Whether you're trying to conceive or trying to prevent a pregnancy, it's super stressful to be staring down a pregnancy test in your bathroom. You've probably been fretting over the results of this test for a while, and since you know that stress affects many things in your body, including high blood pressure, sleep problems, weight gain, and anxiety, it makes sense to wonder if your hormones are also affected. So can stress cause your pregnancy test to be positive, or are your results accurate no matter how stressed out you are?
As most women who are TTC know, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a pregnancy hormone that home pregnancy tests pick up in your urine. And when the levels of that hormone are high enough, you will have a positive pregnancy test. But unlike certain other hormones and levels, stress doesn’t seem to affect hCG.
Dr. G. Thomas Ruiz, an OB-GYN at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California, says in an email interview with Romper, “To my knowledge, there is no data that suggests a home pregnancy test could or would be affected by stress. While high levels of stress may increase the body's corticosteroid levels, hCG is a hormone with a unique chemical structure, and therefore should not be affected by stress.”
Dr. Sarah Yamaguchi, an OB-GYN at Good Samaritan Hospital agrees. She does say, however, “you being anxious and stressed about your results can make you not read your results correctly because you do not wait long enough to read them.” And that’s the only way stress can affect a pregnancy test.
So while it’s important not to stress for many, many other reasons, it won’t affect the results of your pregnancy test — only if the stress causes you to take the test way too early and the results aren’t accurate. If you’ve been stressed about trying to conceive or stressed that you might be pregnant, you should be able to trust your test results. If you do get a positive test result, call your doctor for an appointment.