Pregnancy Testing

Q. Are home pregnancy tests accurate?

A. Yes. Home pregnancy tests are said to be about 97-99 percent accurate when used on or after the first day of your expected period. However, prior to this date, the accuracy of the test is unknown. The hormone hCG, which is measured by pregnancy tests, may not be high enough to be detected prior to this date. Be sure to use the tests as directed, since this can alter the result if not used correctly! Always re-test yourself after a few days to be sure.


Q. How soon can I check a pregnancy test?

A. Pregnancy tests are suggested for use only from the first day of your expected (missed) period. A pregnancy test is normally only accurate 3-4 weeks after conception (normally at least 19 days after unprotected sex), when the hormone hCG levels can be detected (which pregnancy tests measure). The longer you wait, the more accurate the results. This is one reason for re-taking the test after a few days if you are unsure.


Q. What if I take the home pregnancy test twice and get two different results?

A. If one of the tests says you are pregnant, you are likely pregnant. It is more-likely to get a false-negative than a false-positive result. However, see your physicians for further testing.


Q. Can I get a false-positive result from my home pregnancy test?

A. Not likely. Home pregnancy tests are said to be about 97-99 percent accurate when used on or after the first day of your expected period. Even then, it is far more-likely to get a false-negative than a false-positive result.


Q. What’s the difference between a home pregnancy test and a pregnancy test given by a doctor?

A. Doctors use either a urine tests similar to a home pregnancy test, or a blood test. If testing blood, they are also looking at the same hormone (hCG) as the urine tests. The difference with a blood test is that it can precisely measure the amount of hCG, which tells them not only if you are pregnant, but also how far along you are in your pregnancy.


Q. My home pregnancy test was negative, but I am still having symptoms.

A. Your hCG hormone levels may not have been high enough when you took the test, so try re-testing yourself after a few days. Or, see your doctor. If the tests keep showing negative, then your symptoms may be caused by another medical issue.


Q. My pregnancy test is negative. Am I definitely not pregnant?

A. When used as directed, pregnancy tests are 97-99 percent accurate. However, it is only accurate on or after the first day of your expected (missed) period. To be sure, re-test yourself in 3 days and be sure to follow the directions of the test closely.

  • Also, warning: do not drink an abundance of liquid prior to testing, as this may “water down” the urine, so only test when urinating as normal. Early-morning urine is said to be best for testing.
  • If you are still not convinced, see your doctor.


Q. What are my pregnancy chances with a negative pregnancy test?

A. If the test was done on or after the date of your expected (missed) period, the test is normally said to be 97-99 percent accurate. This assumes you followed directions carefully (tested after missed period), and didn’t drink a lot of liquid prior to the test.


Q. Why are some women’s pregnancy tests positive earlier than others?

A. The level of the hormone hCG (which is measured by pregnancy tests) may vary from person to person and from situation to situation. However, by the time of your first missed period the levels should be sufficiently high in most women.


Q. Can birth control pills interfere with pregnancy test results?

A. No. However, if you are taking birth control you may not know exactly when to expect your period (and thus, might be unsure about when to do the test). For reliable testing, use the pregnancy test at least 19 days after having unprotected sex. Then, re-test again after a few days to be sure.


Q. How do I use a home pregnancy test for the best results?

A. Home pregnancy tests should be used only on or after the first day of your expected (missed) period. Follow the directions provided precisely. Warning: drinking an abundance of liquor prior to using the test may “water down” the urine, so only test when urinating as normal; early morning urine is said to be best for testing (as is it most concentrated).


Q. Can fertility treatments interfere with pregnancy test results?

A. Yes. In this case, your doctor can likely conduct better testing.


Q. I missed my period but the pregnancy test is negative. What does that mean?

A. Missed periods can mean different things to different women. If your period is variable this may be normal. The first couple years a woman has periods (in her early teens) variable periods are quite normal. However, missed periods can have many different causes, besides pregnancy. These include: large changes in weight, stress, illness, medications (e.g., birth control), changes in schedule, heavy exercise, illegal substances, breast feeding, and other medical conditions, etc.


This information is not meant as a substitute for professional medical advice.


This video demonstrates how to take a pregnancy test.

Need more information? Check out the next section, which discusses bleeding and menstruation.


Have a comment or a question? Leave a reply below

  • Ive had 2 postive home test results i went to the doctor yesturday they said there test was negative if i was i would only be 3 weeks i havent missed my period yet sun im due as i suffered a still birth in october i am very worried and just want to know if i am or not

    • Hi Leanne,

      I am so sorry to hear what you’ve been through! I can certainly understand your apprehension and unease. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for the waiting time, and it takes time to know for sure when you are pregnant – no test will tell you until about the time of your first missed period.

      Home tests are normally accurate, but if the doctor’s test is negative, then I would rely on that for more certainty. However, if you are concerned then you can keep testing over time – as the more time goes by, the more accurate the test should be. Go back to the doctor again if your test keeps showing positive, and ask the doctor for an explanation if there’s a difference between what you are seeing and what they are telling you!

      Best wishes for you.

  • I test pregnant test in 3weeks time it was negative so the doctor tell me is early I must come back if I missed my period that time was monday so at friday I saw my period am its is possible to be pregnant?

  • I had unprotected sex with my boyfriend but he ddnt ejaculate inside me and I just had two positive test how its possible that am pregnant?

Leave a Reply