To Test or Not To Test

Published May 31, 2014 by Jennie

pregnancy test cartoon

 

Today I am four days away from our scheduled beta test.  I am very open about our infertility struggles (both on my blog and my everyday life).  People often ask me if I have tested yet.  I thought I would share my thoughts on why I never test early.  This post (or any post I write) is not created to give advice to others or criticize how other people handle this process.  Different things work for different people.  I am just explaining why I choose not to test.

Cost

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The first (and least important) reason I do not test is due to cost.  While they do not cost much, it adds up (especially if I purchased several of them).

False Negative

daystomenses1

 

Different pregnancy tests do have different sensitivity levels, but in general, data indicate that pregnant women who test early often get false positive results.  Additionally, other sources state that about 25% of pregnant women will test positive two days before their missed period and 40% will test positive the day before.

I actually would not take a hpt test until a week after my period.  I know that might sound crazy.  I will say that even though I would not test, I would still take all precautions as if I was pregnant.  A study in 2011 indicated that many pregnancy tests elevate their accuracy claims.  They ultimately conclude that waiting a week after your missed period will ensure the most accurate results  I have included the citation of this study and I am happy to share it via email and explain the methodology if anyone is interested 🙂

Cole, LA. “The Utility of Six Over-the-Counter (home) Pregnancy Tests.” Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine : Cclm / Fescc. 49.8 (2011): 1317-22

Early Miscarriage

This is the big one.  I know that there is no point (especially during the first trimester) where a woman is guaranteed to carry the pregnancy to full term.  Even so, the chance of early miscarriage (also known as a chemical pregnancy) are noteworthy.  When a conception implants and results in a clinically recognizable pregnancy, 31% end in miscarriage (source).  Some women do want to know they are pregnant even if they end up losing it early.  I totally respect that.  For me though, I would rather not go through that.  During the last four years, I have had 2 instances where I got up to a week late.  I experienced several pregnancy symptoms.  In both cases, when I did get my period, it was heavy and painful.  It is likely that I had a chemical pregnancy but I think it would have been worse if I had tested positive at the beginning.

Fear

Infertility has been a big part of my life over the last four years.  This may sound strange but I feel like I have gotten good at it.  I want nothing more than to have a child but the idea still scares me.  I worry I do not know enough to be good at being pregnant.  I am scared of messing up.  I am also not sure what kind of parent I would be.

So there it is.  I am interested to see what people say about all of this.  It is ok to think I am a little nuts 🙂 – Jennie

 

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31 comments on “To Test or Not To Test

  • I’m the opposite, every cycle I promise myself I will not test early and have never got pay day 5 ha ha. For me I find it gives me something to do, it kind of helps me keep a routine now all injections etc have finished. I test every morning but I just use those really cheap strips so get 30 for about £2. I find the early negative stresses me less than the not knowing, I’ve never had any will power ha ha. Good luck xx

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    • Great point! I did talk to my doctor about the 2 times I was almost a week late. They were both over a year apart. I am pretty much like a clock cycle wise so there is a good chance they were chemical. She said she would be more concerned if they were closer together. If my cycle ever starts to get wacky I will start to test in that week.

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  • I come at it from a very different perspective – recurrent pregnancy loss – so we need to know ASAP if we are pregnant because I need to start meds and the monitoring that begins by our RE. And because we can get pregnant so easily (4 in 20 months) its a monthly ritual that starts usually 3 or 4 days before.
    I have to agree about the fears of being a parent – but I don’t even focus on those anymore because I’m focused on the fear of being pregnant and actually staying pregnant for longer then 12 weeks.

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  • In the early days of my IF, I tested ALL the time. ALL the time. Early. I’d try a test, like, a week before my period because the tests says so! Always negative. And I’d get depressed and angry and sad. I finally stopped doing it because it was just too draining. I was spending $20 or whatever on tests and always negative. I told myself I wouldn’t test until i was a week late. Had to be a week. Of course, I only got to that point once, and it was still negative, and my period showed up the day after. The lateness was some weird fluke. I used to test at the first sign of cramping or sore boobs or raised temp. I am pleased to say I am Early Test Free and have been so for the last six months. For me, early testing was too stressful and too expensive. I’m already paying for a pregnancy test at the doctor’s office, so that will be good enough for me.

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  • Oh, and I also fear getting pregnant. Funny, right? I always say it’s this hugely abstract thing. I can’t even imagine pregnancy or, gasp, giving birth. My friends who are mothers said they felt the same way. You adjust, obviously, and everything works out.

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  • I think not testing is a good thing. My experience with a chemical pregnancy was just as hearbreaking as my miscarriage. But with the chemical I tested with a FRER and got a legit positive with a beta of 5 at 12dpo. So I believe in the power of FRER’s. XO

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  • I started out testing at 7dpo for the first 6 months. Then I had my chemical pregnancy. Then I started testing around 11dpo after thatfor months 7-9. This last month 10 I didn’t test at all. I found that I am handling my current negative better now. I’m going to wait until I’m late before I test. Its just better for my mental health.

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  • This is very interesting. Unfortunately I am someone who is impatient and has to test if I have any kind of thought that I could be pregnant because I hate not knowing. It has probably cost me a lot of money. Although, I do buy cheaper tests these days. Since last month I have not been hoping so much, cause I am just assuming my period will come, rather than hoping I am pregnant and being upset. That is probably since my AMH blood test results. It is interesting that you fear getting pregnant. I have recently been feeling fear. I have wanted something for so long, and I’ve recently been thinking, what if I do get pregnant. I fear miscarrying, I fear morning sickness, I fear being uncomfortable when pregnant, I fear labour, I fear what will happen when I am left to look after a baby – would I even know what to do. I always hope motherly instinct comes with having a baby! Yet, go back two years ago and even when I did fall pregnant (before a miscarriage,) I had no fear about it at all.. It is so strange that the fear has decided to show up later on.

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    • I am glad I am not the only one who struggles with fear when it comes to all of this. Most people just tell me to be happy I have options. I sincerely am but it does not diminish how I feel about things.

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