When should I do a pregnancy test?

Picking up on a pregnancy early on has its advantages, whether it is a wanted pregnancy or not. Here are some tips on finding out about a pregnancy in your body as soon as possible.


When should I do a pregnancy test?

Here is the bottom line: if you are someone with a uterus who is sexually active, you should do a pregnancy test if you are having any symptoms that could be a pregnancy:

  • nausea, vomiting, unusually sensitive smell, low appetite, increased appetite

  • breast growth, pain or lactation

  • unusual or unexpected weight gain

  • bloating, pain in the belly, unusual sensations in the belly

  • unusual, unexpected or no bleeding even though your period is due


What if I’m already on birth control?

Birth control is a great way to decrease the chances of the pregnancy test having positive result, but it is not a guarantee that you can never get pregnant (as long as you have a uterus and ovaries, and are having sex, it can still happen). Different types of birth control methods offer different levels of protection from pregnancy (none of them offer 100% protection):

The CDC has a great summary of what's available to you.

Choose the method which corresponds best to how much you do not wish to get pregnant, or be confronted with having to decide how to manage a pregnancy (abortion, adoption, having a child).


What if my pregnancy test is POSITIVE?


A positive urine pregnancy test tells you that at some point in the past 4-6 weeks, you were pregnant or are pregnant right now.


A positive blood or ‘serum’ pregnancy test tells you that in the past 4-6 weeks you were pregnant or are currently pregnant. If there is a calculated amount of pregnancy hormone in the results, this can indicate if you are indeed pregnant right now, as well as how far along you might be. A trained healthcare provider should be consulted to interpret this number.


If you have a positive test, regardless of the method, you should see a healthcare provider to be assessed and determine:

  • if you are currently still pregnant?

  • how far along?

  • where the pregnancy is?


What if my pregnancy test is NEGATIVE?


A negative urine pregnancy test tells you that 10-14 days ago you were not pregnant.


A negative blood or ‘serum’ pregnancy test tells you that 3-4 days ago, you were not pregnant (most patients do NOT need this test but it can be ordered by healthcare personnel in specific situations where it may be useful).


If you continue to have your pregnancy symptoms (see above), repeat the test in 7 or more days to make sure an early pregnancy was not missed.


It is VERY unusual to have a falsely negative (or falsely positive) pregnancy test. These are good tests for almost all people. If you have doubts, see your healthcare provider.

What are my options if I am pregnant?

The options are very straight forward in most first-world, developed nations:

  • if you want to have a child, congratulations! See a healthcare provider to set you on a path to good antenatal care. Avoid toxins such as alcohol, smoking and drugs. Stick to mild to moderate exercise. Stay healthy.

  • if you do not want to have a child, you have the option of carrying the pregnancy to delivery and putting up the baby for adoption (this is an available, though rarer choice for patients) or you can access an abortion clinic.

  • abortion clinics should be available near you to provide support, but each has individual services available and each has a limit of gestation (weeks along in pregnancy, beyond which they cannot perform the abortion). It is important to get an ultrasound ASAP (many abortion clinics in Ontario have Ultrasound available in the office) so that you know how long you have to decide.

If you have any questions, the staff at Cabbagetown Women’s Clinic are here to help: