What Not to Do Before Taking a Pregnancy Test

What Not to Do Before Taking a Pregnancy Test

The time has come to find out that all-important answer to your burning question… are you pregnant?

The answer may fill you with hope, or it may fill you with fear and confusion… and there’s no wrong way to feel about your body.

But do you know the 5 most common mistakes to avoid before taking a pregnancy test?

Whether it’s your first time or you’ve taken a fair few before, we’re here to clue you up on preparing yourself for a pregnancy test.

“But it’s just peeing on a stick… how wrong could it go?”

We hear you!

But there are a couple of things to consider first to make sure your result is as accurate as possible.

In this article: 📝

  • How home pregnancy tests work
  • Can you mess up a pregnancy test?
  • What should I avoid before a pregnancy test? 5 most common mistakes
  • Can too much pee on a pregnancy test make it negative?
  • Should I pee on a pregnancy test or dip it?
  • Can you use 2-hour-old urine for a pregnancy test?
  • How do you prepare yourself for a pregnancy test?

How home pregnancy tests work

Firstly, let’s quickly cover how pregnancy tests actually work.

Home pregnancy tests look out for a hormone called hCG.

hCG is present in everyone’s bodies — both men and women — at all times.

But, when you’re pregnant, the amount of hCG you have increases substantially.

This triggers your body to create more estrogen and progesterone, thickening up your uterine lining and telling your body to stop menstruating (or releasing eggs).

And if there’s enough hCG in your system, the test will then be able to produce a positive result.

🔍 Dig deeper: Complete Guide to Pregnancy Tests

Can you mess up a pregnancy test?

Well, yes — but, we’re only human! 🤷‍♀️

And most of the mistakes can be avoided by making sure to read the instructions carefully before — such as reading the test results too soon, or misreading the time urine saturation time.

But don’t worry — we’re here for you. ❤️

We’ve put together a list of the 5 most common mistakes people make when taking a pregnancy test: 👇🏻

What should I avoid before a pregnancy test? 5 most common mistakes

So, now we know how they work, we’ll cover what not to do before taking a pregnancy test.

1. Drinking too much water 💦

Probably the most common mistake we make when taking pregnancy tests is drinking too much water before.

“So, being too hydrated is actually an issue?”

We know — probably the only time when chugging water isn’t best!

But because pregnancy tests measure the level of hCG in your urine, if it’s super diluted from multiple cups of water, it may lead to a false negative result.

That’s why the best time to take the test straight is after you hop out of bed in the morning — when your hormones are at their highest concentration.

That way, you can keep up your regular water intake throughout the day without worrying about diluting those hormones.

2. Misreading the instructions 🫣

Every type of pregnancy test is different — so every set of instructions for taking the test is different, too.

Some need you to wait three minutes; some need you to wait for five…

Some need you to pee for at least 10 seconds; some need you to dip your test in urine for 20 seconds…

So reading the instructions carefully before taking your test is key to the most accurate result.

If not, the test could need more urine to test the hCG, it might be oversaturated, you may have waited too long before checking the results… or anything else!

If you don’t follow the instructions, the test might not work (if the control line doesn’t appear) or the results won’t be reliable enough to trust.

Either way, it leads to a second trip to the drugstore and parting with more money for a new one!

3. Testing too soon

Ah… the balance between wanting to know whether there’s a bun in your oven ASAP but also not wanting to waste your money — it’s a tough one!

But patience is needed here to not only protect your wallet and your mental energy, too.

Once an egg has been fertilized and implanted in your uterus, it takes time for hCG to build up to amounts measured in tests.

Typically, you should wait until the first day of your missed period before you test.

You can test earlier, but it also depends on when you ovulated and when the egg was fertilized.

So, to not risk disappointment or your hard-earned dollar, it’s best to wait until the week of your expected period for the most accurate results.

4.  Not keeping an eye out for faulty tests 👀

Annoyingly, in some cases, pregnancy tests can be faulty before you’ve even used them.

Some faults to keep an eye out for include:

Some faults to keep an eye out for include:

  • If the box is crushed, which could have caused the test to be damaged
  • If the control line is not visible then it is faulty
  • If the test got wet before you used it
  • If the results window on the test is empty (no control line)
  • If it’s reached it’s expiration date (more on this below ⬇️)

So, if you’ve spotted any of the above, or anything that makes you think the test doesn’t look quite right, trust your instincts.

You may be able to get your money back from the drugstore if you bought the test recently, but in most cases, it calls for a trip to pick up a new one!

5. Using expired tests

Did you know that pregnancy tests can expire?!

It’s not very well known, but most pregnancy tests last around 2-3 years from their date of manufacture.

Yep, that means the date they were manufactured — not the day you bought them — so they could have been on the shelf in your local drugstore for a while!

This will differ from brand to brand, as some of the cheaper tests can expire a bit earlier, too.

Although they may work, they’re just not reliable enough to trust them. 🙅‍♀️

In most cases, expired pregnancy tests are more likely to give false-negative results.

So, always check the label of the pregnancy tests you’re using, especially if you’ve had them stored in the bathroom cabinet for a while!

Can too much pee on a pregnancy test make it negative?

Sometimes, it could!

If you either use too much or too little pee on your test, this could cause a false-negative.

So, be sure to read through the instructions carefully beforehand to make sure you’re peeing just the right amount. 💧

🔍 Read More: Can You Reuse a Pregnancy Test?

Should I pee on a pregnancy test or dip it?

So, do you choose peeing into a cup, or peeing on a stick?

(Ah, the dignified journey of TTC 🙃)

Well, in some cases, the choice is yours.

Some go for the cup to avoid any messy peeing-on-hand situations.

But some find it’s just easier to pee straight onto the stick. 🤷‍♀️

But some types of pregnancy tests (some pregnancy test strips) will need you to dip into urine rather than pee on it directly.

So, be sure to always read the instructions before you get to the bathroom with a full bladder! 🚾

Can you use 2-hour-old urine for a pregnancy test?

If you’ve opted for the dip-it-in-urine approach, you may have collected your first morning pee in a cup, but didn’t have the chance to take the test.

Especially if your test day coincided with an early start or a busy day at work! 😵‍💫

So, after 2 hours, are you still able to use this urine for an accurate result?

Again, this varies depending on which test you’re taking, and also which brand.

Some tests could allow for urine to be standing for a while, but some may need you to take the test immediately.

The best way to find out is to carefully read the instructions on your test, as this’ll vary between different brands.

How do you prepare yourself for a pregnancy test?

Well, you’ve made it to the end of this article — so, we’d say you’re definitely prepared to avoid the most common mistakes!

To recap on the most important:

  • Make sure you don’t drink too much water. 💦
  • Read the results in the time window. ⌛
  • Test at the right time of day, and your cycle. ⛅
  • Keep an eye out for faulty/expired tests. ❌

But, you can also prepare for taking a test both physically and emotionally.

Physically prepare

Get your kit instructions laid out in an easy-to-read place, and have the equipment you need by your side (e.g., your timer, a urine cup if needed, and maybe your specs if you need them 👓).

Make sure you have some privacy — the last thing you’d need is your partner walking in trying to use the bathroom while you’re in the middle of peeing on a stick. 🤣

Emotionally prepare

And, emotionally, make sure you’re ready to read the result.

We understand how emotional pregnancy test results can be — for all of the reasons.

That’s why having a bunch of supportive women going through the same thing as you by your side may be helpful.

Equally, you may want to go through this part of the process on your own — and that’s fine, too. ❤️

Just make sure you take the time to prepare yourself for whatever the result may say — and you’re in a safe space to feel your feelings.

We’re here whenever you need us.

So, all clued up about do’s and don’ts of pregnancy tests?

We hope so!

But, of course, there’s always more to learn. 🥸

If you’ve had a negative test but have pregnancy symptoms, or want to know more about blood pregnancy tests, or anything else bump-related, we’ve got you covered.

And if you want to chat with other women on TTC journeys, join us on Peanut — we’re having the conversation.


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