Best Time of Day for a Pregnancy Test: Early Results

The best time of day to take a pregnancy test is first thing in the morning (before you pee). A pregnancy blood test can be done any time of day. In this article, we’ll look at why testing in the morning is better than the afternoon or night and how testing with first-morning urine can get you early positive results.

Clock at 8:30 in the morning with a pregnancy test next to it.

Early Testing: Testing Before Your Missed Period 

If you’re testing early (before your missed period), the optimal time is to test first thing in the morning using your first-morning urine. 

๐Ÿšฝ First Morning Urine (FMU) 

Your first-morning pee is the most concentrated urine of the day. FMU (a common pregnancy acronym) is ideal for taking at-home pregnancy tests. Home pregnancy tests measure the hCG levels (human chorionic gonadotropin) in your urine. 

At-home tests look for hCG (the pregnancy hormone); if any is detected, you will get a positive result. A urine pregnancy test is not as sensitive as a blood pregnancy test that you would get at the doctor’s office. Using your concentrated first-morning urine makes your test more likely to detect hCG. 

Replicating First Morning Urine 

If you’ve already peed but are anxious to take an early pregnancy test, you can replicate your first-morning urine by limiting your liquids and not peeing for four hours. This will produce concentrated urine no matter the time of day. 

Testing After Your Missed Period 

If you’re testing after your missed period, you can test at any time of day. The amount of hCG in your pee will be high enough to detect on at-home urine tests without concentrated urine. 

Testing With Irregular Periods or Unknown Period Date 

If you’re not sure when your expected period is (either because you don’t track your cycle or you have irregular cycles), test in the morning at least 20 days after you had unprotected sex.

The first six days will account for your fertility window, and the remaining 14 days will account for implantation.

This will ensure that the level of hCG in your urine is high enough and provide an accurate reading and less likely to give you a false negative result.ย 

Best time to take a pregnancy test. Woman sitting on toilet holding a pregnancy test in her hands.

Should I Test Multiple Times a Day? 

If you test first thing in the morning and get a negative result, it’s unlikely (although not impossible ๐Ÿ˜œ) that you’d get a different result later in the day. However, it is theoretically possible. hCG doubles every two days during the first ten weeks of pregnancy.

Consider investing in inexpensive pregnancy test strips to test multiple times daily without breaking the bank. 

It’s more likely to get a negative test result at night and a positive one the next morning, even if it’s only a few hours apart. That’s because your FMU will be more concentrated. 

Can I Take a Pregnancy Test at Night? 

Yes, you can take a pregnancy test any time of day. There are a few reasons why you might consider not testing at night: 

  • First Morning Urine Is Best: if you’re testing early, your most concentrated urine of the day will give you the earliest result. 
  • You Only Have One Test: if you only have one test, and you’re testing early, wait until morning. Your FMU will have more concentrated levels of hCG. You don’t want to use your only test and be left wondering. 
  • Consider How You’ll Feel: how will taking (or not taking) the test make you feel? If you’re too anxious to sleep with the waiting, or if getting a positive or negative test will upset you and cause you not to sleep, there are considerations for whether you should test at night.

Mom to Mom: I’m always anxious about big life changes, so as soon as I suspect pregnancy, I have to test immediately (no matter what time of day!). 

Does Peeing on the Stick or Dipping the Stick Matter? 

No. You’ll get the same result whether you take a midstream test (pee right on the stick) or dip the stick in a urine cup. Follow the directions included with your test to get the best results. The main types of pregnancy tests are: 

  • Midstream Tests: pee directly on the stick over the toilet. 
  • Urine Cup Tests: pee in a cup and then dip a test strip in the urine. 
  • Cassette Tests: pee in a cup and drop a few urine drops on the test with a dropper. 

Can I Use a Dollar Store Test? 

Yes. The price of the test doesn’t matter for accuracy. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regulates pregnancy tests, so you can be confident your test will be 99% accurate after your missed period.

Different tests have different sensitivities. Some sensitive pregnancy tests can detect hCG levels of 20-25 miU. Others are less sensitive and can only detect 40 miU.

The most sensitive tests on the market are First Response Early Results. They measure 6 miU and can detect pregnancy 6 days before your missed period

First Response Pregnancy Test Results How Accurate Are They? Graph from Mommy Maker Teacher.

False-Negative Result 

A false negative pregnancy test means the test is negative (shows “not pregnant”), but you are, in fact, pregnant. False negative pregnancy tests are pretty common. Here are some reasons why you might get a false negative

  • Testing Early: if you’re testing before your missed period, your test might not be sensitive enough to detect the amount of hCG in your urine. This means you can get a negative result, even if you are pregnant. If you’re testing before your missed period, continue testing each day first thing in the morning until you get a positive result or your period.  
  • Drinking Too Much Water: you might want to drink a lot of water before your test to have enough urine for the test, but drinking a lot of water can dilute your urine, making it harder to detect the levels of hCG.  
  • Your Test is Expired: Look at the expiration date on your test. If you’re testing after the expiration date (even if it’s not too long after), you can get a false negative result. 

False-Positive Result 

A false positive pregnancy test is why your test is positive (“pregnant”), but you’re not pregnant. False positives are much less common than false negatives. That’s because pregnancy tests check for levels of hCG, and hCG is only present in the body when you’re pregnant.

That being said, here are a few reasons why you might get a false positive

  • Evaporation Line: Your pregnancy test instructions will tell you how long to wait to read the test. You might see an evaporation line if you read the test results after the recommended time. An evaporation line looks like a faint positive. It’s best to take another test and set a timer on your phone to check within the recommended window. 
  • Medication: Certain medications can cause false positives. If you’re taking medications, check with your healthcare provider if you get a positive pregnancy test. They can do a blood test or ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy. 
  • Chemical Pregnancy: A chemical pregnancy is the name for an early miscarriage. It’s a pregnancy that ends before your expected period. These miscarriages are common and confusing. Your early pregnancy tests will be positive, but your period comes around the expected time. 
  • Testing After Miscarriage: If you recently had a miscarriage, there could still be hCG in your body. It is difficult to tell whether a positive test is from a previous or new pregnancy. Consult with your doctor.

What Should You Do After You Take a Pregnancy Test? 

If you get a positive pregnancy test, the next steps are to talk to your doctor and schedule an appointment (and an ultrasound) to confirm the pregnancy.  

If you get a negative pregnancy test, continue testing until your next period or until you get a positive result. If you’re still getting a negative result after your missed period, follow up with your doctor. 

How To Get The Most Accurate Results Sooner 

To get an early positive pregnancy test, you should wait at least 7 days past ovulation to test (I got my positive pregnancy tests at 9 and 10 DPO). You should test first thing in the morning with your FMU. You should use a more sensitive test like the Pregmate Pregnancy test or First Response.   

If you’re testing after your missed period, you can test any time of the day, but consider how the pregnancy test results will make you feel and whether it would be a good idea to test in the morning. 

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Hi, I'm Jacqui, founder of Mommy Maker Teacher and mom of two toddlers. With a degree in education, 12+ years of experience as a K-12 teacher and curriculum developer, and courses in childhood psychology and language acquisition, I share research-backed parenting tips and advice. I provide helpful content for moms on all stages of motherhood - from trying to conceive and pregnancy to postpartum, breastfeeding, and parenting.