If nighttime has come, and you think you might be pregnant, wanting to know a more definite answer may be enough to keep you awake. Like a small child on the night before a big event, it may just seem like too long to wait until the morning!
If you already have a pregnancy test at your home (or can get one even in the late evening hours), you may be wondering if you should just go ahead and take the pregnancy test now.
You may have heard that it’s best to take a pregnancy test in the morning, but is that even true?
Well, wonder no longer, because we’ve got all the answers you’re seeking about the best times to take an at-home pregnancy test and what to know if you get a positive or negative result.
In short, yes. You can take a pregnancy test at night. However, the question of whether you should in order to get an accurate result is a little less clear.
Home pregnancy tests that rely on your urine are designed to respond to certain levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). The placenta produces this hormone, and during the first 8 to 10 weeks of your pregnancy, hCG levels rise rapidly.
By the tenth day from ovulation (approximately the first day of your missed period), there should typically be enough hCG in your urine for an at-home pregnancy test to detect it.
Some of the more expensive home pregnancy tests advertise that they can detect hCG levels earlier, because who doesn’t want their results sooner? However, there’s
One of the benefits of choosing to take a pregnancy test in the morning instead of at night is that your urine is likely to be more concentrated. You probably haven’t been drinking or peeing as much overnight since you’ve been sleeping.
In the early days of your pregnancy, when hCG levels are still increasing, your first morning urine will offer you the greatest chance of having sufficient hCG levels built up for a positive pregnancy test.
When it comes to at-home pregnancy tests, the chances of a false-negative are much higher than those of a false-positive.
If you take a pregnancy test at night and it’s negative, you may still want to take another test in the morning or in a few days to help confirm that you’re not actually pregnant.
There are a variety of factors that can contribute to a false negative:
- Taking medications. Certain medications can interfere with the accuracy of the pregnancy test.
- Having diluted urine. Your urine will likely be more diluted at night than in the morning. Having more concentrated urine is one of the benefits of taking your pregnancy test in the morning.
- Taking the test too early. hCG levels need time to rise enough to be detected by a home pregnancy test. Even if you’re using a pregnancy test that claims it can detect a pregnancy early, be wary of a negative result. Consider waiting for when your missed period would be and retesting if you think you might be pregnant.
- Not waiting long enough or not following the test directions exactly. We know that you’re excited to get answers, but it’s necessary to take the time to perform the test as instructed by the manufacturer for accurate results.
If you get a negative result, you should consider waiting a few days and testing again — preferably in the morning.
You should also follow up with your doctor if you have any questions about a potential pregnancy or any other health complications.
Chances are that if you take a pregnancy test at night and it reads positive, you’re pregnant.
There are a few situations where you may experience a false positive, including:
- chemical pregnancies
- ectopic pregnancies
- recent pregnancy loss
- certain ovarian conditions, like ovarian cysts
However, these tend to be rare, and anytime you have a positive pregnancy test, you’ll want to reach out to your doctor for follow-up and care.
Timing is very important when it comes to getting an accurate pregnancy test result.
There are many factors to think through before deciding it’s time to take a pregnancy test. If you want accurate results, you should ideally take into account the following before taking a test:
- Where you are in your menstrual cycle. A urine-based pregnancy test is going to provide the most accurate results about a week after your missed period. If your menstrual cycle is irregular, it’s ideal to wait about 2 weeks from the date of potential conception. This offers hCG levels sufficient time to rise high enough to register on the home pregnancy test.
- The time of the day. Remember, morning tends to be the best time to take home pregnancy tests, because hCG levels in urine are concentrated after a night without much drinking and peeing. If you’re still very early in your pregnancy and hCG levels are only starting to rise, it may be wise not to test at night.
- Symptoms of pregnancy. If you’re feeling morning sickness, sore breasts, or other early pregnancy signs, you may want to think about the date of your last period and determine if there’s been enough time to get an accurate result.
- Unclear results on a prior test. If you’ve already taken a test and had unclear results, you might consider waiting a few days or trying again in the morning hours. With a little time and a fresh test, hCG levels may reach a point of being better detectable or a negative reading may be more clear.
Remember, no matter what type of pregnancy test you use or when you take it, if you want accurate results, you’ll need to follow the instructions from the manufacturer exactly.
If you do decide to take an at-home pregnancy test at night, it’s important to keep in mind that many factors can impact the results. A negative test at night might be followed by a positive test in the morning.
Because many at-home pregnancy tests are affordable (especially if you’re able to locate one at the dollar store!), it may be worth the mental health benefits and easier sleep to see what the result is by testing at night.
However, only you can decide if the timing of your potential pregnancy and other factors will line up for an accurate result.
Don’t forget, if anything seems out of the norm or you do find out you’re pregnant, you’ll want to make sure to follow up with your doctor. They’ll be able to answer questions and provide the resources you need.