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Are Home Pregnancy Tests Accurate?

Susana has worked extensively with pregnant women and families. She runs a pregnancy website and a pregnancy support group on Facebook.


Common Mistakes Women Make With Pregnancy Tests

Yes, home pregnancy tests are accurate indicators of pregnancy, but you need to ensure you're taking the test properly.

There are three main mistakes women make when doing pregnancy tests at home. By far the most common mistake is testing too early. You may be extremely excited or anxious to find out if you are pregnant as early as possible, but the chances of getting a false negative are substantially increased by taking a pregnancy test before your period is due.

As mentioned previously, it takes 14 days minimum after conception for there to be enough hCG in your urine to test for. So for women that have a 28-day cycle and who ovulate on day 13 or 14, the very earliest that a test can be taken is the day that your period is due. If you can handle it, waiting a week longer is better for an accurate result, because even if you did ovulate at the expected time, fertilization can take a few more days to occur.

The other common mistakes women make when taking pregnancy tests are forgetting to test the very first urination of the day and trying to pee directly onto the stick.

The first urination of the day will have the highest concentrations of hCG in it in comparison to later on in the day, so if you are testing as early as you can, you really need to ensure that it's that first pee you're testing. While many pregnancy test manufacturers do say in their instructions to place the stick or strip under the flow of urine, it's actually a lot easier and cleaner to use a sterile cup. You're also more likely to get an accurate result using this method.

So the three main mistakes that a woman can make with taking a pregnancy test are:

  1. Testing too early
  2. Not testing the first urination of the day
  3. Peeing directly onto the stick

How to Get an Accurate Pregnancy Test Result

Ok, so we've talked about ensuring that you test your first pee of the day, on or after, the date that your period is due. It can be hard to remember to test your first pee when we wake up bursting to relieve ourselves, so my advice is to prepare the night before you plan to take your pregnancy test.

  1. Choose a suitable vessel to catch your pee in such as a cup, jar, or glass and give it a thorough wash in hot water and detergent. Ensure you rinse it well to remove any residue from the detergent.
  2. Now sterilize your cup by either by putting it in the microwave with a little water inside and putting on full power for 2 minutes, or boil it in a saucepan for a few minutes.
  3. Pour any water away and place it in a clean freezer bag. Tie it up and put it on your window ledge or shelf in your toilet. Now when you wake up in the morning your cup is ready to go.
  4. Pee in your cup, glass, or jar and place the pregnancy test strip right side down inside the vessel. Leave it for 10-15 minutes. You may see positive result a lot quicker than 10 minutes, but if you're in the very early stages of pregnancy leaving the strip in the jar will ensure that the pregnancy test has ample opportunity to detect any hCG in your urine.

Are Cheaper Pregnancy Tests as Accurate as Expensive Ones?

The simple answer is a resounding "Yes!" No matter what marketing spiel you've seen or heard, both cheap and expensive pregnancy tests are accurate - so why pay more?

The prices that some manufacturers of pregnancy tests charge is, in my opinion, completely outrageous. Some are charging over $25 for digital pregnancy tests which do exactly the same thing as cheap home pregnancy tests do, which is to test for the hormone hCG** in your urine.

Digital pregnancy tests may provide you with the words "pregnant" or "not pregnant" on the display, but the cheaper home pregnancy test strips have an equally good method of telling you if you are pregnant or not, usually by displaying a pink line. It really isn't rocket science. If you're trying for a baby, it's a much better option to get a pack of 5 or more strip tests, since you'll probably be testing every month. You'll also find cheap ovulation tests further down the page so you can put that extra cash into the college fund rather than someone else's pocket.

Buying Cheap Pregnancy Tests Makes Sense

Buying Cheap Pregnancy Tests Makes Sense

Clever Marketing Makes You Spend Money Instead of Cents

Don't be fooled by clever marketing either, pregnancy test strips are just as sensitive as digital pregnancy tests and are the preferred choice in hospitals the world over. Be wary of pregnancy tests that claim to be able to give you an early test result, ie: before your period is due. It takes a minimum of 14 days after conception for there to be enough hCG* in your urine to test for, which is normally around the time your period is due, so the only way of knowing if you are pregnant before this is to have a blood test.

** hCG or Human chorionic gonadotropin is known as the pregnancy hormone because we produce far greater concentrations of it when we are pregnant compared to when we are not pregnant. It's the hormone responsible for making your periods stop and all the typical pregnancy symptoms that women experience.

Why would anyone choose to spend $25 when they can get an accurate test result for $1.50 or less? If your sensible and like to save money like me, then I recommend these cheap and accurate pregnancy tests. They're the ones I bought when I suspected I was pregnant and they're just the same as the ones used in hospitals and doctor's offices. They worked perfectly and I had zero issues with them.


I hope this article has given you all the information you need on buying pregnancy tests as well as how to use them to get an accurate test result. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Susana Smith (author) from UK on March 18, 2014:

The clear blue and the test the doctor used are exactly the same - the doctor just didn't wait long enough (didn't leave the stick in the urine long enough). But thanks for sharing your experience Rana.

Rana on March 17, 2014:

Some women have lower HCG levels in the start of their parengncy and it can take longer to get a positive HPT. However I found this test to be VERY accurate. I took the Clear Blue Digital test at 4 pm the day my period was due and got a positive. I then took another test at 7pm that night also the Clear Blue digitial, again another positive. Then I took a third Clear Blue the next morning and once again a positive.I went to the doctors that afternoon my period was technically one day late at that point and they gave me an in office urine test that came back NEGATIVE. I told them about my three positives so they sent me for blood work anyways and sure enough we WERE pregnant afterall.So as it turned out the Clear Blue tests were even more accurate than the doctors office urine tests! If you are 8 days late if you are STILL getting negative tests, I would guess its from something else like a change in diet, stress, weight gain or weight loss etc. You could try testing again in a few days, OR go to the doctor and ask to have a blood test done they are MUCH more accurate and can pick up on parengncy as early as a week after conception ! Good luck! Was this answer helpful?

Jayme Kinsey from Oklahoma on October 25, 2013:

Yep. Some cheaper tests are more sensitive too, meaning they read lower levels of hormone. My vote is definitely for the cheap brands. Been right for me when the expensive ones equaled an epic fail. Great hub! Sharing!

Dina Blaszczak from Poland on May 28, 2012:

Very well written with all the clear explanations! Very useful for inexperienced ladies like myself ;)

Voted up & useful.

Alicia on April 10, 2012:

Thanxs a lot 4ur clear explanation.I am look forward 2it

annie on October 10, 2011:

Great advice lookin forward to findin out weather im goin to b a mummy or not ill keep u all updated

jenifer on October 09, 2011:

i likked this..friends can ull help me hw to avoid pregnency by my self???

Connie on October 06, 2011:

It really helped me and thanks.

Sanjo on October 02, 2011:

Tanx u i have learn more to the i know before,am now satiated

Tiya on September 12, 2011:

wONDERFUL It is really informative and I guess reliable too.

Rajesh Lama on July 24, 2011:

my girl friend has carried a pregnant by mistake since a month only but i don't want her to be mother now. how can i avoid it?

malou on July 14, 2011:

thnx for d good interesting

im looking forward to hear u soon....for more info

reena on May 01, 2011:

tahnks a lotb for the information

Susana Smith (author) from UK on April 19, 2010:

Hi thanks to everyone for their comments. Glad my advice on cheap pregnancy tests and how to use them was helpful!

pmccray on April 18, 2010:

Very well done and informative. Rated up and shared.

cbris52 on April 14, 2010:

Lot's of my friends have tested to early and got bad results. Thanks for sharing!

Katie McMurray from Ohio on April 14, 2010:

Great information, I've learned something today of a valuable nature. thanks and peace :)

Hello, hello, from London, UK on April 14, 2010:

Interesting hub and very goot advice. Thank you.