Tips for How Long to Wait to Take Another Pregnancy Test

How long should you wait to take another pregnancy test?
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While a home pregnancy test is incredibly accurate, there may be a number of reasons that you want to repeat the test. Some of the reasons include:

  • You tested before your period was due and are uncertain of the results.
  • You got results that don't match your physical symptoms.
  • Medication you were taking may have interacted with the test.
  • You didn't follow the instructions correctly.
  • You simply want to take another test.

    All of these are perfectly valid reasons for repeating a pregnancy test, but what is the ideal time frame between pregnancy tests?

    Most pregnancy tests include instructions that encourage you to wait at least one week between a negative test and taking another pregnancy test. This is to allow time for your body to build up enough hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) to be detected in your urine. The truth is, now that pregnancy tests have become so inexpensive, many women will test more frequently than is recommended in order to get an answer sooner. 

    "When a pregnancy test is only a dollar and I have a closet full of them - why wouldn't I test every morning? Sometimes I tested in the morning and in the evening - I was more than a bit obsessed," remembers Sharon. "It was not a pretty time, but I was determined. The first time I did this, I started my period after twelve negative tests in about a week.

    With my first baby, the one pregnancy test I took was $20, this time it was $12. Let's just say, despite the fact that cost wasn't really a factor anymore, I only took one test per day for just under a week with my next baby. I started testing before my period was due because I had to know. I don't know if those extra days of negative tests were worth the emotional toll."

    You may choose to test sooner, knowing that hCG nearly doubles every 48 hours. This is not harmful to anything other than your wallet. Though you may continue to get a negative result until your body builds up enough hCG to turn the test positive, if you are pregnant. This can drive you insane. It may also be difficult to tolerate emotionally and may lead you to take chances with your potential pregnancy, like drinking because you had a negative pregnancy test, even though you may still be pregnant. It is always a good idea to "act pregnant" until you have proof that you are not pregnant.

    Seek Help from Your Doctor or Midwife

    You may also wish to consult with your midwife or doctor about having a blood pregnancy test drawn. Sometimes there are specific things that only a blood test can tell you. Your medical care team can help you determine how long you should wait to take another pregnancy test or if a blood pregnancy test would be beneficial in your specific case. Not everyone needs a blood pregnancy test, which is also looking for the hormones hCG. 

    "My midwife was great at calming me down when I was freaking out over the constant negative pregnancy tests," says Jana. "I just felt pregnant.

    She gave me the confidence to assume I was pregnant until I knew I wasn't. That sounds weird but it was really helpful. And it turns out I was pregnant, I just ovulated later than I thought!" 

    If you continue to get a negative pregnancy test after a week and you have still not started your period, it is wise to have a physical exam by your doctor or midwife to ensure that you are healthy. There are other things that can be going on besides pregnancy when it comes to a late period. Your practitioner can help you sort that out with a physical exam.


    Source: Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. Gabbe, S, Niebyl, J, Simpson, JL. Fifth Edition.

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