Could it be? A Few Words on the Accuracy of Negative Pregnancy Tests


When one thinks about the accuracy of negative pregnancy tests, the scenarios you’ve seen on your favorite sitcom probably aren’t valid stories to base your worries on. You know what I’m talking about: sitcom girl thinks she’s pregnant, sitcom girl takes pregnancy test, sitcom girl sees test is negative so sitcom girl throws test out, and then the camera zooms in on the test as sitcom girl walks away, and viewers see that the test turns from a negative to a positive, unbeknownst to sitcom girl! And then of course you gasp because sitcom girl, who happens to be your all-time favorite sitcom icon, is actually pregnant! Well, let me assure you that if that were to happen in real life, it still would not mean that your are pregnant.

That’s because, as long as you wait the 14 days after possible conception, and follow the easy directions of your regular pregnancy test, they’re usually as accurate as the urine tests you take at the doctor’s office. About 97 % accurate, to be specific. And if a test result turns from negative to positive, it’s usually just because you waited too long to look at it. Usually the directions that come with a test will tell you that if you wait longer than 2-3 minutes, the test is invalid.

But is there one pregnancy test that is more accurate than the other? Should you dish out twenty bucks for the reliability of the name brand test, rather than cheaping out on the dollar store test? Well, according to a former marketing specialist from Thermo Fisher Scientific (Thermo Fisher Scientific sells analytical instruments, reagents and consumables, laboratory equipment, and software services), it makes no difference at all. Every test is made from the same ingredients, that are sold by the same company, to all the different pregnancy test manufacturers. Now, whether these pregnancy test manufacturers use different amounts of the ingredients in each pregnancy test, is a different story. So I always laugh when in the movies when I see the prospective-pregnant woman with ten different tests from ten different brands because all the tests are potentially the same.

There is a difference, though, in the clarity of the response of a pregnancy test when it comes to a digital test and a nondigital test. Digital tests will literally tell you straight up “pregnant” or “not pregnant,” whereas with the traditional nondigital result test, you’re playing with lines, equal signs, plus signs, smileys, pictures of cats training with a litter box, just kidding…but you get the idea. So if you do want to splurge on more clarity of response, you can go with the digital, but in terms of accuracy, they are still all pretty much the same.

So why spend the extra money thinking you’re getting more accuracy out of a negative or positive pregnancy test if you spend more, when you get the same accuracy no matter what you spend.

prospective mother