How Long Should You Wait Before Taking A Pregnancy Test?

Dear Heather,

I had unprotected sex yesterday and I’m not on the Pill. I’m freaking out. How long should you wait before taking a pregnancy test? Can I do it now?


Okay, so, first of all, deep breath. I’m not going to lie – having unprotected sex isn’t great, and you shouldn’t feel 100 percent relaxed right now. But you also don’t need to have a complete panic attack (literally or figuratively) before you find out what’s going on. And, obviously, you can do that by taking a pregnancy test. So when should you take one?

For accurate results, most doctors recommend taking an at-home pregnancy test the first day of your missed period, which is typically about two weeks after conception. If you just had your period, this could mean about three or four long weeks of waiting, and that can get even more confusing if you don’t know what your cycle is, or if you’re irregular. I know that sounds like pure torture, but taking a test too quickly could give false results, which isn’t ideal either. Life would be a lot easier if our bodies could tell us we’re pregnant immediately, but unfortunately, taking a pregnancy test the day after unprotected sex is not going to really do anything productive.

The exception is if you start to notice symptoms of pregnancy – if that happens, you can take a test, even if you haven’t yet reached your period or if you got it. Common symptoms include nausea, breast soreness, exhaustion, light spotting, and mood swings, among other things. But keep a few things in mind! One, pregnancy symptoms won’t start to appear immediately after unprotected sex. I’ve read emails from girls saying they had unprotected sex and the next day felt nauseous and tired – that wouldn’t happen. Give it a few days or about two weeks. Two: pregnancy symptoms can often be confused with PMS, as they are very, very similar. Three: When you’re stressed or worried about something, you can end up making your period late. So, missing it doesn’t automatically mean you’re pregnant. And four: your mind has more power than you think. If you convince yourself you’re pregnant, you’ll feel symptoms. That’s why it’s important not to panic.

So, my advice? Wait a week or two before you do anything. Try to remember when you last had your period so that you can make note if it’s late. Take a pregnancy test after two weeks if you feel symptoms or miss your period. And even if you get your period and still feel freaked out, you can take one just in case. And lastly, if you do get a positive, see your gynecologist, because at-home tests can be wrong sometimes.

Good luck!

What’s on your mind? Heather can help! Send her your question at You can also reach our buddies at HelloFlo with questions about your body or health. Just ask Dr. Flo at HelloFlo!


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