From when to take a pregnancy test to how to take a pregnancy test, it can all feel a little overwhelming and confusing. While at-home tests are over 99% accurate and easy to read, they can still be a confusing experience that you don’t want to mess up. Here are the tips and tricks we’ve gotten from gynecologists about pregnancy testing.
1. While the test is accurate three days before your period is due, you should still wait a couple days to take it.
When should you take a pregnancy test? While it’s tempting to know as early as possible, levels of hCG (the pregnancy hormone) double every few days and your results will be more accurate the longer you wait. Chemical pregnancies are common among women and can cause misleading results. To avoid this, you should wait until after your period is due and then test again a few days later. If you have irregular periods, here’s further info on when to take a pregnancy test.2. Take the test first thing in the morning before you drink any fluids.
Coffee’s going to have to wait a second! Levels of hCG will be strongest with first morning urine -- more concentrated urine guarantees a more accurate test. Your test will still be valid if it’s the afternoon or you’ve already had water, but first morning urine will result in a stronger results line. The stronger the line, the more accurate the results.3. Wait a few days after your first test to take your second.
If you take away anything from this post, it should be that testing too early can be misleading. The longer you wait, the more accurate the results. To avoid false negatives or faint results lines, always hang onto that second test to take a few days later.4. If you’re trying to conceive, it might take some time and that’s normal.
On average, it takes six months to conceive. Don’t let false tests bring you down too much. If you’ve been trying for six months, you can schedule a doctor’s appointment to discuss your options. Until then, start by tracking ovulation (we recommend period tracking apps, like Flo). Remember to have fun -- it’s sex, after all!5. Carefully follow the instructions.
This one might sound obvious, but we can’t stress the importance! There are details that go into taking the test, like the amount of time you should pee on the test, the number of minutes to wait for results, and how to read the results. It’s a simple process, yes, but carefully following instructions will remove any user error.6. Remember to breathe.
No matter what result you’re hoping for, waiting for your results to show up can be stressful. Have an action plan for next steps for both scenarios beforehand. Being prepared by having a doctor you trust and a friend or partner to talk through options with can provide peace of mind in itself.
Have other questions about pregnancy testing? Check out our FAQ for other helpful tips.