Ensure Accuracy When Taking a Pregnancy Test
When to Test
For the most reliable results, it's recommended that pregnancy tests be conducted in the morning when the urine is most concentrated. As the day goes on and more fluids are consumed, it may be more difficult to detect hCG levels—especially if you’re testing in advance of your missed period. Keep in mind that the closer you are to the date of your scheduled menstrual cycle, the more accurate the results. Some tests claim to detect hCG as early as five days before a missed period, but it may take waiting until the day of your missed period for your hCG levels to be measurable. If your urine is too diluted from a day's worth of beverages, there may not be enough hCG to yield a positive result.
While it's recommended that the test be conducted in the morning, it's possible to have an accurate result with a test performed at night. As long as the level of hCG is measurable, the test will be positive, regardless of the time of day. To avoid a false-negative result, be sure to follow the test instructions carefully. Some tests may require you to urinate in a cup and then insert the test, while others have you go right on the stick. Additionally, some tests take up to 10 minutes to yield results, so give it time to work. If you show a negative result but have reason to believe you may be pregnant, wait and test again the next morning.
If you’ve missed your period and are showing negative results or mixed results, consult your doctor for additional testing. Blood tests that assess the amount of hCG in your system are a surefire way to see if you’re pregnant; these tests can detect even very low levels of hCG. Undergoing an ultrasound of your uterus is yet another way to confirm you're pregnant beyond taking an at-home test. If you're pregnant, you’ll want to begin prenatal care as soon as possible, so the sooner you can confirm results the better.