How Many Pregnancy Tests Do You Need to Take?

Taking a home pregnancy test can be a minefield of anxiety; no matter what result you're hoping to get, you want to know for sure if you're pregnant or not. You don't need to take six pregnancy tests to get answers. We asked the experts to break down exactly when to take a pregnancy test, how accurate they are, and exactly how the dang things work.

In a word: very. "Most home pregnancy tests work 99 out of 100 times if used after a missed period," says Raegan McDonald-Mosley, M.D., chief medical officer at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. That doesn't mean false negatives aren't possible. If you take the test too early (aka before a missed period), you might get a negative even if you are pregnant. (More on that in a minute.)

The tests detect human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone that a fertilized egg releases when it attaches to the uterus, explains Alexandra Sowa, M.D., an internist and clinical instructor of medicine at Weill-Cornell Medical College. That's what can, on those rare occasions, lead to a negative test result even if you are pregnant—it's too early for the trace levels of the hormone to be picked up by the test.

If you get a negative result and want to be extra sure, take a second test. Just be sure to wait a few days—taking a second test in the same sitting won't give you a different result.

As great as it would be know know if you're pregnant immediately after you have sex, pregnancy tests don't work like that. For the most accurate results, take the test after you've missed a period. Jennifer Wider, M.D., recommends waiting a week after your missed period; she also says it's best to take the test in the morning, when urine is most concentrated. If you don't want to wait that long, a blood test at your doctor's office can provide results sooner than a urine test.

Depending on when you're taking it, there might be some benefit to taking one test, and then a second one (again, a few days later). But cleaning out the entire drugstore shelf to be extra sure? Yeah, no. Stick with two or go see your doctor to put any uncertainty at ease.

Published at Thu, 07 Feb 2019 19:00:00 +0000