When Are Pregnancy Tests Most Accurate? Patience Is Your Friend

Ad failed to load

Waiting on the results of a pregnancy test is about as stressful as it gets, no matter what result you're hoping to see. And even though most pregnancy tests claim to be 99 percent accurate, you and your partner want to be 100 percent sure that you're getting the right results. Which is why before you get ready to pee on that stick, you may be asking yourself, when are pregnancy tests most accurate?

Most home pregnancy tests on the market claim to provide accurate results as early as the first day of a missed period, with some even claiming to be able to give you an answer before your period fails to show. But it may be in your best interest to wait just a little longer, as hard as this may be. Waiting at least one week after your missed period may give you the most accurate result, per WebMD. In addition, performing the test first thing in the morning when urine is more concentrated can also increase the chances that the test will give you the most accurate result. During this time when your anxiety levels are through the roof, you're depending on your pregnancy test to give you some steadfast answers — well, one very important one, at least — and some peace of mind, so you want to optimize your test taking session as much as you can.

So how do these store-bought pregnancy tests even work? Home pregnancy tests work by detecting the presence of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in a woman's urine, explains Planned Parenthood. HCG enters the bloodstream and urine when the fertilized egg attaches itself to the wall of a woman's uterus. If you are not pregnant, your body will not produce this hormone and your pregnancy test will show up negative.

Ad failed to load

As Parents mentioned, once the egg has attached to the uterine lining and the placenta forms, a woman's hCG level doubles every 48 to 72 hours. As every step with pregnancy, this also can take a little more time than you wish. This explains why waiting a few days after a missed period will increase the chances that the pregnancy test will detect hCG in the woman's urine and give her results she can rely on. Plus it's not like these tests from the drug store are free so you don't want to be peeing on a stick prematurely, and potentially getting your heart broken only to be taken on an emotional rollercoaster ride a few days later.


But while waiting a few days to take a pregnancy can help produce accurate results, you don't want to wait too long to find out. Once you receive a positive pregnancy test result, it's important to visit your doctor to confirm your home test results and discuss your options for prenatal care. This important step can help ensure you and your baby remain healthy throughout your pregnancy.

Ad failed to load

In addition to following the package instructions, it is also important to check the test itself to make sure that it hasn't expired. As Parents mentioned, using an expired pregnancy test can produce unreliable results.

Your grandparents may have relied on dreams of fish to determine whether or not they were expecting a new addition, today's women can find tests that will produce the same reliable, accurate results as a doctor's test at their local drug store. Knowing that these days we have the opportunity to get almost any information we want immediately, this might be one instance when it's in your favor to practice a little bit of patience. No matter how desperately you want to see that plus or minus sign, waiting at least one week after your missed period before taking a home pregnancy test can help give you results you can trust. Afterwards, it doesn't hurt to visit your healthcare provider to confirm your findings.

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Ad failed to load

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Umm, Toys "R" Us Has A BOGO 50 Percent Off Deal So You Better Stock Up

After the holidays, you were probably hoping that your kid's massive toy collection would keep him entertained for a little while, at least. But that was wishful thinking, wasn't it? Because now that a couple of months have passed, all those must-hav…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

This Woman Thought She Had An Eyelash Stuck In Her Eye. Then It Moved.

I'm not a person who is easily icked out. As a kid, I collected bugs and thought I was going to be an entomologist and asked Santa Claus for ant farms and nets to catch bees. I'm still super curious about anything that flies and crawls, which might s…
By Karen Fratti

A Hot Mess Mom's Guide To Surviving Winter

As I sit here at my home office in Connecticut, it's cold. Damn cold. Winter is a rough season in New England and it's even worse when you're a parent and have to manage cooped up, restless children. It's even worse when you're a hot mess as it is, u…
By Jamie Kenney

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

11 Ways Your Pregnancy Will Be Different If You Have A Boy Vs A Girl

If you've been pregnant before, you might start comparing your previous pregnancies to that of your current pregnancy. A lot of things can change from pregnancy to pregnancy, based on a whole host of different factors (including how well you remember…
By Lauren Schumacker

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

8 Reasons I Let My Toddler Play Outside Unsupervised

I'm not a helicopter mom, but I'm not exactly a free-range parent either. I like to think of myself as safely ensconced somewhere in the middle. I insist on certain safety measures, like car seats and helmets. I prefer to keep my 2-year-old in my sig…
By Kimmie Fink

12 Moms Share How They Stay Healthy During Flu Season

Unfortunately, we're in the middle of the roughest flu seasons in recent memory. And we’re not totally out of the woods, either. People around the country are still getting the flu, and, sadly, some of them are having to be hospitalized due to flu-re…
By Priscilla Blossom

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack