Reasons Not to Take a Pregnancy Test Early

Stop Driving Yourself Crazy With Early Pregnancy Tests

Woman looking at a pregnancy test with crossing her fingers for good luck
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Taking multiple, early pregnancy tests is a weak point for many women trying to conceive. It starts with one pricey pregnancy test a month. Then maybe two, taken just a couple days before your period is due.

Then, you find the dollar store pregnancy tests, and you’re taking a few each month. One at 10 DPO (days past ovulation), 12 DPO, and 14 DPO.Finally, you’re hooked on the ultra cheap pregnancy test paper strips, which you buy online. In bulk. Dozens at a time. Heck, you need a dozen per month.

Whether you’re peeing on a stick once or numerous times each month, there are many good reasons to not take those early tests.

7 Reasons Not to Take An Early Pregnancy Test

We’re going to define “early” here as any test taken before your period is actually due. (Even though technically, a pregnancy test that is taken on the day your period is due is also early.)

If you’re feeling tempted to test right now, set that pregnancy test in your hand aside and read this first.

Possible Disappointment

If your early test is negative, you’re likely to be disappointed. You know that the odds of getting a positive result at 10 DPO are really, really, really small. At 5 DPO, you’re just wasting test papers.

And yet, when you see that negative result, you feel disappointed. Even though you know it’s probably going to be negative even if you are pregnant this month.

Avoid the extra disappointment and don’t take the test.

Questionable Result

When you see that negative result, you probably won't believe it anyway. It’s not like you’ll say to yourself, “Oh well, not this month.”

That early test doesn’t really answer any questions. It just confirms you don’t have any pregnancy hormone yet in your urine. You can’t really know if it’s negative until your period comes or doesn’t, and you test then.

But you knew that.

Early Pregnancy May Not Last

Let’s say you do get an early positive pregnancy test result. Yay! Celebrate!

Well, sort of.

Even if you get an early positive result, it won’t really calm your worries. As a pregnancy test aficionado, you know that early testing could pick up on a pregnancy that isn’t going to last.

You won’t really consider your cycle a true positive until you get a positive result at 15 or 16 DPO. (In other words, after your period is late.) Plus, if you get a positive result on a cheap-o test, you’ll probably want to “test” the results with a more expensive brand.

If that’s negative, well, you’ll just fret and worry until you can test again the next day.(Why are you doing this to yourself?)

Can Breed Uncertainty

The two-week wait is a crazy, anxious time as it is. You may think that taking tests makes it less intense, but it really doesn’t. The two-week craziness is born out of the uncertainty between ovulation and your expected period. You’re wondering if you’ll actually get pregnant this month.

You won’t really know until your period is late and then you take a test. See above on what happens if you get a negative or positive result on an early test. Neither result is satisfying. You'll still have doubts.

Fertility Treatments Impact Results

If you’re going through fertility treatments, an early pregnancy test may pick up on the hormones from your injections.More specifically, if you've had a trigger shot—or an injection of hCG, sold under the brand names Ovidrel, Novarel, Pregnyl and Profasi—you’re injecting pregnancy hormone into your system.

This means that if you took a pregnancy test the day after the injection, you’ll get a positive result. It doesn’t mean you’re pregnant.

True, if you’re a pregnancy test addict, you may want to take that test just to see the positive result. For fun. (Trying-to-conceivers have such strange definitions of fun...)But assuming you’re taking the test to find out if you’re actually pregnant, you need to avoid early tests with these injectables.

Wait at least 10 days after the injection. Even better if you can wait 12 days.

May Detect a Miscarriage

Early testing means you’re much more likely to detect a pregnancy that ends in a very early miscarriage. Sometimes a very early miscarriage is called a chemical pregnancy.

While most women might think their period was a little late, you’ll know from your early tests that it wasn’t just a day-late period but a lost pregnancy. According to at least one study, early miscarriages may occur up to 30% of the time. Most women don’t realize they are having one.

If an early test picks up on a pregnancy, you'll have time to bond with the little embryo. If you end up miscarrying, even if you get your period exactly on time that month, you'll grieve. This can be so heartbreaking.

If you had never taken that early test, you would have never known.

(Note: This is a rather controversial position to take. Some women would rather know if they were pregnant, even if for just a week or two.)

Tests Are Costly

You're wasting so much money on early pregnancy tests. But you’re buying the ultra cheap ones, you say! It really isn’t that much money, you say!

But that’s only true if you’re taking just one test per cycle. Then, with the ultra cheap tests, or even the dollar store tests, you’re not spending much money. However, if you’re taking multiple tests, the costs can add up. Especially over many months of trying to get pregnant.

A Word From Verywell

If you’ve read through all these reasons, and you’re still tempted... well, at least you tried. If you actually feel strong enough to resist testing for one more day, go you. High fives.

When you feel tempted again tomorrow, come on back and read through these reasons again. You can do this.

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Article Sources
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  2. Cleveland Clinic. Your Guide to Pregnancy Tests. Updated June 21, 2017.

  3. Han S. The Chemical Pregnancy: Technology, Mothering, and the Making of a Reproductive Experience. Journal of the Motherhood Initiative. 2014;5(2):42-53.

  4. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Pregnancy. Updated April 29, 2019.

  5. Annan JJ, Gudi A, Bhide P, Shah A, Homburg R. Biochemical Pregnancy During Assisted Conception: A Little Bit Pregnant. J Clin Med Res. 2013;5(4):269-274. doi:10.4021/jocmr1008w

  6. Hardy K, Hardy PJ. 1st trimester miscarriage: four decades of study. Transl Pediatr. 2015;4(2):189-200. doi:10.3978/j.issn.2224-4336.2015.03.05

  7. Larsen EC, Christiansen OB, Kolte AM, Macklon N. New insights into mechanisms behind miscarriage. BMC Med. 2013;11(1):154. doi:10.1186/1741-7015-11-154

Additional Reading
  • Twitter Conversation with @InfertileAgain.