When should I take a pregnancy test?

The best time to take a home pregnancy test is in the morning, using your first urine of the day.

This urine is less diluted so the HCG levels (if there are any) will be more concentrated.

If you have to take a test during the day, try to limit your intake of liquids for a few hours beforehand to minimize the possibility that your urine will be diluted.

Choosing the Best Test for You

There are a few factors to consider when choosing a home pregnancy test:

  • Some tests are very sensitive and will detect even very low levels of HCG (12.5 mIU) in your urine. If you want to know as soon as possible, these tests are the best choice for you.
  • If you have recently had a miscarriage or recently given birth, you may be prone to false positives. In this case, the best pregnancy test would be one that will only detect a high level of HCG (100 mIU).
  • If you’re worried about having trouble reading the test, there are home pregnancy tests available that have digital readouts that simply say "pregnant" or "not pregnant". These tests check for 50 mIU of HCG or higher.

How Common is False Positive?

Home pregnancy tests are about 97% accurate when the results are read on time and all of the instructions are followed correctly. A false positive could be the result of:

  • Chemical Interference:
    Some drugs contain the pregnancy hormone Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG). If you are taking one of these it can result in a false positive pregnancy test. If you are having infertility treatments and have had a shot of HCG, you should not take a pregnancy test until you are sure the shot is out of your system.
  • Chemical Pregnancy:
    Unfortunately, a chemical pregnancy is the result of an early miscarriage. Because many pregnancy tests are highly sensitive, they can sometimes detect these pregnancies even though they’ve already ended. When this occurs, the woman will get her period as normal. It is estimated that half of all first pregnancies end in miscarriage.
  • Evaporation Lines:
    Not technically a false reading, but a result of user error. A common mistake that women make when reading home pregnancy tests is waiting too long. This could result in a line appearing that could be read as a positive result, but is actually an evaporation line created as the urine on the test dries.

If you’ve taken a home pregnancy test and you have doubts about its accuracy, you should see a doctor for a pregnancy blood test. These tests are more sensitive and can give you an accurate reading just one week to 12 days after conception.

See what other women are saying about pregnancy testing in our pregnancy forum.

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