Do I Have to Take a Pregnancy Test in the Morning?

Positive Pregnancy Test
First morning urine can give you a positive pregnancy test sooner. Photo © Burazin/Getty Images

Question: Do I have to take a pregnancy test in the morning?

Answer: The reason that most pregnancy tests recommend that you take a pregnancy test in the morning is because first morning urine  typically contains the highest concentration of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), the pregnancy hormone. However, if you work nights or your sleep is interrupted by bathroom breaks, you may not have the most concentrated urine at this time.

While pregnancy tests are getting more and more sensitive, people are also testing earlier and earlier. First morning urine is most important when you are choosing to take a pregnancy test very early in pregnancy. 

What Can You Do If You Don't Have First Morning Urine

Sometimes you will wind up having a schedule or situation that warrants a pregnancy test outside of the morning hours. This might be a weird sleep schedule for work or school, or simply because you really want to know and don't want to wait until morning. Sometimes it also happens because you forgot to collect the urine before you tested.

"I sat the test out the night before. I was really anxious. I thought that if I saw the test sitting on the counter next to the toilet, I'd remember," says Amanda. "Ugh! I remembered as soon as I started going! I felt so goofy. I tried to stop but alas, it was too late. I did take the test a few hours later and it was positive, but man..."

You can recreate first morning urine for a pregnancy test by not using the bathroom for at least four hours. You must also not drink more than your normal amount or this may cause you to dilute your urine by overhydration.

The good news is that hCG nearly doubles about every two days in early pregnancy.

That means that typically after the fourth of fifth week of pregnancy your levels of hCG are high enough without having to use first morning urine. This will allow you to take a pregnancy test at any point in the day.

"The first day my girlfriend tested, it was negative and we were both really sad. I read about using first morning urine and so we decided to try again tomorrow," recalled Kevin, a first-time dad. "I put the toilet seat down and put the cup on it to remind her. Sure enough - it was positive! We are really excited."

It does not matter if you urinate on the stick or in a cup when collecting the urine. This does not alter the concentration of hCG at all and will not alter the results of the test.

Special Note About First Morning Urine and Digital Pregnancy Tests

Some digital pregnancy tests will have an indicator on the front that will give a read out of how far along the test estimates your pregnancy to be. If you are not using first morning urine, this portion of the test may be inaccurate.

While the actual reading or pregnant or not is accurate, the length of gestation may be altered by not using the first morning urine.

Sources:

Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Pregnancy. June 2014. http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/InVitroDiagnostics/HomeUseTests/ucm126067.htm Last Accessed January 24, 2016.

Swiss Precision Diagnostics (SPD). FAQ on Pregnancy Tests. http://uk.clearblue.com/faqs-pregnancy-tests Last Accessed January 24, 2016.

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