Do you know the best way to take a pregnancy test? While it might seem obvious – pee on the stick and wait for the lines (or the words) to appear – actually, it’s not quite that simple. Lots of our mums have been asking questions about when and how to use a pregnancy test to get the most accurate result.
So we decided to ask an expert – in the form of Dr Fiona Clancy, who is the Scientific and Medical Affairs Director for Clearblue.
What’s the best time of day to take a test?
One of the most commonly asked questions is whether you should always use your first morning urine (aka FMU) or whether it’s OK to use wee from later in the day. The thing about FMU is that it’s very concentrated.
The answer, it seems, depends on whether you’re taking the test early – ie, before your period is due.
“If you’re testing from the day your period is due, you can test at any time of the day to find out if you are pregnant,” explains Dr Clancy.
“However, if you’re testing early (ie before your period is due), you should use your first urine of the day.”
Dr Clancy explains, “In early pregnancy the level of pregnancy hormone, hCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin – the hormone tested to indicate you’re pregnant) can be low and using the first morning urine will contain the most concentrated amounts.”
Saying all this, you may want to test with more concentrated wee anyway, to give you the best chance of detecting the hCG.
It’s also best to avoid drinking too much liquid before doing a test, advises Dr Clancy “as it can dilute your sample”.
Do you need to pee directly onto the pregnancy test or can you pee in a cup and dip the pregnancy test in?
“From our extensive research we know that 3 quarters of women prefer to test directly in their urine stream, finding it more convenient and hygienic,” says Dr Clancy.
However, pregnancy tests can also be used by dipping the testing end of a pregnancy test kit into your urine, she explains.
So, it’s up to you – whatever you find easiest. Just make sure you wee with care!
Can the results ‘change’ – eg, can a line appear later or can one that was there previously disappear?
“All visual pregnancy tests have a ‘window’ of time in which the result must be read,” explains Dr Clancy. So it’s important that you read the instructions carefully and only use the results that show in the set time.
For example, you need to wait 3 minutes before reading the result of the Clearblue Early Detection Test but no longer than 10 minutes after doing the test. “I’d suggest disregarding any changes in the result after 10 minutes,” adds Dr Clancy.
In some cases, the positive result can remain on the screen for up to 6 months. If this is the case, you’ll be able to share your test result with friends and family a little later, when you feel comfortable.
Do pregnancy tests have an expiry date?
Yes, they do. So if you buy a few tests and then store them away, make sure you check the expiry date on the packaging before you use it. A pregnancy test that’s out of date make not be accurate enough.
If you do have further queries about a particular pregnancy test, be sure to read all the information given, and get in touch with the manufacturer on anything you’re not sure about.