When You're Scared to Take a Pregnancy Test

Young woman taking a pregnancy test at home and looking worried

LumiNola / Getty Images 

Taking a home pregnancy test is fairly simple. You purchase a test, commonly referred to as a "pee stick," and, well, you pee on it. That’s not so hard, right? The truth is that many people find taking a pregnancy test emotionally challenging.

Chances are, they are hoping it will go one way or the other. Though the fear of seeing a positive or negative result may vary from person to person, the fear of the answer is still usually the same.


The Longest 5 Minutes: Taking a Pregnancy Test

Fear of a Negative Test Result

For those fearing a negative pregnancy test, there may have been years of trying attached to the stress of taking the test. They may have undergone expensive fertility testing. Even beyond that, simply wanting to be pregnant is enough to have a woman ask herself "am I pregnant?"

Before you take the pregnancy test, you have the opportunity to dream. You can continue to fantasize about being pregnant. You can plan for a new baby in your life, even decorating nurseries, and picking baby names in your mind. This place can be fun and safe. But actually taking the pregnancy test gives the definitive answer—either you get to stay in this positive dreamland or you have to accept a reality where the test is negative.

Fear of a Positive Test Result

Perhaps you are in the other camp, and you would prefer that the pregnancy test result comes out negative. This means that in your fantasy, you're not pregnant and your life will stay the same. You will not have to worry about late nights with a crying baby or considering your options; instead, you will likely just make sure to be careful about not needing to take another pregnancy test anytime soon.

So, what will push you over the edge to take the pregnancy test? Ultimately, it’s the need to know the truth and determine what your next move will be.

There can be harm in not taking a pregnancy test. If there is a good chance you could be pregnant and you're not watching what you eat, refraining from harmful practices, and not seeking vital prenatal care, you may be increasing your risk of an unsafe pregnancy. The sooner you know whether you are pregnant, the better off you will be.

Overcoming These Fears

So, how do you overcome your fear of taking a pregnancy test and move to action? Consider these strategies for moving forward.

Have a Plan

Knowing what you will do, no matter the outcome, is the best idea—even if it is a short-term plan of finding the right person to tell and talk to about the results.

Time the Test Accordingly

If you're anxious about the potential result of a pregnancy test, it’s especially important to take the test at the appropriate time to get the most accurate results and to avoid a false negative. While there are many early detection options, home pregnancy tests are most accurate after your first missed period.

Take the Test With a Buddy

Don’t try to take a pregnancy test alone. Ask a good friend or your partner to be there for emotional support. Having someone with you to help hold your hand or even read the test results can make the whole process easier.

Don’t Panic

No matter what the result is, panicking will only make things worse. Refer back to the plan you started with in the first place. Remember that it’s also OK to do nothing for a bit. Find someone who can help you, be it a trusted provider, your partner, a therapist, or a friend. You may want to have someone to talk to, either personally or professionally, or perhaps even both.

What Happens Next?

If you're pregnant, you may have lots of questions and the best way to get them answered is by seeing your doctor or midwife. Likewise, if you're not pregnant but want to be, you may also want to consult with a doctor if you have questions about improving your chances of conceiving or if you are concerned about your fertility.

A Word From Verywell

The bottom line is that not testing will not change the outcome of the pregnancy test. You are either pregnant or you’re not. Not taking a pregnancy test doesn’t help what you can't control.

If you are pregnant, finding out sooner will be helpful for getting the care you need and making the best choices for you and your family. If you're not pregnant, you can either sigh a big sigh of relief or you can refocus your efforts on getting pregnant. Either way, it's better to know.

1 Source
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. Childerhose JE, Macdonald ME. Health consumption as work: The home pregnancy test as a domesticated health tool. Soc Sci Med. 2013;86:1-8. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.02.035

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