Can You Reuse a Pregnancy Test?

Taking a pregnancy test can be quite an exciting event. It is the moment when you will learn if that long-awaited child is going to be showing up. For some, it can be nerve-wracking, especially if they aren’t sure they are ready. But one thing is certain: A pregnancy test is designed to be as accurate as possible. Can you reuse a pregnancy test? And if you can, how accurate will the second set of results be?

Can You Reuse a Pregnancy Test?

Some women want to reuse their pregnancy test. This might be due to financial reasons; sometimes pregnancy tests can be rather expensive, depending upon the type you purchase. However, it is important to remember just how sensitive these tests are. They detect Hcg, the pregnancy hormone. Some of them can detect this hormone when there is only the slightest whisper of it in the urine – even days before you actually miss your period.

Due to this sensitivity, once the test has been activated, it can’t be reused. If you look closely at a pregnancy test, you will see that it has several components. One is an absorbent “stick” that captures urine and siphons it up into the testing area. The test is filled with chemicals that react with the urine and any Hcg that might be present. There are other chemicals that turn a certain color to tell you whether th
e result is positive or negative. Once that absorbent stick is full and the chemicals are used, there is no way to use them again. They are used up.

Digital tests work the same way; but instead of a chemical that gives a certain color as a result, the result shows up as a digital readout. Some of these tests will even tell you how far along you might be, depending upon the levels of Hcg they detect. But just as with a typical pregnancy test, digital tests can’t be used again.

Positive Test with Reusing Pregnancy Test?

Some women have tried testing with a negative test – that is, they took a test and it was negative, but then they tested with the same pregnancy test again, and got a positive result. What does this mean? Can you reuse a pregnancy test if the first result was negative?

The Truth Behind It

In some cases, it might seem as though you will get a positive result from a test that was negative at first. However, this is probably caused by the condensation phenomenon – over time, the chemicals in the test can change, leaving you looking at something that isn’t actually correct. This is why the test instructions tell you to look at the test within five minutes or so, and not wait longer than that. It is entirely possible to get a false positive with a test if you wait too long to look at the result.

Some tests might show Hcg readings on the second try. However, keep in mind that if this happens, there is no way to know whether it is a true positive or not – and having a false positive can be devastating. Instead of risking that, it is always better to take a fresh test.

More Pregnancy Test FAQs

  1. How soon after a missed period can I take a home pregnancy test and get accurate results?

This depends on the type of test you take. Some claim to be able to tell you “yes” or “no” within three days of your period starting, or even earlier than that. However, the results might not be 99% accurate. In order to get the highest accuracy, test on the day you miss your period, or the day after. Waiting 5-7 days afterward is a surefire way to know that the test is probably correct.

  1. I got a negative result on a home pregnancy test. Might I still be pregnant?

It is possible. Some tests will give a false negative from time to time. This usually means that there isn’t enough Hcg in your urine yet, or if there is, the test was faulty. The best thing to do is wait for a few days and take the test again.

  1. Can anything interfere with home pregnancy test results?

Yes, certain medications can interfere with the test, and sometimes hormonal birth control can make it show negative or positive when it really isn’t. Contaminants in the urine can also cause a problem, as can diluted urine, or using the test incorrectly. And remember, the answer to ‘can you reuse a pregnancy test’ is definitely no – so trying to do so can interfere with the proper results.

  1. Can I use an HPT if I got an hCG shot?

Yes. However, you should wait at least fourteen days to make sure that the shot is out of your system. Otherwise, the shot might trigger a positive result, when there really isn’t a pregnancy.

  1. What if I took a test and it was negative, but when I looked later I saw a faint line?

This might be due to the chemicals in the test reacting over time, which can lead to what looks like a positive, but is actually still just a negative. In some cases, you might have a very low Hcg level and it took more time than usual to show up on the test.

  1. Should I get a blood or urine test? Which is more accurate?

Most women choose to start out with the urine test, and if it is negative, get a blood test to be absolutely sure of the result. Though the urine test is typically correct, the blood test will detect even the slightest amount of Hcg, which makes it much more accurate than any home pregnancy test could be.

  1. I have irregular periods and don’t know when my next period will start. When should I take a pregnancy test?

You can try two different counting methods. First, count four weeks from the last time you had sex. You can also count 36 days from the start of your last menstrual cycle. This should give your body ample time to build up the Hcg levels needed to show that you are pregnant – or not. 

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