Are Pregnancy Tests From The Dollar Store Actually Reliable? (Here's Why They May Be Better Than Drug Store Alternatives)

Whether you are hoping for a positive or hoping for a negative, waiting those few minutes for the results of a pregnancy test to show up can be anxiety-inducing and stressful. The last thing you need at that moment is for a false result to appear. In a critical moment such as that one, when you're waiting oh so patiently (not!), is it worth dishing out the extra dollars for an expensive test to ensure correct results? Or, does a quick trip to the dollar store suffice? The answer may surprise you.

For a quick rundown on how pregnancy tests actually work, they are designed to detect a pregnancy hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). When an embryo is present and the placenta is established, the placenta produces this hormone very expeditiously in the early days of pregnancy. Pregnancy tests detect the presence of this hormone in urine (blood tests are even more accurate). Some pregnancy tests detect as low as 6.5mlU/ml! Trust us, that's impressive considering 5mlU/ml is considered not pregnant and by only 9-12 weeks, hCG rises from between 25,700 to 288,000mlU/ml.

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With expensive tests, such as First Response and Clear Blue, they are designed to detect pregnancy earlier than cheaper alternatives (as early as 6 days before your missed period). The price tag comes from the brand name, the technology, the convenience of knowing sooner, and the impression that they're more reliable than the competition. What a lot of people don't realize is that in normal cases, if you're pregnant, you will get a positive test result no matter which test you use.

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Dollar store tests work similarly to the expensive tests, detecting hCG in the urine. The difference (and somewhat downside to the dollar store ones) is that they don't detect the pregnancy as soon as the expensive ones, but will still normally detect it after a missed period. In saying that, however, the advantage to dollar store tests as compared to the more expensive digital ones is that it's much easier to detect if the pregnancy is progressing smoothly because every day, if a test is taken, the line indicating positive should become darker and darker if hCG is rising normally (as stated by Christina Hernandez Sherwood from The Washington Post). To reassure you even further, according to USA Today, "The Food and Drug Administration [(FDA)] regulates home pregnancy tests, meaning if it's sold in the U.S, it is the real deal".

So whether you want to go all out and buy a fancy pregnancy test or buy several cheap ones, in the end, chances are pretty good that the results will turn out to be the same. Rest assured that if you can't afford a "good quality test", you can still have an accurate test result (depending on how early you test). Dollar store tests are just as accurate as their counterparts, just not quite as sensitive.

Please remember to always see a doctor if you believe that you are pregnant, even if you have taken a test already. 

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