Pink or Blue? 7 Pregnancy Test Tips

Pink or Blue? 7 Pregnancy Test Tips

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It’s a pregnancy test, not rocket science! True. Very true, and yet sometimes interpreting the result of a pregnancy test can feel like a science experiment (and in some ways it totally is). Yes, you just pee on a stick and wait a few minutes, but believe it or not, there’s a lot more to it than that. I’ve got seven pointers to help you get the most accurate result on a pregnancy test, right from when to test and what type of test to use. Let me walk you through the ins and outs of home pregnancy tests. 

Taking a home pregnancy test is arguably one of the most simultaneously nerve wracking and exciting 5 minutes you’ll spend in your bathroom. Will you be pregnant? Is it still too early to test? Am I going to end up peeing all over my hand? How will I tell my partner if it’s positive? What if it’s negative? So many questions swirl around in your head when you unwrap that test. I realize not everyone is a pee on a stick addict (POAS addict) like me, but my excitement over POAS has left me with a wealth of knowledge about pregnancy tests. Let me share the wealth!

1. Go Pink: Before you even get to that exhilarating 5 minutes in your bathroom, you need to buy a pregnancy test. Have you been to the “family planning” section of the drugstore lately? There are a LOT of pregnancy tests to choose from. How do you know which one will work best? When in doubt, go for a pink dye test. What does that even mean? Well, pregnancy tests come in three basic forms: pink dye, blue dye, and digital. Digital tests are not as sensitive as non-digital tests. What that means is that if your period is not already late (don’t worry, I couldn’t wait that long to test either), there may not be enough HCG in your system to be detectable on a a digital test. So as much as you want to see the word “Pregnant” on a HPT, it’s best to bye a low tech dye test to start out. That leaves you with the blue dye or the pink dye. Is there a real difference? Absolutely. Blue dye tests are notorious for false positives. In other words, you may test and see a blue + symbol, but not actually be pregnant. This is not only incredibly frustrating, but it can also be heartbreaking to realize you are not actually pregnant when you thought you were. So do yourself a favour, and avoid blue dye tests. Pink dye tests are more reliable and false positives are extremely rare. My preferred pink dye test is the First Response Early Result (FRER).

Pink or Blue? 7 Pregnancy Test Tips

2. Go Cheap: Look, pregnancy tests are expensive and the cost really adds up if you like to POAS every day starting just nine days after you ovulated (or sooner if you’re really impatient). This is where “internet cheapies” come in. You can order very inexpensive pregnancy test strips online for less than $0.50 per test. At that price you can POAS every day for weeks before you even come close to the cost of just one FRER. What I suggest is that you stock up on some “internet cheapies” and when you see a squinter (that’s a test that might look positive if you hold it just the right way and squint just a little) you can crack open an FRER and confirm the result. Test too soon with an FRER and you may as well just pee on a $10 bill. If you really want to see the word “Pregnant” on a test, wait until your period is late, test with an “internet cheapie” and confirm with a digital. I grab my “internet cheapies” from 2 Little Lines.

3. Test First Thing In the Morning: Now that you’re armed with a few at home pregnancy tests, it’s time to POAS. You always want to test with your first pee of the day, or as those in the TTC world call it first morning urine (FMU). HCG builds up in your system overnight, so it is most potent in FMU. That’s not to say you can’t get an accurate result later in the day, but you are much more likely to get an accurate result with FMU. This is especially true if you are testing before your period is late or on the day it is due to arrive.

Pink or Blue? 7 Pregnancy Test Tips

4. Don’t Actually Pee On The Stick: I know, I know. I just said I was a POAS addict. I lied. It’s more like a PIAC addict. That’s pee in a cup. Why? Because you want to use FMU to test, if you just hold that “internet cheapie” in your urine stream and you get a squinter, you no longer have FMU available to confirm the result with your FRER! And yes, that second pee may no longer have a detectable amount of HCG in it to yield a positive result. Save yourself from having to wait another 24 hours to confirm, and just pee in a cup. Any old cup will do, but I prefer to have paper dixie cups just for this purpose. Collect your urine in the cup (significantly easier that trying to aim your urine stream over a teeny tiny test end), and then dip the test in the urine. You want to hold it in the cup for around 10-15 seconds, then remove it, and lay the test on a non absorbent surface (resting it on top of the cup is perfect). If you get a squinter, you can bust out the FRER, dip it in the same urine, and confirm your result. The bonus of the PIAC method is that the odds are really good you won’t pee on your hand!

5. Check The Test Within The Time Frame: The instructions that came with your at home pregnancy test will tell you how long you have to wait before reading the results and it will also tell you how long you have to read those results before they become invalid. Usually you can check after 3-5 minutes, and you have 10-15 minutes before the results are no longer valid. Why do the results expire? Because sometimes a test will look negative after the waiting period, but an hour or so later you go back and check again just to be sure because you can’t resist. Now you see a line. Maybe it’s not pink (or blue if you went that way), but it’s a line. That’s what’s called an evap line. This happens when the urine on the test strip fully dries and leaves a sign of the evaporation that occurred. It’s usually colourless, kind of grey, and/or quite a bit thinner than the control line. This does not mean the test is suddenly positive. If you see an evap line, you should wait until the next morning and test again with FMU being sure to read the results only within the recommended time frame. Evap lines are more common on blue dye tests than they are on pink dye tests.

Pink or Blue? 7 Pregnancy Test Tips

6. A Line Is A Line: When it comes to pregnancy tests a line, any line, that appears within the time frame for that particular test counts. Unlike an ovulation predictor kit where only a really dark test line means it’s positive, with an at home pregnancy test any test line that shows up within the time frame, no matter how faint, means you’re pregnant. That’s because HCG is only in your system when you’re pregnant. It doesn’t come and go throughout a woman’s cycle, you’re either pregnancy or you’re not.

7. Decide When To Test: Now you know to test with FMU, but what day in your cycle should you test? This is going to vary depending on the length of your luteal phase (that’s the time between ovulation and your period), but some women can test as early as five days before their period is due. If you want to test that early, use “internet cheapies” so you can test daily without racking up a crazy bill for pregnancy tests! Many women can get accurate results a good two days before their expected period, so if you really want to know, but don’t want to test SUPER early, two days early is a happy medium.

Pink or Blue? 7 Pregnancy Test Tips

There you have it! Those are my tips for getting the most accurate results out of your at home pregnancy tests. Remember that if you do get a positive test, you should arrange an appointment with your health care provider to confirm the results. If you’re hoping for a midwife, the time to start calling around is as soon as that pregnancy test dries!

Do you have a favourite pregnancy test? How early have you tested and gotten a positive result?

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36 Comments on “Pink or Blue? 7 Pregnancy Test Tips

    • what if she is not getting periods, and on pregnancy stripe shows one red line in HCG area. ?

      • If there’s no control line, the test is defective and should be discarded. If there’s just one line where the control line is and no second line, then it’s negative. If it’s been more than 40 days since your last period and pregnancy tests are negative, you should make an appointment to see your physician.

  1. I had no idea there was a difference! I’m so glad I read this, especially the part about digital test! Thank you!

  2. THese are all really great tips. Thanks for the link for internet cheepies. I have used the Walmart 80 cent cheepies and have been accurate everytime. Walmart always seems to be out of them though so it is great to have another option. The waiting 3-5 min can be the longest waiting in your life!

  3. Great tips!! This article definitely changed how I will take pregnancy tests.

  4. I have often heard that about blue dye tests but I find that if I stick to the timeframe I never have had a false positive or negative and blue can be significantly cheaper if you can’t get a dollar store or Walmart pink dye test at that moment. I’ve even gotten positives as early as 8-9 days past ovulation for all the test types not just those that say early detection.

  5. Haha! I will never forget the time I sent my husband to the store to get me more pregnancy tests because I could not read them for the life of me! I wish I would’ve read and known something about this before that incident! lol I’m glad I didn’t have to do that the second time around. Live and learn for sure!

  6. They say pink are more accurate because of color tranfer. I have always used First response. They have been most accurate for me and tell me even before my period.

  7. I never knew this. I have gotten false negatives with Clearblue, First response is my favorite or the cheapie from the dollar store

    • I found out I was pregnant with my son at 3 months. 2 months eith no period I took a clesr blue and it was negative. I took another one a month later and it was positive. Definitely not reliable. First response or any pink dye has always been the way to go.

  8. Well I learned some new things today! I will definitely have to invest in some cheapies once we are TTC again. Eeek! Thanks for the tips!

  9. Great article! I have always been really irregular when not taking the pill. The first day if my last period before becoming pregnant was May 1, 2014. We took the test (pink dye First Response) the morning of May 29, 2015. I almost threw it out before noticing a very very very faint line. I called my husband in to confirm. He thought he could see something too. On the morning of May 30, we took a digital test and it said 1-2 weeks. We now have a beautiful 10-month old boy! 🙂

    Thank you for the tip about internet cheapies! We are planning on trying again within the next year and that will help us cut costs on expensive tests!

  10. Funny story. With our first I used a blue test, it was a boy. With our second I used pink, it was a girl. When I got ready to show my husband the test for baby #3, he didn’t want to see it because he wanted the sex to be a surprise. LoL! All along he thought that a blue line meant boy and a pink line meant girl!

  11. These are great tips! HCG tests are actually really brilliant and super simple. When I worked in a research lab, we actually made these types of tests for our projects, usually using a different antibody set up, but it’s basically the same science! It’s so neat when you think about it!

  12. I always do my home test then blood test at the doctor. This is a great blog post for new moms.

  13. So after losing a child June of last year. I am trying for another. I’ve been using the tests with Pink dye and had taken three one after another. They were all negative at first. Looking at them hours later they all seem to be positive? Help?!

    • I’m so sorry for your loss.

      It’s important to only read the results of a test during the window of time outlined in the instructions for that particular test. If a second line only appears hours later, it’s an evap line and the test should be considered negative. I’d wait a couple days and test again using the very first pee in the morning. Good luck!

      • I bought 2 blue dye tests before reading this. First one had a verryyy faint positive line, i don’t even know how I saw it. Second one was negative. Help?

        • Update: took another pink line test when I woke up this morning, it was negative.

  14. Good tips! I never knew pink dye tests were better. They sell pregnancy tests at the dollar store if you are looking for a cheap test

  15. Back in the day I took a pregnancy test and was told it was borderline? either you are pregnant or you are not! I always opted for blood test. Glad to see technology is so much better now!

  16. We only had one option that was at the store when we tested and that was the cheap test that are almost like litmus paper haha. I didn’t know there was a difference in the tests!

  17. How things have changed since I was hoping to conceive! I think home pregnancy tests are a great invention. My youngest is now 31 so it was a long time ago but I do remember very well how difficult it was to wait long enough to get tested at the doctors.

  18. My husband and I are on our 2nd cycle TTC so I really appreciate this. He thought I was nuts for buying the $.88 tests from walmart but I am glad to know they are fine. They are pink dye so I will just continue to use those. Thank you for taking the time to write this. It is really helpful for us new to TTC.

  19. What if you get a super faint line on a blue bye test during the window? I got 2 in a row, was told it’s an evap line but evap lines don’t show during the 3 minute wait for the results.

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