Tips for Taking a Pregnancy Test

Taking a home pregnancy test

Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin 

Pregnancy tests are supposed to be foolproof these days. In many ways they are foolproof. Though even though the tests have gotten easier to take, they still involve a component that we can't quite make use reason - our emotions.

Any woman who has ever sat over a small white disk filled with her urine, praying for a certain result will tell you, emotions play a big part in pregnancy testing. I personally have been known to hold a pregnancy test up to the wall to compare white backgrounds to see if the test was positive or not. Here are some tips to help you deal with reading the test, regardless of your emotions.

Stay Calm Mom: Episode 2

Watch all episodes of our Stay Calm Mom video series and follow along as our host Tiffany Small talks to a diverse group of women and top doctors to get real answers to the biggest pregnancy questions.


A Positive Pregnancy Test: Now What?

Use first-morning urine (FMU).

By using urine from the first thing in the morning you actually have more of the hormone (hCG) that the test is looking for built up in your urine. This makes it more likely to get an accurate test reading. If you're worried you'll forget to collect it when you first get up, close the lid to your toilet and set the pregnancy ​test on top. Some say that if you hold your urine for more than four hours it is the same as first-morning urine.

The key is to not overload yourself on fluids to make your urine more dilute.

Really read the instructions first.

I know you're anxious, we all are when faced with the small pregnancy test that has the potential to change our lives forever. But, before you even enter the bathroom, pull out the instructions and read them thoroughly. Be sure you know what you're doing, don't assume you remember from previous tests. It will also give you information on time limits, both in how long you need to wait and when the test is no longer valid to be read.

Bring a clock with you.

You might feel like you're a great estimator of time, but when you're dealing with a pregnancy test, bring along your unbiased friend - a clock. If the test says you shouldn't read the results after ten minutes, a clock can tell you if the test turned positive at 9 minutes 30 seconds or 10 minutes 3 seconds. This can be a huge difference.

Don't be afraid to use a cup.

Even if the directions tell you to hold a pregnancy test in your urine stream, don't panic. If you're not a good aim or that you'll make a huge mess, don't fear. Collect the urine in a cup. Then simply hold the absorbent end of the pregnancy test into the urine in the cup for the amount of time you were supposed to hold it in your urine stream.

Don't hesitate to use the toll-free number on the box.

That's what it's there for! You can ask the people, usually nurses, questions that concern you. Typical questions might be about medication interactions that affect the pregnancy tests workings or even something about evaporation lines, test reliability, etc. 

While this is one of the most important tests that you will ever take, the good news is that they are pretty error proof. They are designed for lay people to use them easily and without many errors. This should give you the confidence you need to test and not stress about it.

Was this page helpful?
Article 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. Nepomnaschy PA, Weinberg CR, Wilcox AJ, Baird DD. Urinary hCG patterns during the week following implantationHum Reprod. 2008;23(2):271‐277. doi:10.1093/humrep/dem397

  2. 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