Do Pregnancy Tests Expire? Read on to Know!

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do pregnancy tests expire

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Going to take a home pregnancy test but stopped? Did that date on the side of the box make you wonder, “Do pregnancy tests expire?” What does that date mean and does it mean you can’t use it anymore? Some of these questions might seem baffling at first but a little research can find your answers.

If used correctly, home pregnancy tests can give you 99% accurate results. But there’s one thing that will throw you off the results: that little date on the side of the packaging. We have brought to you all the answers to the question that popped up in your mind “ Do pregnancy tests expire?” Read on to find out!

Let’s Address the Elephant in the Room: Do Pregnancy Tests Expire?

Yes. Like all other items in your medicine cabinet, pregnancy tests do not last forever. To answer why you need to understand a little bit about how these pregnancy tests work. Pregnancy tests basically measure the levels of the pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your pregnant body. During pregnancy, your body secretes high levels of hCG which can be found in your urine and blood after 6 to 12 days of fertilization. Its level goes up as the days go by and peaks between 7 to 12 weeks of pregnancy.

A pregnancy test strip contains a chemical that can detect hCG in a woman’s urine sample. This chemical has a shelf life though so it becomes ineffective afterward. This will give you false negative positive results. Simply speaking, pregnancy tests do expire and if you use one that’s past its expiration date, you will get an inaccurate result.

Now, When Do Pregnancy Tests Expire?

Most of the pregnancy test strips last up to 2 or 3 years but that doesn’t mean these strips will be accurate for that long after you purchase them. You’ll notice that there is an expiration date given on the side of the packaging which will be a date 2 or 3 years after its date of manufacturing. So, if you keep it unused after you buy it, the expiration date will be less than 2 or 3 years away.

Confused? Always check the expiration date before buying a pregnancy test strip and if you have had a pack in your hand for a while, check the expiration date again before using it. Another thing to remember is that you can only rely on the expiration date if the strip has been stored properly. Excessive humidity or heat can cause the strip to degrade way more quickly than normal. Keep your test strip in a dry space at room temperature and if you are still concerned, the test strip has its storage conditions mentioned on its packaging.

Do Expired Pregnancy Tests Work?

Yes, they might give you an accurate result but experts suggest otherwise as you don’t have to take a chance. Generally, pregnancy test strips that are past their expiry date are way more likely to give you a false result (positive or negative) so it’s best if you don’t use them.

When Should You Take a Pregnancy Test?

Before the use-by date, you can use the pregnancy test at any time. To get a more reliable result, you need to wait at least the day of your expected menstrual period to test. Do not forget to read the instructions on the package and follow them.

But is It Okay to Buy Pregnancy Tests Strips in Advance?

It is absolutely okay to keep a pack of pregnancy test strips around in advance if you are trying to conceive but only for a few weeks. Also, check the date of expiry before you use it so you know it hasn’t spent too many shelf days in your medicine cabinet.

A Final Word: Do Pregnancy Tests Expire?

The bottom line is that all pregnancy test strips have an expiration date of about 2 to 3 years. However, the more it is nearer the expiry date, the more the chances of its results being inaccurate. So when you buy a pregnancy test strip for immediate use make sure to check the expiry date. Also, if you are buying one in advance and when it comes to using it, check the expiry date. You can buy pregnancy test strips a few weeks in advance and not more than that.

There’s no need to fret over it much because you anyway have to get your pregnancy confirmed by an OB-GYN. It’s best to try to get the most precise results possible before getting an OB-GYN appointment. Your peace of mind is more important than anything else. Ask all your queries to the doctor and make sure to not make any unfortunate assumptions.

Do Pregnancy Tests Expire FAQs

1. What types of pregnancy tests are there?

There are two common types of pregnancy tests: blood tests and urine tests. Blood tests are done by your healthcare provider while urine tests can be done at their office. An at-home pregnancy test usually involves using your urine to check for hCG in your body.

2. How soon can you take a pregnancy test?

You can test for pregnancy after the first day of your missed period. If you are unsure when your next period is due, you can take the pregnancy test 21 days after having unprotected sex. Some pregnancy tests are very sensitive which means you can use them even before you miss a period.

3. What is the best test to confirm pregnancy?

A blood test, with its 99% accuracy, can detect pregnancy even before you miss a period. A home pregnancy test can be confirmed by a blood test as it finds out the amounts of hCG in the body.

4. How can you check pregnancy with your finger?

The firmness and position of your cervix can say if you are pregnant or not. To finger test, insert a finger into your vagina and feel for the cervix. The middle finger is the most effective one as it is the longest. However, you can use whichever finger you find convenient.

5. Can you be pregnant after 2 negative tests?

Yes, you can get pregnant after two pregnancy tests. Getting a negative result on your pregnancy test doesn't mean you are pregnant. It means your hCG levels are still low such that it is not yet detachable in the urine or blood.

6. Should you take two pregnancy tests in one day?

Taking two pregnancy tests in one day is a common scene in movies and television shows. In reality, taking a second pregnancy test right after the first one is unnecessary.

7. Why is your period late but your pregnancy test negative?

The most common reason for a late period and negative result in a pregnancy test is because you simply missed your period due to other reasons. Having one or two missed periods a year is usual and does not mean anything serious.

8. When is the best time to take a pregnancy test, morning or night?

Morning is the right time to take a home pregnancy test. Throughout the night, your body’s hCG has concentrated in your urine as you went without peeing or drinking. If you are early in your pregnancy then your body’s hCG levels are only beginning to rise, so it's wise not to test it at night.

9. How long does it take for hCG to show up in urine?

hCG is a pregnancy hormone that is produced by the placenta when your body is pregnant. The hormone appears right after the embryo attaches to the uterine walls. After that, its production increases rapidly and by the 12th or 15th day of your menstrual cycle, you can detect it in your urine.

10. How long should you hold your pee for a pregnancy test?

Whenever you take a home pregnancy test, make sure you have had your urine in your bladder for at least 4bhours. Do not drink excessive amounts of fluid before you take the test as this is a common misconception. A lot of fluid increases the amount of urine in your bladder which in turn dilutes the hCG levels in it.

11. Do expired pregnancy tests work?

Yes, they might give you an accurate result but experts suggest otherwise as you don't have to take a chance. Generally, pregnancy test strips that are past their expiry date are way more likely to give you a false result (positive or negative) so it's best if you don't use them.
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