Three Reasons Why You Should Test Early When Trying to Conceive

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This whole trying to get pregnant thing is a rollercoaster of emotions. And nothing causes more drama than those little pee sticks. When’s the best time to start testing – early or late? 

This whole “to test or not to test” thing divides us into Team Test Early and Team Chill Out and Wait. The anti-testers say we early POAS (pee on a stick) addicts are just impatient and asking for disappointment. But hear me out, testing early has some real perks! So if you’re impatient, like me, keep reading so you’ll never feel guilty testing early ever again. 

Why You Should be Testing Early⁣⁣

1. Earlier Implantation = Healthier Pregnancy

Get this wild stat: embryos that implant late have an 80% higher early loss rate compared to those that snuggle in early!

Let me break that down – the uterus starts out with the welcome mat rolled out nice and wide in the first week to 10 days after ovulation. But over time, that receptivity begins to fade as the lining changes.

So embryos that don’t implant until, let’s say 12 days after ovulation are trying to nestle in when the uterus is past peak implantation time.

The risks to these late-bloomer embryos are much higher. One study found embryos that implant by 8-9 days after ovulation have just a 13% miscarriage rate. But embryos that don’t implant until 11+ days see a staggering 82% ending in early loss. That’s a massive difference!

The takeaway? An early positive pregnancy test suggests your embryo implanted during that prime window of uterine receptivity. And that means it likely has the highest chance of growing into a healthy, thriving pregnancy. Pretty cool, right?

Early Testing and Chances of Viable Pregnancy

2. Time to Emotionally Prepare 

Not testing and convincing yourself “this is it, I’m definitely pregnant this time!” for 2 whole weeks is just setting yourself up for disappointment. You start noticing every little symptom and your hopes fly sky high. Then Aunt Flo (“AF” for us cool kids) rudely crashes your pregnancy party like the uninvited guest she is!

It’s just the worst to have all that pent-up hope come crashing down. The emotional gut punch of seeing a negative test after 14 days of symptom spotting and daydreaming sucks so bad. I mean ugly cry, staying in bed for a week, guzzling wine kind of pain.

Instead, if you start testing at 8-10 days past ovulation you know that the first few negatives could either be due to two reasons:

–  Testing too early (the embryo hasn’t implanted yet or hormone levels are too low) 
– You’re really not pregnant. 

 As each day passes without that second line, you can slowly process that this cycle might not be the one.

It gives you more time to make peace with it just being bad timing or luck this round. That way if you do get your period, you’ve already come to terms with it being a possibility. Don’t get me wrong – you’ll still be sad and frustrated! But it won’t feel quite as soul-crushing as getting that sudden BFN after two weeks of hope.

So while testing early opens you up to more potential sadness along the way, it can be easier than getting all your hopes built up just to have them demolished in an instant. Give yourself time to process each cycle fully – the emotions are all valid! And I’m here with virtual hugs and chocolate anytime you need them 😊


3. Using it as a Diagnostic Tool

What if every cycle, you end up pregnant but every cycle, it also ends in an early loss? Yes, that’s an incredibly painful experience and I realize that some women would rather NOT know. But you know what may just be even worse? Going months/years without getting the proper medical care from your doctor who may be able to help you sustain a pregnancy. 

If you never test early, they’ll miss out on those clues. Without seeing positives turn negative, it’s unknown if you had an early miscarriage. But catching early positives that disappear gives way more useful information. It shows you that fertilization occurred but something prevented it from progressing.

Armed with this data, your doctor can investigate potential causes of the early losses. Maybe you have thyroid problems, blood clotting disorders, hormone issues, problems with the uterine lining, or something else preventing good implantation.

Your treatment plan could look way different if those chemical pregnancies go undocumented. 

Giving your doc insight into early losses allows them to get to the root cause and help up your odds of a healthy pregnancy going forward. For some of us, that alone makes it worth handling the emotional ups and downs of testing early.

You gotta make the right call for you. But equipping your doctor with the full picture better positions them to help you stay pregnant when the time comes. Knowledge is power!

In the end, it all comes down to what YOU want to do. But if you’re still with me, you might be wondering when you should actually start testing early. So let’s look at the timeline.


When Should I Start Testing?

Obviously, testing a few days after ovulation doesn’t make sense. It takes a while before the egg gets fertilized and makes it down the tubes to your uterus. So don’t test too early or you’ll get inaccurate results and drive yourself crazy! But when *can* you start peeing with purpose? Here’s the POAS timeline:  

  • 8 DPO: Very early, rare to get a positive but could happen for a small % of women if you’re using a super sensitive test.  
  • 9 DPO: Still very early but those with fast embryo implantation *may* get a faint positive if the test sensitivity is high enough.   
  • 10 DPO: Over 10% of later confirmed pregnancies first start seeing squinter faint lines around now. 
  • 11-12 DPO: More than 50% of pregnant women will get an accurate positive test reading by now if the embryo implanted on the target timeline.
  • 13-14 DPO: Almost all pregnant pee tests should reliably turn positive by this point.

I start my POAS testing addiction around 10 DPO usually. Curbs the early madness without too many stark white negatives causing depression. Close enough I might get clues but not so early it’ll always be blank.


Best Pregnancy Tests for Testing Early

There’s something you should know about me; I’m a cheapskate. Especially when it comes to testing early! But luckily, you don’t have to drain your bank account to satisfy those early pregnancy testing urges. The key is choosing the right tests. As not all pregnancy tests are created equal, ya know? You gotta be strategic with which stick you pee on.

I fully recommend the so-called “internet cheapies” or ICs. Some people refer to these as Wondfo’s, which is a specific brand, but it’s become a bit of a generic nickname for cheap test strips bought in bulk online. Ignore the no-frills packaging, these barebones test strips get the job done for less than 50 cents each. Definitely won’t break the bank for frequent testing! You can find my personal recommendations for high-sensitivity brands here.

While First Response Early Result (FRER) tests are kind of the gold standard, they get pretty pricey when you’re plowing through a 6-pack each cycle. So I suggest buying a small pack of FRERs to confirm a positive after you’ve gotten a faint line on the cheaper strips first. This way, you minimize spending but still have those classic plastic tests to surprise your partner with.


Worst Pregnancy Tests for Testing Early

No matter what, promise me you’ll steer clear of digital pregnancy tests when you’re testing early. Yes, I know how tempting those digitals are with their clear pregnant/not pregnant display. No squinting and guessing if your tired-ass eyes are playing tricks on you pre-coffee.

But hold your pee and walk away from those digitals if you’re still a week before your period. They seem all straightforward, but many digitals are straight up wimps about detecting super early pregnancy hormones. They twiddle their tiny processors waiting for more proof before finally coughing up a solid “Pregnant.” Meanwhile, our eagle eyes would’ve already spotted a faint second line on a classic format test.

It’s because digitals have to be REALLY sure you’ve got a bun baking before they’ll show that magic word. If it’s still early with low hormone levels, they don’t wanna risk a wrongful false positive celebration. But us TTC’ers know even a shadow of a line still means you’re pregnant.

So stick to good old classic line format tests for the early days. Once you get a nice and dark line, then go ahead and pee on a Clearblue with glee!

Something else to avoid: blue dye tests! I break down extensively why blue dye tests tend to totally suck here. But in essence, a light positive on a blue test often looks unfortunately similar to the notorious grayish shadow “evap lines.” Whereas even the slightest hint of a line on a pink dye test stands out bright and is clearly indicative of a positive result until confirmed otherwise. 

To be clear, blue dye tests can definitely confirm strong obvious positives later on without issue. But yes, for reliable early detection when lines are still very faint, pink dye tests are clearly best.

FYI: I’ve never seen blue dye used on any of the cheap test strips. It’s usually the more expensive plastic applicator tests where you have to look for a blue plus sign instead of the two pink lines. So any cheapie is still your best bet!

The main takeaway – you can feed the need to obsessively pee on sticks without draining your bank account dry. Stick to affordable pink dye strips for early detection, back up positives with a classic FRER, and steer clear of digitals and blue dye headaches. 

You do You

In the end though, you’ve got to do what feels right for you. For me, it’s always been testing early. That doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for you. So whether you start peeing on sticks like a crazy lady at 8 DPO or have the saintly patience to hold urine til 14 DPO…the trying to conceive waiting game SUCKS! So be really gentle and loving with yourself during this time!  

Stock up on salty snacks and guilty pleasure treats, binge your favorite TV show to distract your mind, turn to your besties to hash out all the feels. Sometimes you just gotta cry into that glass of wine then pick yourself up and try again next cycle.  You got this! 🙌

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