I stressed over each and every pregnancy test I took, and there were many. For well over a year, my husband and I were trying to conceive. I researched everything from when to check for ovulation to "is a pregnancy test accurate at night" because I needed to know. The results weren't as black and white as I'd hoped.
Pregnancy tests work by detecting human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in the urine, according to the Cleveland Clinic. This is the hormone that is responsible for the development of the placenta, and is absolutely unique to pregnancy. Different tests are sensitive to varying levels of the hormone, too, Craig Medical noted. Some are more "princess and the pea" level of sensitivity, and others are "3-year-old kid pointing out your cellulite." However, once you've missed your period, they all pretty much work the same. It doesn't matter whether you buy the fancy test that pretty much holds your hand and cheers you on while you pee, or if you buy a box of bulk tests that reads "find your own cup to pee in, we're not providing one." But does it matter what time of day you take the test? Is a pregnancy test accurate at night, or do you really need that first-morning urine?
I'll admit, I wake up obscenely early. I'm typically up at 5 a.m. ready and raring to go. OK, that's a lie. I wait for my husband to bring me coffee before I can even be considered human. So, the idea of taking a urinalysis at that time seems pretty impossible, if only just considering my ability to aim and hit a stick or pee in a cup. Ideally, I'd take the test when I'm my most awake, which is of course right before I take my Ambien. Would that skew the results?
The Cleveland Clinic suggested it might. Because the test deals with the concentration of a hormone in urine, it's best to take it first thing in the morning when your urine is its most concentrated. However, because these levels double every 72 hours or so, Craig Medical noted, if you take the test after your period has been absent a spell, it probably won't matter whether you take it in the morning or at night. But, if you're like me, and you wait only 24 hours to the minute after you miss your period, you will want to take it first thing when you wake up. Don't forget, regardless of when you see those positive results, call your OB-GYN as soon as you get those two little lines.