How Long Can You Keep Urine For A Pregnancy Test?


When the time comes to take an at-home urine pregnancy test, you may want to have someone nearby that can share in your joyous experience. But what happens if that person doesn’t live with you, or they’ve already headed out to work and you want to use FMU (first morning urine) because you hope to get an early result. Here’s how long you can keep urine for pregnancy testing purposes so that you can share it with your partner as soon as possible!

It’s best to use your urine sample right away. You may get accurate results for up to 6-7 hours if the urine is kept at room temperature, but refrigerating it can extend this time to 24 hours. Once you have used a test strip from the urine sample, throw the rest of the sample away.

Urine tests for detecting the pregnancy hormone hCG at home during early pregnancy differ in their use between manufacturer, and ‘analog’ tests (with the lines) are sometimes different to digital pregnancy tests. If you need to store urine for testing, try to do it for the least amount of time possible.

How can I store a urine sample in the refrigerator?

If you can’t give your urine sample within one hour, place it in a sealed plastic bag and store it at around 4C in the fridge. Keep it for no more than 24 hours. If the bacteria in your urine sample don’t stay under this temperature, they can grow and possibly affect the test results.

When you are ready to test with urine you’ve kept in the fridge, let it return to normal room temperature first.

Samples provided at your doctor’s office are more controlled – the way they store urine for testing is going to mean it can be stored for longer. Your doctor will provide you with an airtight container to collect your sample, then store it in a sealed plastic bag. The risk of bacteria increasing enough to affect the pregnancy test will be significantly less. Samples stored for home pregnancy test kits won’t last as long.

Can you hold a pregnancy test in urine too long?

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions – there are different rules depending on the brand, whether you are testing yourself or having the test done at a doctor’s office.

The First Response In Stream Test can be used either in the urine stream while you go to the toilet, or be dipped in a collection cup, but in either case their tests require immersion for 5 seconds only.

Clearblue tests need to be immersed between 5 and 20 seconds for reliable results, so there is quite a range!

You may find that you are able to best time things if you collect a pee sample to test in a container, rather than use a midstream pregnancy test while you go to the toilet. You can still use most midstream tests in a sample you’ve already collected.

How long should I hold my pee for a pregnancy test?

For a pregnancy test, you can simulate first-morning urine by not going to the toilet for at least four hours. The first-morning urine sample is ideal for most at-home pregnancy tests since the highest quantity of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is found in a woman’s first urine of the day.

If you’re hoping to detect a pregnancy before your missed period, first morning urine will be your best bet for picking up rising hCG levels. If you can’t hold for very long, you may have more luck with a more sensitive test which will return a positive result with a lower hCG concentration.

Can I test pregnancy with the second urine of the day?

If you can’t get a first morning sample, you can still get a positive pregnancy test with urine samples from later in the day. By the time you’re on the first day after your missed period, you should be able to use a urine sample from any time during the day.

In the first few weeks of pregnancy, some women report having a positive test result in the morning, but a negative result later on in the day. This could be a sign that pregnancy hormone levels are not high enough.

Pregnancy test accuracy statistics are generally based on using first morning urine samples. If you’re still early on during pregnancy and can’t get a first morning urine sample, you will get the most reliable results by visiting a doctor for a blood based hCG test. Many medical practices can turn results from these tests around very quickly.

How many hours does it take for hCG to build up in urine?

A home pregnancy test picks up the concentration of the hCG found in your pee. The amount of hCG in your body incrementally increases during early pregnancy, but the amount able to be detected in your urine will change.

You will want to wait at least 4 hours after you last went to the bathroom, to be able to test the most concentrated urine sample possible. If you can’t wait, try to avoid drinking any fluids – these could dilute the concentration of hCG and result in a false-negative test result.

Most pregnancy test kits can detect hCG in the urine as early as 3-4 days after implantation, although it usually takes longer. If you’re pregnant on the day you miss your period, roughly 74 percent of home pregnancy tests will be sensitive enough to pick up the hCG to give you a positive test result.

In conclusion – try to test the most recent sample that you can

When you’re hoping to have a baby, those first weeks of not knowing can be exciting, nerve wracking, and scary. Whether you’re waiting to share the test experience and results with your partner, or thought you had a spare test but have realised you’ve run out, using a container to collect pee to test is absolutely an option.

Use a new pregnancy test kit on the most recent sample you can, and if it is positive – pay your doctor a visit for a blood test to confirm the result. You don’t need to take your container with you – most doctors will give you a fresh container to collect a new sample for their own dip test prior to sending you for blood work.

Carly Wight

Mother of two young boys (6 and 3!) and an avid "Googler", Carly is the kind to research something to the nth degree. Be it about products, hacks, or techniques, she shares what she finds out at her website - Fairy Good Mommy.

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