How Long to Wait to Take Another Pregnancy Test

How long should you wait to take another pregnancy test?
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The decision to take a pregnancy test is typically not a light-hearted decision. The good news is that pregnancy tests are easy to find, fairly inexpensive, relatively easy to use, process quickly, and are very accurate. While a home pregnancy test is incredibly accurate, there may be a number of reasons that you might want to repeat the pregnancy test at a later date.

Some of these reasons may include:

  • A medication you were taking interacted with the test.
  • You didn't follow the instructions correctly.
  • You simply want to take another test.
  • You tested before your period was due and are uncertain of the results.
  • Your results don't match your physical symptoms.

All of these are perfectly valid reasons for repeating a pregnancy test, but what is the ideal amount of time between pregnancy tests?

Follow the Pregnancy Test's Instructions

Most pregnancy tests include instructions that encourage you to wait at least one week between a negative test and taking another pregnancy test. This is to allow time for your body to build up enough hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) to be detected in your urine. 

You may choose to test before the week is up, knowing that hCG nearly doubles every 48 hours. This is not harmful to anything other than your wallet. Though you may continue to get a negative result until your body builds up enough hCG to turn the test positive if you are pregnant.

It may be difficult to tolerate emotionally and may lead you to take chances with your potential pregnancy, like drinking because you had a negative pregnancy test, even though you may still be pregnant.

It is always a good idea to "act pregnant" until you have proof that you are not pregnant, protecting your health and that of your potential child.

Common Issue: Testing Too Early

Some pregnancy tests advertise that they will be accurate the day that your period is due. Others boast they can have a positive result before you even miss your period. The truth is, now that pregnancy tests have become so inexpensive, many women will test earlier in their cycle than is recommended in order to get an answer sooner. 

The problem with testing sooner is that the pregnancy test that you take is less reliable. This is not because pregnancy tests are inaccurate but rather there simply isn't enough hCG to turn the test positive.

The pregnancy test still does what it says it will—detect hCG in certain amounts. And your body is doing what it is supposed to do, make hCG. It's just that the amount you've excreted and the amount that a pregnancy test detects are at two different levels.

If You Don't Want to Wait Before Re-testing

The week between the original pregnancy test and the next test is often too much to bear. This leads to many people testing before the end of the week is up.

A few things can happen:

  • You take the test and it's positive, so you go get prenatal care.
  • You take the test and it's negative, so you wait to retest again.
  • You take the test and it's negative, so you test daily until you either get a positive or until you see your practitioner.

Do not drive yourself crazy taking too many pregnancy tests. The costs can add up, even if you are using inexpensive pregnancy tests. There are also mental and emotional costs of seeing a negative pregnancy test are also something to consider.

Unexplained Negative Pregnancy Tests

If you continue to get a negative pregnancy test after a week and you have still not started your period, it is wise to have a physical exam by your doctor or midwife to ensure that you are healthy. There are other things that can be going on besides pregnancy when it comes to a late period. Your practitioner can help you sort that out with a physical exam.

Seeking Help from Your Doctor or Midwife

You may also wish to consult with your midwife or doctor about having a blood pregnancy test drawn. Sometimes there are specific things that only a blood test can tell you.

Your medical care team can help you determine how long you should wait to take another pregnancy test or if a blood pregnancy test would be beneficial in your specific case. Not everyone needs a blood pregnancy test, which is looking for the same hormones. Though there are reasons why you might have a negative test but still have all the symptoms of pregnancy.

2 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Gnoth C, Johnson S. Strips of hope: Accuracy of home pregnancy tests and new developmentsGeburtshilfe Frauenheilkd. 2014;74(7):661-669. doi:10.1055/s-0034-1368589

  2. Eskandar MA, Al-Shahrani M, Shaamash A, El-Emain M, Al-Ahmad M, Payodon B. Early Maternal Serum β-human Chorionic Gonadotropin Measurements After ICSI in the Prediction of Long-term Pregnancy Outcomes: A Retrospective Cohort AnalysisJ Clin Med Res. 2011;3(1):30-35. doi:10.4021/jocmr477e

Additional Reading

By Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH
Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH is a professor, author, childbirth and postpartum educator, certified doula, and lactation counselor.