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Why Am I Obsessed With Taking Pregnancy Tests?

Holly is a new mom who has been through the ups and downs of trying to conceive.

Reasons You're Obsessed With Taking Pregnancy Tests

You're trying to get pregnant and just feel so ready to see that positive.

You've been pregnant before and now each little twinge, pain and craving has you convinced you're pregnant again!

The thought of being pregnant is so terrifying that you want to know ASAP if you are so you can deal.

You crave those endorphins that come on when you see a positive pregnancy test.

You're already pregnant but in disbelief.

Everyone around you is having a baby and you're jealous, if we're being honest.

You need a new focus.

obsessed-with-taking-pregnancy-tests

When I was trying to conceive the first time around, I rarely took a pregnancy test because I just thought hey, when my period is late I'll know it's time to test. Maybe I wasn't as obsessed back then because I'd never before felt the rush of seeing that big, blazing "YES" staring back at me.

When I started on my second TTC journey I'd pee through half a paycheck's worth of pregnancy tests each month as if this would somehow bring on pregnancy quicker. It didn't, and I was having a lot less fun than that first time around when I was more carefree about the "when" of seeing a positive test. Why was I so obsessed?

As I learned from my time chatting with friends on the BabyCenter and WhatToExpect forums, Peeing On a Stick (or POAS) "addictions" aren't all that uncommon, even in women who aren't actively trying to get pregnant. The reasons are varied. Some women are actually trying not to get pregnant and are keeping a close eye on things to ensure they're not while most are just so eager to hold a lil babe that the only way to quell the ache is to take tests morning, noon and night.

Whatever your reasons for obsessing over pregnancy tests, if doing so is causing you a financial strain, making you lose sleep while you scroll the "tweakers" boards, emotional angst for every negative you toss in your bathroom drawer to analyze later, or interrupting your life (I found myself avoiding weekend drinks with my friends and not committing to events and plans I'd normally enjoy having convinced myself that I was going to get that BFP any minute) then your obsession is starting to take over!

How to Stop Taking Pregnancy Tests All of The Time

If you've come to realize that your need to POAS is becoming detrimental to your mental health, it's time to stop. In order to stop though, you need to identify why you do it in the first place. Here's some reasons you might be obsessed and what to do about them.

You're Trying to Get Pregnant and Just Feel So Ready to See That Positive

This is probably the most likely reason you're so obsessed with ripping open those FRERs and desperately analyzing for a second pink line. Waiting for a Big Fat Positive isn't easy and interpreting what you might think is a vague second line can make the wait even more agonizing. Is it a line? Is it real? I need to take another one to find out! Before you know it, you're running up to the drugstore to drop $50 on those little boxes all because of a crazy evaporation line.

Why It’s Not All That Healthy

While daydreaming about a baby bump isn't uncalled for, especially when you're actively trying to conceive, becoming fixated on getting a positive test can really stress you out. And though you've probably heard that stressing about getting pregnant actually makes it tougher to get pregnant, that's not necessarily true. But what is true, at least anecdotally, is that stress is mega unfun and can have a negative impact on your mental health and on your relationship, if you're TTC with a partner.

What To Do Instead

If you're taking pregnancy tests multiple times a week (and let's face it, when you're trying to get pregnant, you're taking them at least once a day) replace half the tests you planned to take with five minutes of guided meditation which can be found free on streaming apps like Spotify or YouTube. Skipping your evening pee-sesh for five minutes of zen isn't going to decrease your chance of getting pregnant and will help to put you in a better mindset for that next test.

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Each Little Twinge, Pain and Craving Has You Convinced You're Pregnant Again

After I'd had my first baby I was constantly paranoid I was pregnant again and every weird burp, stomach cramp and dizzy spell I experienced only reinforced that for me. Of course, it was never true and by the time I was actually pregnant with my second child there were few "symptoms" for me to even spot.

Why It’s Not All That Healthy

Being hyper aware of everything my body was doing made me extra anxious. I wasn't just noticing possible pregnancy symptoms - suddenly I was noticing possible stroke symptoms, cancer symptoms, immune disorder symptoms, heart attack symptoms - you get the picture. I spiraled into health anxiety and began to feel stress about dying on top of the stress of possibly being pregnant.

What To Do Instead

Keep a symptom journal. I know this seems counterproductive but keeping track of my symptoms and when they occurred in my cycle actually really helped calm me down and pinpoint which symptoms could be attributed to my period about to begin, lack of sleep and dehydration (hey, I was a new mom, after all). It also helped me recognize that the only true symptoms of early pregnancy is a missed period.

Being Pregnant is So Terrifying That You Want to Know ASAP

Another thing that caused me to so hypervigilant about taking tests after my first baby was born is that I was terrified of getting pregnant again too soon. Like me, if you don't actually want to be pregnant then you probably want to know right away if you are!

Why It’s Not All That Healthy

The truth about how early you can find out you're pregnant is this: not as early as you want. For most, it's at about 4 weeks, give or take a few days.

That's because a ton has to happen in your body first to even send out enough hormone for a pregnancy test to turn positive.

What To Do Instead

Since the goal here is to not be pregnant, you don't want to mess around. Buy a super reliable test, I like First Response Early Response Rapid best for a sure bet. These tests aren't the cheapest and they're meant to be taken after you miss your period but this is what I took with my first pregnancy and the test read positive within seconds. Not having to wait for a result cuts down on the anxiety.

"Cheapie" tests, blue dye tests, or early result tests are most open to interpretation and since that's the last thing you want right now, they're just a waste of money for your situation.

If your test is negative, it's time to start thinking about a more reliable form of contraception so you don't have to deal with this stress month after month.

You Crave Seeing a Positive Pregnancy Test

It's simple. When you've had a positive test before, you crave that rush of elation that comes with it.

Why It’s Not All That Healthy

Although it feels awesome to see a big fat positive, your odds are much higher that it's going to be a big fat negative. And when you see that, you'll feel the exact opposite of that giddy excitement you crave.

What To Do Instead

Ask yourself what other things bring you a rush of happiness that are not destructive, toxic or pricey. Here's some ideas to get you started:

  • Do jumping jacks to the beat of your favorite pop hit. The cardio-induced endorphins will cheer you up.
  • "Shop" your local library's catalog. You'll be able to reserve the latest bestsellers and you won't spend a dime doing it.
  • Head to a garden nursery and spend your test money on a new plant baby.
  • Send some happy mail to a friend. Doing something nice for someone else will take your mind off those baby blues and remind you of the other good things going for you.
  • Donate $12 (the average cost of a twin pack of pregnancy tests) to a cause you believe in.

Is a Pink Dye or Blue Dye Test More Accurate?

You're Already Pregnant But in Disbelief

Truth be told, by the time I got my BFPs, I couldn't afford to keep loading up on tests but bless my dear sister-in-law, she took pregnancy tests right through her first trimester.

Why It’s Not All That Healthy

Taking pregnancy tests continually after confirming you're pregnant can backfire through something called The Hook Affect. This is when your body has so much pregnancy hormone in it that your tests start to come back with a faint test line or no test line at all. The further along you are in your pregnancy, the more likely this is to happen (and yes, it happened to my sister-in-law).

What To Do Instead

If you're in disbelief and want to truly confirm your pregnancy, request a blood test from your doctor's office. They'll draw a small amount of blood to measure your HCG levels soon after you get a positive home pregnancy test, then they'll have you come back a few days later to test again. If your HCG levels are multiplying at the expected rate, this will confirm that yes, indeed, you're for reals pregnant!

Everyone is Having a Baby and You're Jealous

Ouch. This one is the worst. I know, because I've been there. Maybe you don't consciously want a baby but you feel like everyone around you is suddenly posting ultrasound pictures to Instagram and you're feeling left behind.

Why It’s Not All That Healthy

Jealousy is a powerful force, but it takes away from the joy of what you already have or what you truly want. If you don't feel the urge to have a baby for any reason other than everyone else is having one, you're selling your hopes and dreams short.

What To Do Instead

Make a list of three things you want more than a baby. Work towards those goals and when you've attained them, reassess if you're still jealous that everyone else is having a baby.

You Need a New Focus

I'm embarrassed to admit how much money I spent on pregnancy tests after our second baby was born. Did I mention that our second baby was our last baby or that my husband had had a vasectomy afterward? Yeah, despite those facts, I continued to buy pregnancy tests. Call it habit or call it boredom, but the real problem here is that I was having an identity crisis.

Why It’s Not All That Healthy

If you feel satisfied with the size of your family but continue to think "Well, maybe..." then you have to ask yourself if you're using the possibility of another pregnancy to stave off thinking forward to what's next for you outside of being a baby making machine.

What To Do Instead

Daydream! Research! Explore! What's next? Only you really know but one thing's for sure - it's going to be a heck of a lot harder to chase with a baby in your arms.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Holly Howard