could dilute your hCG levels before your test.
  • Check to make sure the pregnancy test is not expired, which can provide inaccurate results. Checking the expiration date is particularly important if you keep pregnancy tests at home “just in case.”
  • It is understandable that once you have the pregnancy test in your hands, you want to get to the answers quickly. Plus, it seems like a no-brainer because they are designed to be easy to use. Take time to read all of the instructions and follow them precisely. Even if you have taken pregnancy tests before, little variances between them can be the difference between a result you can count on and a wrong one.
  • We all know how easy it is to lose track of time, so do not try to estimate when to read your results. Set a timer so you can read your test results exactly at the time directed in the instructions. Do not read the test window after that set time because a faint “evaporation line” can appear, which makes your test appear to be positive when it is really negative.

Hopefully, this information is helpful to understand the value of not testing too early for pregnancy, so you can have peace of mind knowing your results are accurate.

If you think you might be unexpectedly pregnant, Willow Womens Center is here for you. We offer medical-grade pregnancy testing at no cost to you. Our licensed healthcare professionals provide other no-cost services that empower you to make informed decisions that you are comfortable with. Make your appointment today by calling 608-312-2025 or use our online scheduler.


Understanding Pregnancy Ultrasounds

A pregnancy ultrasound is a test that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images your healthcare providers can view on a computer monitor to give them information about your pregnancy. You might be wondering why a pregnancy ultrasound is necessary if you have not yet made a decision about your unexpected pregnancy. Ultrasound is beneficial because the images provide your medical team with important data, and this knowledge can give you the facts you need to make an informed decision about your pregnancy.

Types of Pregnancy Ultrasounds

Pregnancy ultrasounds include transabdominal, transvaginal, Level 2, 3D, doppler, and fetal echocardiography ultrasounds.

After a positive pregnancy test, you will likely receive:

Transabdominal ultrasound

Gel is placed on your abdomen, and a roller-like device (transducer) is moved over the gel on your abdomen. The transducer picks up soundwaves that produce images onto a computer screen.

Transvaginal ultrasound

A special, smaller transducer probe is lubricated with gel and gently placed into your vagina to obtain images. Transvaginal ultrasound is used primarily in early pregnancy.

Ways a Pregnancy Ultrasound Is Useful

To Determine Pregnancy Viability

Even if you have already decided upon abortion, you will need to know if your pregnancy is viable. A positive pregnancy test result tells you that the hCG pregnancy hormone was detected in your urine. However, it does not mean you have a viable pregnancy.

According to the March of Dimes, as many as half of all pregnancies end in miscarriage: 80% of those occur in the first trimester — or the first twelve weeks. So, after a positive pregnancy test result, you will need to confirm your pregnancy is viable by ultrasound. A viable pregnancy is one that is expected to continue and result in childbirth (if no other steps are taken).

If no fetal heartbeat is detected, you would not need an abortion but would be referred for medical treatment instead.

The location of your pregnancy also impacts viability. If your healthcare provider detects a heartbeat by ultrasound, but the pregnancy is located outside of your uterus (i.e., in the fallopian tube), your pregnancy is also not viable. An ectopic pregnancy, a pregnancy implanted in the fallopian tube, is a medical emergency and requires immediate intervention.

The fetal heart rate also impacts the viability of your pregnancy. Research reveals that if an ultrasound detects a very low heart rate, called embryonic bradycardia, the rate of miscarriage is significantly higher. If embryonic bradycardia is identified during your ultrasound appointment, you will likely be asked to return in about a week to repeat the test.

To Determine How Far Along You Are in Your Pregnancy

An ultrasound can accurately measure how many weeks pregnant you are. You can’t count on using only menstrual dates for accuracy because many women experience period-like bleeding while they are pregnant.

If your pregnancy is unexpected, and you are still gathering information about how you will proceed, you will need to know how far along you are because your options will partly depend on that.

To Determine If You Have a Single Pregnancy or Multiple Pregnancy

An ultrasound can also give you a valuable indication that you might be carrying a single or multiple pregnancy.

Get the Answers You Deserve

If you have had a positive home pregnancy test or think you might be pregnant, contact our compassionate team at Willow Womens Center. We provide licensed professional medical care, including pregnancy testing and ultrasounds at no cost to you. Reach out today by calling 608-312-2025 or by using our online scheduler.


When Is an Ultrasound Most Beneficial?

You have just learned you are pregnant. You did not expect it, and you never thought you would be wrestling with such a big decision. Now what? Where do you start looking for resources and accurate, unbiased answers to your questions?

Willow Womens Center will help you find the answers to your questions. We will walk with you, one step at a time, amidst the tremendous stress of an unexpected pregnancy. One of those steps will be an ultrasound, provided by our licensed medical professionals at no cost.

What is an Ultrasound?

A pregnancy ultrasound is a safe medical test that creates images using sound waves. These images supply important facts to help you make informed decisions about an unexpected pregnancy.

Why an Ultrasound?

An ultrasound is an important follow-up after you have a positive pregnancy test because this test alone does not confirm a viable pregnancy. You can have a positive pregnancy test along with a nonviable pregnancy. A pregnancy test tells you that the hCG pregnancy hormone has been detected in your urine, but only an ultrasound will tell you if the pregnancy is viable or not. It is crucial for you to have this information before making a decision about an unexpected pregnancy.

An ultrasound also determines an accurate date of conception. That means you will know how far along you are in your pregnancy. If your pregnancy is unexpected, and you are considering abortion, this is critical information to have as you make an educated decision.

Ultrasound Timing

A pregnancy ultrasound should be performed no earlier than six weeks after the first day of your last period. This ensures that your pregnancy is far enough along to provide accurate and useful information.

Sometimes, even if you have a viable pregnancy, the ultrasound does not detect it. The most common reason for this is that it was too early to detect. When this happens, you can make an appointment in another week or two for a follow-up ultrasound.

There are several reasons why a viable pregnancy would not be detected on ultrasound:

  • The pregnancy is too early to detect
  • Conception occurred later in your menstrual cycle
  • Mistaken last missed period date
  • Larger abdomen
  • Tipped uterus

The last thing you need right now is to add to your stress by having to face more uncertainty and waiting after an inconclusive ultrasound. So, be sure to schedule your pregnancy ultrasound appointment at least six weeks or longer after the first day of your last period when the ultrasound is most beneficial.

Get Reliable Support

Call (608) 312-2025, and make an appointment with Willow Womens Center today. We understand that you can feel bombarded with information, facts and conflicting advice when you are facing an unexpected pregnancy. Our compassionate advocates and licensed medical professionals are available to answer your questions in a judgment-free environment. We are committed to empowering you, so you can feel good about making an informed decision.


The Importance of STI Screening Even If You Don’t Have Any Symptoms

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are something most of us don’t like to think about. But did you know that you could have an STI without feeling any symptoms? Knowledge is empowering. At Willow Womens Center, our licensed medical professionals provide unbiased information to help you make informed decisions about your health.

Stay Informed

Reported cases of STIs have increased each year since 2001. There are approximately 20 million new STI cases reported each year in the United States alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), even though 15-24-year-olds only make up 25% of the population that are sexually active, they account for approximately 66% of new infections each year. Many of these infections have symptoms that are hardly noticeable or even symptomless. Because of this, it is important to be tested even if you are not aware of any symptoms.

Why STI Screening?

Here are some reasons why the CDC recommends yearly STI screening for chlamydia and gonorrhea for any woman under 25 who is sexually active.

1. If you are sexually active, nothing is 100% effective against STIs.

  • You might be thinking, “But I am in a monogamous relationship.” You might be, but is your partner? The tough reality is that many people contract STIs thinking they were in mutually monogamous relationships.

  • Or, maybe you are thinking, “We use condoms every time.” It’s true that the correct use of condoms reduces the chances of getting an STI, but this is not failsafe.

2. The majority of STIs don’t have any noticeable symptoms.

It is hard to imagine that you can have an infection without symptoms, but that is exactly how hidden most STIs can be!

  • Chlamydia: Chlamydia is nicknamed the “silent” infection since most people don’t notice any symptoms. Untreated chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, scar tissue in fallopian tubes, infertility, and future ectopic pregnancies (a pregnancy in a blocked fallopian tube). The good news is that chlamydia is completely curable when it is diagnosed and treated with antibiotics.

  • Gonorrhea: Like chlamydia, most people infected with gonorrhea will not experience any symptoms. Untreated, it can put a person at higher risk of getting HIV and other life-threatening infections in addition to the same risks as untreated chlamydia. Gonorrhea is also curable with antibiotics.

3. There can be serious health risks if STIs are left untreated.

If an STI is left undiagnosed and untreated, it can lead to more people becoming infected, infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), chronic pain, and cancer.

It is very important for a woman’s health to be tested for STIs before an abortion. If a woman has an abortion with an untreated STI, it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), infertility, and pain. For this reason, we screen for chlamydia and gonorrhea when a woman is considering abortion.

No-Cost Services Available

You can make an appointment at Willow Womens Center for our no-cost services by giving us a call at 608-312-2025. We understand the important decisions you are facing. We walk with you every step of the way, so you feel empowered to make a confident decision for your health and your future.


Navigating Life After Miscarriage

In the aftermath of a miscarriage, you may encounter emotions you have never felt before and are not sure how to handle. There’s a long healing process ahead of you, and it is your right to take all the time you need going through every step and comprehending it all. Well-meaning people may try to scientifically explain what went wrong or what to do next, but what we most want you to understand is that a miscarriage and everything afterward is all normal.

Understanding the Realities of Miscarriage

During the healing process, it may be helpful to explore the causes and implications of a miscarriage and how it affects you and your body. Between 10 and 20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. You are not alone, you are not an anomaly, and there is nothing wrong with you. To help you understand why this happened, what your body is going through for recovery, and what this means for the future you can utilize medical resources, such as the services offered at your local healthcare clinic.

Take Time to Heal Yourself

Loss of pregnancy takes a major toll on a woman’s physical and mental wellbeing. It is imperative that you take all the time you need to recover. Allow yourself to go through the natural stages of grief and give your body the appropriate time it needs to heal. Remember, you shouldn’t expect a wildly dramatic change within just a single day. This is a slow process. Being mindful and recognizing negative thought patterns can prevent your heart and mind from making their homes there. Being sad is normal and it’s perfectly okay, but don’t let it overcome you.

Rely on the People Around You

It is easy to isolate yourself when you encounter the trauma and grief of a miscarriage, but right now is when you need to rely on the people who love you the most. Separating yourself from friends and family during this time inhibits your ability to heal and readjust through this process, and it puts you in a potentially dangerous spot. The people in your life love you and want to be there for you, they simply may not know how. Reach out to trusted friends or family members and lean on them for support.

Talk to Experts

Sometimes it may be painful or uncomfortable talking to friends and family about a miscarriage, or maybe you don’t have anyone close to you. You still do not have to carry this alone. Seek guidance from a professional who has extensive experience, so you’re not going through this process without a guiding hand. You can also reach out to support groups for women dealing with pregnancy loss, so you can walk through the grief process with someone who is dealing with a similar experience.

Your body and your mind go through so much after a miscarriage. It can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to do this all on your own. If you have any pregnancy-related questions, please don’t hesitate to give Willow Womens Center a call at (608) 312-2025. We are here to help you get the information you need.