Does Alcohol Affect Pregnancy Tests? It’s a natural question to ask. After all, our Bodies are forever in a state of delicate balance, and a few Chardonnays can very quickly upset that balance!
Pregnancy is the most defining moment of your life, and can take quite a lot of planning to enjoy it to it’s full potential. Unfortunately, our Body doesn’t really give away the gig for a few months, and we can find ourselves relying on that tiny stick to tell us the truth!
How Does A Pregnancy Test Work?
Typically, an over-the-counter pregnancy test you can do at home comes with instructions on the packaging. All you need to do is pee on the stick, and then it indicates confirmation with some symbol – such as a yes or no, single or double lines, or a positive or a negative.
The pregnancy test will display accurate results if taken a day after your missed period. However, there is always room for error. Make sure to follow all instructions attentively. If you are drunk, maybe wait until you are sober to do the test.
Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), also known as the pregnancy hormone, is produced by the placenta once someone is pregnant. Pregnancy tests detect hCG to indicate pregnancy.
Pregnancy tests are designed to trace this hormone within 12 days of egg implantation. So, it’s advised to do the test on the first day of your period. And in case you still haven’t gotten your period, do it again after a few days. We would strongly recommend buying multi-packs of pregnancy tests as this will save money in the long run.
Does Alcohol Affect a Pregnancy Test Directly?
Luckily, the Alcohol in your system will most likely not affect pregnancy test results. As alcohol does not change the levels of hCG in the bloodstream or urine, it does not directly impact the pregnancy test results.
Does Alcohol Affect a Pregnancy test Indirectly?
While alcohol does not affect a Pregnancy test Directly, it can indirectly and theoretically trigger some factors that could lead to a false negative.
Firstly, how hydrated you are before you do a pregnancy test can have a small impact on the pregnancy test. The reason is that the hCG levels will be diluted, and the concentration of hCG in urine matters.
Drinking Alcohol, particularly in large amounts, can leave you feeling Dehydrated. In response to this, many Women may over-compensate with the amount of Water they drink to counter-act this, which can dilute the Urine, and therefore the hCG levels.
Stats may vary, but research shows that 5% of pregnancy test results indicate false negatives, even when the users are pregnant. You may want to do a pregnancy test in your drunken state as soon as the thought occurs. However, chances are you have had way too much water to drink, and your urine is diluted, which could lead to a false negative while you are pregnant.
Even the pregnancy test box would typically advise you to do the test with your “first-morning urine”. This is the time when you’re less drunk, a little dehydrated, and your pee has the highest concentration of hCG, given you had a long sleep, and aren’t drinking fluids or urinating. A test taken at any other time of the day may have an impact on the result significantly earlier on in the pregnancy.
The false negative is not because you had alcohol, but the excess amount of liquid intake. How hydrated you are matters for a while, while your hCG levels are low at the very beginning of the egg implantation. Later in Pregnancy, once hCG levels are high, the test will most likely show a clear positive, regardless of how hydrated you are.
Furthermore, drinking may also cause:
- Poor Judgement
- Vision Problems
- Loss Of Balance
- Slowed Down Breathing And Heart Rate
- Lack Of Coordination
With blurry vision and a compromised thought process, there are fewer chances of you being able to follow the instructions. Your unsteadiness may make you lose your aim to pee on the stick. Or, since your judgment may be poor, you may loose track of time and check the test too soon. A Digital Pregnancy Test can help mitigate these risks significantly.
Other Factors That Affect Pregnancy Test
Previously we covered how diluted urine is, how early you are in your pregnancy, and how doing your test in the daytime can have different effects on your pregnancy test. However, there are plenty of other reasons that can cause a false positive or negative result. An incorrect impact may disturb you mentally as well as physically. This is why it’s helpful to know the following:
Quality of The Pregnancy Test
A pregnancy test needs at least 20 mIU/mL of hCG in urine or blood to get an accurate result. However, some test strips may not be good enough to detect hCG less than that.
You may find that some pregnancy tests are more sensitive than others. Ideally, buy a test more sensitive to even small amounts of hCG. If you are testing early, it is best to choose a test that is known to be highly sensitive.
The Clearblue Digital Pregnancy test will accurately detect pregnancy with as little as 10mIU/ml!
If you are looking for an alternative, you can opt for the following:
- First Response Early Pregnancy Test
- Ultra Early Pregnancy Test HCG Midstream
- Answer, One-Step Pregnancy Test
- Clear and Simple HCG Pregnancy Test
Some medications, such as fertility drugs and specific hormone therapies, can interfere with the accuracy of a pregnancy test. If you are taking any medications, it’s essential to consult your doctor before doing a pregnancy test for more accurate findings.
Certain Medical Conditions
Ovarian cysts and cancer are some of the many medical conditions that can also interfere with the accuracy of a pregnancy test. For instance, ovarian cancer can produce hCG, leading to a false positive pregnancy test. If you have a medical condition that could impact the test result, you must check with your doctor.
To err is human, so we will not skip out on how user error is a common factor that can impact the accuracy of a pregnancy test. Ensure reading and following the instructions that come with the test carefully. If misused, the pregnancy may produce inaccurate results. A Digital Pregnancy Test can make life much easier.
Certain pregnancy complications, such as a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy, can cause hCG to remain in your system even after the pregnancy has ended. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilised egg, instead of the uterus, implants outside it — usually in the fallopian tube. This can cause a positive pregnancy test. However, it is a medical emergency that requires prompt attention.
A chemical pregnancy occurs when a fertilised egg implants in the uterus but fails to develop. This can lead to a positive pregnancy test and a negative one a few days later.
The Misleading Positive Line
After a while, a faint line may appear on the pregnancy test. This is known as an evaporation line which appears on a pregnancy test after the recommended testing time has passed. In case you see this line, you should know that it is not a positive result and is misleading.
Past the Expiration Date
If you are drunk and in a hurry to grab a pregnancy test from the Petrol station, you still need to ensure it’s not expired. Pregnancy tests have an expiration date and should not be used after that date. Using an expired test can lead to inaccurate results.
Over time, the chemicals in the test may degrade, making it less effective at detecting hCG. Hence, it is vital to check the expiration date before using a pregnancy test.
Moreover, if you keep pregnancy tests stacked at home, store them in a cool, dry place. Exposure to heat or moisture can damage the test and lead to inaccurate results.
Recent Childbirth or Miscarriage
If you recently gave birth or had a miscarriage, your hCG levels will remain high in the body for a few weeks after. If you do a pregnancy test now, it could indicate a positive pregnancy test even though you may not be currently pregnant.
The Dreaded Pause
Menopause is no treat. Someone who goes through menopause no longer ovulates, so they cannot become pregnant. Rising hCG levels during menopause is also noticeable — leading to a false positive pregnancy test.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Typically, a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) does not impact the results of a pregnancy test. However, if there is a significant amount of blood in the urine due to the infection, it may potentially affect the accuracy of the test.
Someone undergoing fertility treatments, such as In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), may have higher levels of hCG in their urine. This can lead to a false positive pregnancy test or a positive test earlier than expected. It’s important to talk to your doctor about when to take a pregnancy test if you are undergoing fertility treatments.
Effect of Alcohol During Various Parts of Pregnancy
One fact is clear – Alcohol is not suitable for the baby. Whether it’s inside you or out. There is no type, quality or quantity of alcohol that will be recommended during any part of your pregnancy. According to the NHS, about 41% of women have alcohol during their pregnancy. Does Alcohol affect your Pregnancy Test? No. Does Alcohol Affect your Pregnancy? Yes.
Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can negatively affect the developing foetal physiology and anatomy at any stage of pregnancy. Following are some potential and detrimental impacts of alcohol consumption during each trimester.
The First Trimester
If you’ve had alcohol in the first to the third week of pregnancy, chances are it hasn’t hurt the baby yet, as the placenta is still developing. However, following those weeks, during the first trimester, the major organs and body systems of the foetus will develop. Alcohol consumption during this time can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, or a range of physical and intellectual disabilities, such as:
- Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs)
- Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder
- Alcohol-Related Birth Defects.
The first trimester is considered to be the most critical time for foetal development. The face and brain of the baby are also developed during this time. It is recommended that pregnant women refrain from alcohol altogether.
The Second Trimester
During the second trimester, the foetus continues to develop rapidly and begins to form more complex brain structures. It will develop most vital brain structures during this period and start recognising sleep cycles. It also reacts to stimuli, and its eyes and nose find their place on the face.
Alcohol consumption during this time can cause further damage to the developing brain and nervous system, potentially leading to cognitive deficits, learning disabilities, and behavioural problems.
Alongside the many milestones your baby reaches during the second trimester, it is also growing in size and weight.
The Third Trimester
As we come to the third trimester, the foetus is putting on more weight and developing more complex neural connections. Alcohol consumption during this time can increase the risk of preterm labour, low birth weight, and a range of other complications.
Additionally, alcohol can pass through breast milk, which is why it is recommended that breastfeeding women also avoid alcohol consumption.
If you are concerned about alcohol consumption or need support to quit/reduce the levels you are Drinking, consult your healthcare provider for guidance and resources. Perhaps a baby is going to finally be the reason you go to AA meetings and get your first milestone chip!
Warnings if You are Trying to Conceive
We have already mentioned how drinking alcohol can decrease fertility and increase the risk of miscarriage and congenital disabilities. If you are trying to conceive, it is best to avoid alcohol or limit your intake to one drink per day.
However, there are several things you should be aware of to optimise your chances of getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy. Here are some important warnings to keep in mind:
Skip the Smoke
Whether you are a man or a woman, smoking harms fertility. It can also increase the risk of miscarriage, premature birth, and low birth weight. If you smoke, quitting is one of the best things you can do to improve your chances of getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy.
Being overweight can make it harder to conceive and increase the risk of complications during pregnancy. Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise can improve your chances of getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy. For further guidance, we have produced an article on Weight Gain During Pregnancy.
Sexually transmitted Infections (STIs)
These infections damage the reproductive system and increase the risk of infertility, miscarriage, and preterm birth. If you or your partner have any symptoms of an STI, get tested and treated before trying to conceive.
Some medications can affect fertility, so you must talk to your doctor about any prescription or over-the-counter drugs you take if you are trying to conceive.
Exposure to certain chemicals and toxins, such as pesticides and lead, can also affect fertility and increase the risk of birth defects. Avoiding exposure to these toxins as much as possible can help protect your reproductive health.
Remember that your doctor or a fertility specialist can better guide you if you have any concerns or questions about conceiving. They can provide you with personalised advice and recommendations based on your personal health history and circumstances.
We can not stress this enough, but the high levels Stress can Impact Ovulation Cycles, and decrease sperm production, which can make it harder to conceive. Finding ways to manage stress, such as exercise, meditation, or therapy, can help improve your chances of getting pregnant. So, along with your doctor’s treatment, you also need to take a chill pill.
Fertility declines with age, so if you are over 35, it may take longer to get pregnant. But it is not impossible. With the help of your doctor, you can find out about your options for fertility testing and treatment if you have been trying to conceive for a year or more without success.
In conclusion, Alcohol does not affect Pregnancy Tests. But it’s probably best to err on the side of caution and avoid excessive drinking if you’re trying to conceive. After all, you wouldn’t miss the opportunity to celebrate your good news with a toast (or two) of your favourite bubbly!
Plus, if you get a positive pregnancy test, you’ll want to be at your best to handle all the excitement (and morning sickness) that comes with it.
So, here’s to staying happy, healthy, and hydrated – with or without alcohol – as you navigate the ups and downs of pregnancy and parenthood. Cheers!