How to take a pregnancy test?

Dr Joanna Pike

Reviewed by Dr Joanna Pike on Mar 26, 2020

How to take a pregnancy test?


  • When you can test depends on the test you use – some can be used from 6 days before your missed period
  • Check the expiry date of the pregnancy test before using it and follow the instructions carefully
  • Use the first urine of the day if testing early and do not drink too much liquid before testing
  • You can test either directly in your urine stream or in a collected urine sample
  • All Clearblue tests take a maximum of 5 minutes and some can give a result in as fast as 1 minute
  • Make sure to read the instructions to know how to read your test correctly and find out what else you need to know
  • No matter the result, understand there is help and there are options for you whether you want to be pregnant or not

When can I take a pregnancy test?

Depending which test you choose, you can take a pregnancy test as early as 6 days before your missed period.  Find out more about testing early with Clearblue Digital Ultra Early Pregnancy Test

Rise of pregnancy hormone
(hCG) in early pregnancy

Relative hCG
hCG can start to appear in urine around this time
First day you can test with Clearblue Digital Ultra Early Pregnancy Test
Days before missed period

If you take a pregnancy test, any positive result, even a faint line means you’re pregnant. A negative result could either mean you’re not pregnant, or that you took the test too early for the pregnancy hormone to be detected by the test you used. Take another test a few days later if you still think there is a chance you’re pregnant. 

Use our tool to see when you can take a pregnancy test to understand when you can test. 

What do I need to know before starting a test

First, find the right pregnancy test for you. Then, there are a few things you should do before taking a pregnancy test, like: 

  • Check the expiry date on the box. Even if you’ve bought the test recently, it’s always a good idea to make sure the test you’ve purchased is still valid. An expired test may give you an unexpected result.
  • Use the first urine of the day if you’re testing early. Pregnancy tests look for the presence of the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone in your urine, which is more concentrated first thing in the morning. If you haven’t missed your period yet, your levels of hCG may not be high enough to be detected in more diluted urine. However, you can test any time of day if you’ve already missed your period as the pregnancy hormone level will be high enough to give a positive result at any time of the day if you are pregnant.
  • Do not drink too much liquid before testing. How much you drink before testing is especially important if you’re testing early, as too much liquid can dilute the hCG levels in your urine.
  • Decide how to test. If you want to collect a sample, have a clean cup to hand you can use. If you choose to test directly in your urine stream, make sure you have the test ready to use.
  • You may want to use a timer. Keeping track of the time you need to wait to read the results can help you be sure you’ve waited long enough. 

It’s one thing to get the test ready, but you may also want to prepare yourself for the results. Know your options if you do not want to be pregnant – there is help out there for you if you get a positive result and you’re hoping the test comes out negative. If you’re trying for a baby, and you get a negative result, don’t worry about it – it’s possible you took the test too early (if it’s before the date you expect your period) so you might want to take another test a few days later. Even if the result is negative, you can increase your chances of conception next month by using an ovulation test to know when your most fertile days are. If you’re anxious about the results, know that you have options no matter what you choose. 

Make sure you follow the instructions

Make sure you read the instructions on any Clearblue or any other brand of pregnancy test first. Although many tests will have a similar procedure to follow, other details, like how long you need to wait for the results, interpreting the results, and even when you can take the test will vary. If you need the instructions for any of our tests, you can download them below.

Ultra Early Pregnancy Test

Flip & Click Pregnancy Test

Fast & Easy Pregnancy Test

Double-Check & Date

Triple Check & Date

How to use a Clearblue pregnancy test

Simply follow the Clearblue instructions that come with your test, but most tests will have a similar procedure.

How to use a Clearblue pregnancy test: A step-by-step guide: 

  1. Remove the test stick from the wrapper and take off the cap. ​
  2. Place the absorbent tip in your urine stream for 5 seconds. Or, if you prefer, dip into a urine sample collected in a clean, dry container for 5 or 20 seconds, depending on the test you’re using. 
  3. Keep the absorbent tip pointing downwards throughout the testing process – i.e., never turn the stick with the absorbent tip pointing upwards.
  4. Replace the cap and lay the stick flat.
  5. Wait for 1 – 5 minutes according to the instructions for the test you are using. 
  6. Read the results. The instruction leaflet will tell you how to interpret your result and any next steps you should follow

How long should I wait for the result?

How long you need to wait for the results when using a pregnancy test at home depends on the brand and the test. All Clearblue pregnancy tests have a waiting time of 5 minutes or fewer . Some tests also take the anxiety out of this waiting period by offering you a countdown, or you can try our Rapid Detection Test which can give you a positive result as fast as 1 minute if you’re testing from the day of your missed period, however wait 3 minutes to confirm a negative result. 

How to read a pregnancy test

Once you’ve done your test and you’ve waited for the results, it’s time to understand them. If you want to know how to take a pregnancy test at home, check the instructions for your test first, but you can also read about positive test results and negative test results and what they mean. A digital pregnancy test will spell out your result, usually in words such as ‘Pregnant’ or ‘Not Pregnant’ whereas other tests will show you two lines or a positive symbol to confirm a positive result. 




Accuracy when you need it most

No brand is more accurate: our Pregnancy Tests are over 99% accurate from the day you expect your period, for confidence when you need it most.


Think you might be pregnant?

Discover Clearblue Digital Ultra Early, our most sensitive digital pregnancy test that gives you digital results 6 days early.

Test sensitivity is 10mIU/ml. 78% of pregnant results can be detected 6 days before your missed period.