Do dollar store pregnancy tests actually work?

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Do dollar store pregnancy tests actually work?

Some home pregnancy tests are more sensitive, fancier and pricier than the low-tech dollar tests. But does that make dollar store tests less accurate?

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  • Parenting
  • Money
  • Health-Safety
Sonja Haller, USA TODAY Published 12:54 p.m. ET Feb. 22, 2019 | Updated 12:58 p.m. ET Feb. 22, 2019

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Am I pregnant? Finding out the answer to that life-changing question isn't something women want to gamble with.

But knowing which at-home pregnancy test to use is a quandary all on its own. Should you shell out $15-plus for a fancy one or will a humble dollar-store pregnancy test be reliable?

The answer might surprise you.

First, here's what you need to know about confirming pregnancy with a home test.

The following applies to all tests, from the cheap ones to the fancy digital ones that count down, flash and even spell out the word "pregnant."

  • When women pee on or dip test sticks in urine, the test is designed to pick up traces of the pregnancy hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin, or HCG . This hormone enters your bloodstream and urine shortly after a fertilized egg attaches to the uterine lining and the placenta forms.
  • The best time to take the test is the day after a woman's first missed period . This is assuming a woman has a regular cycle.
  • For the most accurate results, take the test when you wake up before urine is diluted.
  • Whether a pregnancy test has words or a plus or minus sign or two lines, there is is often a control indicator — a line or symbol in a window that shows it's working . If it doesn't show up, take another test.
  • Read the instructions before taking the test.

So are dollar store pregnancy tests accurate?

The answer is yes. Yes they are.

The Food and Drug Administration regulates home pregnancy tests , meaning if it's sold in the U.S, it is the real deal.

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"I would only caution that it needs to be sold legally," said Stephanie Caccomo, FDA spokeswoman.

So, women asking the big question can rest assured that tests from both the drug store and the dollar store are a safe bet. The more expensive versions may be easier to use or more sensitive (so you'll know the answer sooner). But the bargain ones will work and are accurate.

if you're still nervous, you can check the name of your home pregnancy kit on the FDA-approved home and lab tests site .

Praise for dollar tests

One mom wrote she actually prefers the low-tech dollar store tests . After suffering an early miscarriage, Christina Hernandez Sherwood learned the pink line should get darker every day as more of the pregnancy hormone is pumped through the body.

The next time she was pregnant, she used dollar store tests. As the line got darker with each day and each test, she was reassured her pregnancy was progressing and she wasn't miscarrying.

"The great thing about dollar-store pregnancy tests (yes, other than the price) is that they're so flimsy you can open them up to peer closely at the tell-tale line. And that's exactly what I did when I expected I was pregnant again," she said.

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