Whether you're struggling with infertility or starting to try to conceive, pregnancy tests can cost you a fortune. With sensitive tests that allow you to test a few days before your period, it's not uncommon for women to use several tests each cycle. If you're spending a fortune on pregnancy tests, learn how to save money and adjust your testing habits.
Beware the urge to test early
Just because you can test early with sensitive strips doesn't mean it's a great idea. When you test a few days before you anticipate your period, you may end up using more than one test or even a handful of them until you get the results you're hoping for (or your period). If you're finding that you're spending too much money testing, try to talk yourself into waiting a few more days. That way you won't wonder if you tested too early or whether your urine was too diluted or did the test wrong. These are all recipes for using another test and spending another $7 to $15.
Comparison shop for tests
Not every test is the same. Use a style you're comfortable with. For example, you may prefer a digital readout to a dye line. Many testing women find that test strips with blue lines have a higher incidence of inaccuracy when it comes to reading the results. Some blue dye tests also end up with an evaporation line if you check the test much later (which is not advised). As you shop, read the packages to determine the test's sensitivity. You should find a number next to "mIU/hCG." The lower the number the better. The most sensitive tests are around 25 mIU/hCG. A dollar store brand with high sensitivity should measure up to an expensive brand with high sensitivity.
Consider using bargain test strips
While struggling with infertility, Erin Richardson would often test five times a month. "I soon realized that the drugstore testing was going to be too pricey for this sort of venture," Erin says. "I found discount test strips online and packages of 20 or more could be purchased. They were not fancy or contained in a stick but they were affordable and did the trick." The discount test strips confirmed each of her pregnancies accurately (Amazon, $25). Whether you test with bargain strips or expensive tests, try to use your first morning urine for the highest concentration of hormones.
Know that you're not alone
Don't be ashamed of your pregnancy testing habits if you use several a month. "I peed on so many sticks we could've played Jenga with them," says Susan Smith. Pregnancy testing is an emotional experience no matter what you're hoping for. Some women even continue testing after a positive, just to soothe worries about how the pregnancy is going. "I would test, then test an hour later. Then at night," says Jen Howard. Though you shouldn't be embarrassed about frequent pregnancy testing, talk to your doctor if you're struggling to conceive or you're at all worried.