Are pre-pregnancy test jitters common?
When you’re actively trying to get pregnant, few things are more agonizing for mommy wannabees than waiting to find out if this month will finally be the month.
Technically, a woman’s egg can begin a successful journey toward baby-dom anytime between a few hours after fertilization and up to five days later. However, it may take a couple of weeks before the pregnancy hormone HCG – which most home pregnancy tests measure – becomes detectable.
“Taking a home pregnancy test is the fastest way to confirm you’re in the early stage of pregnancy,” says Beth Helme-Smith, a certified nurse midwife at Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest, Ill. “But taking the test too soon could produce a false positive result. To get the most reliable results from a home pregnancy test, you should wait until at least a week after your first missed period.”
So, depending on your ovulation cycle and a variety of additional factors, you could have to wait 2-3 weeks for an accurate test result. You may also have to deal with the stress and emotional ups and downs that come with not knowing.
“Many women feel like they’re riding an emotional roller coaster during the waiting period before they’re able to confirm pregnancy,” Helme-Smith says, adding that it’s possible to experience emotions ranging from happy anticipation, to anxiety about the future, to fears of disappointment – all at the same time. In fact, Helme-Smith says it’s common to cycle through the following stages while waiting for the right time to pee on a stick:
- Fingers crossed: Healthy doses of hope and positive thinking fuel this stage. You acknowledge there’s nothing you can do now but wait patiently and find peace in knowing whatever is meant to be will be.
- I’ve got a feeling: When an overwhelming feeling of surety pushes hopeful thinking aside, you’ve arrived at this stage. Even though some early pregnancy signs are similar to symptoms of menstruation, your gut instinct screams (rightly or wrongly) that any and every small change in your body, mood and general feeling of well-being mean a baby is definitely on board.
- Wait! The feeling’s gone: How could you have been so confident about being pregnant when it is too early to take a test and you aren’t experiencing symptoms? Welcome to Stage 3.
- What does Google say? It’s too early to take a pregnancy test, but that doesn’t mean you can’t hit the internet to learn everything there is to know about babies…or the early symptoms of pregnancy…or everything there is to know about conception before pregnancy test time.
Helme-Smith says the best thing to do during the waiting period is think positive, stay busy and focus on getting healthy. And, if you haven’t seen a nurse midwife or obstetrician within the past year, the waiting period is also a good time to make an appointment.
“If it turns out that you are expecting, your health provider will be able to confirm the result with a blood test and start prenatal care immediately. Otherwise, if you’ve had multiple disappointing pregnancy test results, your health provider may be able to help,” Helme-Smith adds.
About the Author
Cassie Richardson, health enews contributor, is regional coordinator on Advocate Aurora Health's Public Affairs team. She has more than 10 years of experience in health care communications, marketing, media and public relations. Cassie is a fan of musical theater and movies. When she’s not spreading the word about health and wellness advancements, she enjoys writing fiction.