If you think you might be pregnant, finding out for sure is a priority! You want to know the answer quickly and have accurate results, but the cost of finding out whether you’re pregnant can add up, especially if you’re testing every month.

The frugal mom-to-be may have noticed that dollar stores frequently sell pregnancy tests. But can you trust these tests to be accurate? Are there any differences you should be aware of before you decide to invest in a dollar store pregnancy test?

Because the Food and Drug Administration regulates home pregnancy tests, if they’re being sold legally in the United States, they should be the real deal! Dollar pregnancy tests have the same accuracy rate as more expensive tests.

That said, some more expensive home pregnancy tests are designed to be faster or easier to read. So, there are some advantages to paying a little extra if you need a quick answer or think you might struggle to read the test results.

Something else to keep in mind: All pregnancy tests are only as accurate as the testing person’s methodology! It’s essential to follow your specific test’s instructions and carefully read the results regardless of where you purchase it.

Like the pregnancy tests you’ll find in the grocery or drug store, dollar store pregnancy tests measure the hCG levels in your urine to determine whether you’re pregnant.

Specific directions will differ by brand no matter where the test is purchased. Some low cost pregnancy tests may require that you wait a little longer to see the results. And you may have to interpret lines instead of having a symbol or word appear, but the testing process itself should be very similar.

Perhaps the biggest difference between dollar store and drug store pregnancy tests is the ease of locating one. Some dollar stores do not carry pregnancy tests or may only have limited supplies.

To guarantee access to a dollar store pregnancy test, you may need to plan ahead and grab one when they’re in stock.

For the best results, take a urine-based pregnancy test the week after your missed period. If your menstrual cycle is irregular, waiting about 2 weeks from the date of potential conception is ideal. That way, if you’re pregnant, hCG levels will be high enough to register on a home pregnancy test.

It’s usually best to take a home pregnancy test in the morning when hCG levels in urine tend to be the highest.

While uncommon, it’s possible to get a positive result on your pregnancy test without being pregnant. What could this positive result mean?

You should communicate with your doctor if you receive a positive result but don’t believe you’re pregnant. They may wish to rule out any other health problems.

More common than getting a false positive is having a home pregnancy test show that you’re not pregnant when, in fact, you are. If you get a negative result but believe you may be pregnant, you might want to take another test in a few days, as your negative result may be a result of the following:

  • Certain medications. Some drugs like tranquilizers or anticonvulsants can interfere with the accuracy of pregnancy tests.
  • Diluted urine. This is one of the reasons why taking a pregnancy test in the morning can give you more accurate results!
  • Taking the test too early. If your pregnancy is a little newer than you think and your body is still ramping up its hCG production, there may not be enough of this hormone in your blood to show up on a test.
  • Not following the test directions closely enough. You really do have to wait as long as the test instructions say!

If you’re hoping to save some money, the good news is that there’s not much difference in performance between dollar store pregnancy tests and the one you’d buy at the drug store.

No matter where you buy your pregnancy test, follow the directions exactly for the best results.

Remember to follow up with your doctor if you discover that you’re pregnant. And if you’ve been trying to conceive for more than 6 months without success, you may also want to follow up with a fertility specialist.

Soon enough, you’ll have a definite pregnancy test result, and you’ll be able to move forward with confidence.