When’s the Best Time to Take a Pregnancy Test?
Pregnancy tests are meant to give users accurate results, but some women worry they won’t achieve this if they do not know the best time to take a pregnancy test.
Does it really matter whether you take a pregnancy test in the morning or afternoon? Will you get accurate results if you take the test at night? These are some questions that this post will address.
Should You Use First Morning Urine to Test for Pregnancy?
It does matter whether you use first morning urine or take a pregnancy test at any other time of the day.
To increase your likelihood of getting an accurate result–or more precisely to increase your chances of getting a positive test result earlier–you should take the test in the morning.
Home pregnancy tests work by detecting the pregnancy hormone, human chorionic hormone (hCG), in urine. This hormone is produced in your body when a fertilized egg implants itself into the lining of the uterus.
Assuming you don’t wake up frequently in the night to urinate (or you drink liquids throughout the night), your first morning urine should have a higher concentration of hCG. With a higher concentration of hCG in first morning sample, your chances of getting a positive result are increased than with other samples collected during the day or evening.
What to Do If You Don’t Use First Morning Urine
You can still take a pregnancy test at any time of the day. However, you are more likely to get a false negative result, especially if you take the test before your expected day of menstruation. You are also more likely to get a false negative result if you drink too much liquids before taking the test.
If you fail to use first morning urine and wish to take the test in the afternoon, or even at night, it is advisable that you do not urinate for about four hours before taking the test.
If you urinate frequently, this will prevent a build-up in the amount of hCG in your urine and the concentration of the hormone in your urine sample will be low.
If the hCG levels in your urine are too low to be detected by a pregnancy test, you might have a negative result even though you may actually be pregnant.
Related: The Best Pregnancy Test to Buy
Should You Avoid Drinking Fluids Before Taking a Pregnancy Test?
The simple answer is “No.” If you can’t take first morning urine because you peed too much at night, you can drink liquids like you normally do on other days.
However, you may want to avoid taking beverages like tea or caffeine. These beverages have a diuretic effect that stimulates urination.
You don’t need to deprive yourself from drinking fluids just because you wish to take a pregnancy test. What you’ll need to do is avoid peeing for at least four hours before taking the test.
Factors that Impact the Accuracy or Early Detection of Pregnancy
After fertilization, the egg moves through the Fallopian tubes to the uterus for implantation. This whole process can take up to one week. hCG is produced by cells formed in the placenta, which nourishes the fertilized egg.
The implantation date (when the fertilized egg becomes attached to the wall of the uterus) is a major factor, because hCG will not be present in your body until the embryo implants in your uterus.
Rate of hCG Increase
After the fertilized egg becomes implanted in the uterine wall, your body will produce hCG, although at different rates among women. Generally, hCG levels increase very rapidly and double nearly every day in the first 8-10 weeks of pregnancy. So, detecting pregnancy first depends on how quickly implantation occurs.
Sensitivity of the Pregnancy Test
Contrary to quantitative blood tests, which can detect hCG levels as low as 1 mIU/mL, urine test strips can detect thresholds of 10–100 mIU/mL, depending on the brand.
Early result pregnancy tests like First Response Early Pregnancy Test can allow you to test sooner (even before your missed period). Many home pregnancy tests require that you wait until the day of your expected period to test.
Very few drugs can interfere with a pregnancy test kit. If you’re taking a prescription med or over-the-counter drug, you don’t need to worry that these may affect your pregnancy test results.
However, some drugs contain hCG and can cause a false positive pregnancy test. Note that one of the most popular drugs used in inducing ovulation, clomiphene (brand name, Clomid), does not contain hCG. So, you don’t have to worry about getting a false positive on a pregnancy test.
If you’re on fertility medications, you can ask your doctor whether the drug can interfere with an at-home pregnancy test.