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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.