Positive Pregnancy Test: A Guide For What To Do Next

Your Pregnancy Test Is Positive… What Happens Next?

May 19, 2021 Updated August 17, 2021

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After seeing your positive pregnancy test, you probably have lots of questions and even more feelings. There’s no doubt about it — taking a pregnancy test can be scary. Not like someone jumping out at you when you least expect it scary, but anxiety-inducing scary. If you’ve been trying to conceive, you’re undoubtedly keeping your fingers crossed for a positive pregnancy test. But perhaps you’re hoping for a negative pregnancy test or are unsure how you feel about the prospect of becoming a parent. Suffice it to say, feeling a mix of every emotion after you pee on that stick is very normal.

First, let’s talk about the actual pregnancy test. Pregnancy tests check for human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone made in the placenta after a fertilized egg implants in the uterus. If hCG levels are detectable (which usually happens at least a week after your missed period), you’ll see a plus sign, smiley face, the word “pregnant,” or whatever the particular brand of pregnancy test displays. If you want to double, triple, or quadruple test (we get it), check out the affordable pregnancy test options we highly recommend for the most accurate results.

Dr. Marli Amin, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Specialist at Reproductive Partners Medical Group, told Scary Mommy that it shouldn’t matter which brand of pregnancy test you use as long as both the company and the vendor are reputable. But, she noted, “It’s important to check the expiration date on the test you are using. Expired tests may be more likely to give false results.”

As for their accuracy, Amin says that most home pregnancy tests are highly accurate. She explained, “They can be up to 99 percent accurate if performed two weeks after ovulation. If a test is taken too soon following ovulation, there is a higher chance of getting a negative result.”

RELATED: Homemade Pregnancy Tests Are Surprisingly Popular, But Do They Work?

What to do after a positive pregnancy test?

If you aren’t panicking, you probably want to celebrate. And if that’s the case, you should! You just received incredibly exciting news that’s going to change your life in so many ways. After getting a positive sign on your pregnancy test, there are a few things you should do as soon as possible, like making a doctor’s appointment. Visit your gynecologist to get confirmation of your pregnancy. Then you and your doctor can begin talking about steps you should to take to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Make sure you start taking prenatal vitamins too and cut out alcohol and smoking.

Remember, you have 40 weeks to make lots of decisions, but hey, baby steps. For now, take some time to let it all sink in. You should, however, start thinking about whether you want to see an OB-GYN or a midwife.

If you know you want to have a low-intervention natural birth, maybe even at home, a doula or midwife (or both!) could be a good option. If you’re high risk or are dead set on getting an epidural (again, we get it), an OB-GYN is probably the best choice since they’re able to offer medication and perform surgery if needed. The good news is, you don’t necessarily have to choose just one — many hospitals work with midwives to provide labor and delivery care with backup from an OB-GYN.

When should I go to the doctor?

“You should contact your physician as soon as you have a positive home pregnancy test,” Amin said. “Most women will be seen for an initial evaluation early in the first trimester. Your physician may consider seeing you even earlier if you have a history of recurrent miscarriages, a history of prior ectopic pregnancies, or other medical conditions.”

If you already have a doctor you love, that’s great. If not, try exploring websites like Yelp, Zocdoc, Healthgrades, and RateMDs for the most accurate provider ratings. Of course, asking friends which OB they go to is also a great way to find the right provider. Wait times for an appointment can be long, so make sure you get on it ASAP.

Can a positive pregnancy test be wrong?

The short answer is yes; false positive pregnancy tests are possible, although rare. Here’s the longer answer. If you see a faint line, it can be an evaporation line, which is a line that can appear if you look at the test too soon. Most tests tell you to wait a certain number of minutes after taking it, so it’s essential to follow those directions for your own sanity. Digital pregnancy tests display results as “pregnant” or “not pregnant,” so the evaporation line isn’t an issue for those.

Certain medical conditions or medications can cause a false positive, like a trigger shot of hCG during fertility treatments. To avoid this, wait at least 10 days before taking a test during fertility treatments.

A faint line can be confusing (and pretty rude, honestly), but it still usually means you’re pregnant. Levels of hCG in your body will increase during your pregnancy, and if you test too early, your hCG levels may still be low and display a faint positive line.

Why am I still bleeding like I have my period?

Bleeding is common with implantation, which usually happens about 10 to 14 days after conception. The bleeding is typically light spotting or a little heavier. If you’re bleeding heavy like you have your period, it could be because of a chemical pregnancy — a type of early pregnancy loss that occurs shortly after implantation. A chemical pregnancy happens before an ultrasound can detect a fetus but after hCG levels are detectable in a pregnancy test.

What are my pro-choice options?

If your pregnancy is unwanted, you absolutely have options. If parenting isn’t something you can or want to do, there are many adoption arrangements to consider. If you prefer to terminate the pregnancy, know that you aren’t alone in your decision. According to the National Abortion Federation, 1 in 4 women in the U.S. will have an abortion before the age of 45. Decisions about pregnancy are deeply personal, and only you can make the right choice. To talk to a professional about your feelings, options, and next steps, consider calling the All-Options Talkline at 1-888-493-0092 for support.

Dollar Tree Pregnancy Test Sensitivity (How accurate are they?)

A pregnancy test from the dollar store is just as accurate as a super high-tech electronic one. However, pricier home pregnancy tests are usually easier to read and give results much faster, so it has its advantages. The Food and Drug Administration also regulates it, so you can depend on the efficiency of dollar store pregnancy tests. Part of the FDA’s job is to ensure they’re not faulty and have dependable accuracy. A cheaper pregnancy test usually assesses the hCG level in pee to determine whether someone is pregnant. 

Can pregnancy be detected one week after sex?

It’s best to take a pregnancy test about a week after a missed period. However, if you don’t want to wait until then, you can take a pregnancy test about two weeks after you’ve had sex. It’s important to wait this long because you want to give your body a chance to produce hCG levels so you get an accurate reading.