Pink arrow
All Posts

Tips for Taking a Pregnancy Test Correctly


Periodically, a pregnancy test will yield a false positive, this means that the test shows positive when a person is not actually pregnant. When this happens, it is almost always as a result of user error. Maybe you were flustered or anxious when taking the test and read the result wrong, or maybe you took the test incorrectly. Regardless of the cause, the resulting inconclusive or incorrect test result is probably the last thing you want, especially if the potential pregnancy is unexpected.

Thankfully, there are some simple things you can do to ensure the accuracy of your at-home pregnancy test results and avoid any test-related confusion or anxiety.

Don’t Take A Pregnancy Test Too Soon

If you had unprotected sex or think you might be pregnant, it’s tempting to consider taking a pregnancy test before your missed period. Resist the temptation. HCG or Human chorionic gonadotropin is a hormone produced by cells that are surrounding a growing embryo, which eventually forms the placenta after implantation. The elevated presence of hCG is used to signal pregnancy. However, hCG takes time to build up in the body. So, even if implantation of an embryo occurred on a Monday, if you take a pregnancy test on Wednesday, it may still give a negative result.

Don’t take a test too early—wait until at least 10 days after a missed period to take a pregnancy test otherwise you might get an inaccurate result. If you think you might be pregnant and already missed your period, wait 3 days and take another test.

Take Your Pregnancy Test As Soon As You Wake Up

If there is hCG in your body, indicating a pregnancy, it will build up in your urine overnight and peak in the morning. Using a pregnancy test first thing in the morning will help you get an accurate result.  

Dip Test In A Cup

Most tests instruct you to hold the test under your urine stream, but this is messy and risks error, like not getting enough urine on the test strip. This method also increases the likelihood of the test falling into the toilet by accident.

Instead, collect your urine in a small, plastic cup and immerse the test strip in the urine for the amount of time indicated in the instructions.

Don’t Let The Test Sit For Too Long

There is a time limit involved in reading an at-home pregnancy test—if you read the test outside the window of time outlined in the instructions, you could end up with inaccurate results.

Most non-digital tests show lines to indicate the presence of hCG in the urine. One line will be a control line that shows up no matter what, and the second line typically indicates a pregnancy. If your test is negative, there is a chance you may still see a faint, colorless evaporation line that appears as the urine dries. If you're not familiar with evaporation lines, you might see this line and think you're pregnant.

Avoid letting the test sit too long, otherwise you may read an evaporation line and think you are pregnant.

Don’t Read The Results Too Early

Likewise, avoid reading your pregnancy test results too early. As your urine travels through the test indicator window, it might look like the results are showing, but the test needs time to completely work.

Follow the test’s instructions as closely as possible and avoid checking on the results too early. If needed, set a timer to let you know, according to the instructions, when the results are ready.

Don’t Take An Expired Test

Yes, you read that right—pregnancy tests can expire. If you take an expired test, the chemical used in the test may no longer accurately detect the presence of elevated hCG in your body. An expired test can present inaccurate results, so it’s worth buying a new test to confirm your pregnancy if you have an expired test.

Don’t Drink A Lot Of Water Before Taking The Test

Don’t drink too much water, or any liquid, before taking a pregnancy test. Excess fluids can impact the accuracy of the test results, so if your urine is diluted or pale yellow, hold off on taking a test. Diluted urine tends to also have diluted hCG levels which can skew the test results. Take a test when you naturally need to pee. This way, you'll avoid diluting your hCG level and getting a false 'Not Pregnant' result.

Don’t Solely Rely on Pregnancy Tests

Pregnancy tests are typically accurate at signaling a pregnancy. However, you shouldn’t rely on those results alone. An ultrasound will confirm the pregnancy and check the early health of the embryo to see if the pregnancy is viable—this assurance is important for women who are experiencing pain or bleeding during pregnancy and those who have had previous miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies.

Visit today to schedule a free pregnancy test or ultrasound to confirm your pregnancy. Our clinic staff is available to help you tackle these early days of pregnancy and give you the support, medical care, and the guidance you need.

Click the image below to book your pregnancy test or ultrasound today.
Written by:
Davina Adcock

Davina is a native of Grenada and a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin. She's a content specialist with a passion for empowering women to thrive and reach their full potential. In her free time, Davina is probably painting, reading, or baking something unnecessarily sweet.

Stay in the loop by subscribing to our blog!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.