Is There A Condition Called “Pregnancy Test Addiction”?

Pregnancy Test Addiction

If you’re TTC, you know the temptation to POAS during the TWW. Translation? If you’re trying to conceive, you’ve probably been tempted to “pee on a stick” (i.e., take a home pregnancy test) during the “two week wait” between ovulation and your period due date. The urge to find out if you’re expecting is strong, but are some parents-to-be taking it too far?

Addicted to Pregnancy Tests?

A casual glance through pregnancy apps and social media will tell you that many women devote a lot of thought, hope, and worry to taking pregnancy tests. As of writing this post, there were more than 4,000 public posts on Instagram labeled with the #poasaddict hashtag. The fertility app, Glow, has a forum dedicated specifically to “Faint Lines/No BFP,” where members can seek extra eyes to decide whether a test might be positive.

Even parents with a confirmed pregnancy are susceptible to overtesting. Research from UK website Channel Mum found that women in their sample took an average of 6 tests to confirm that they really were pregnant. More than 60% of pregnant participants said they took repeat pregnancy tests, and 1 in 12 tested all the way up to their 12-week doctor’s appointment.

Does it make sense to call this compulsion an addiction? Sort of. Taking pregnancy tests isn’t an addiction in the clinical sense, the way someone with an alcohol or gambling problem experiences addiction. But in the colloquial sense, where “addiction” refers to a bad habit or guilty pleasure that someone does more often than they feel they should, or causes anxiety, you could definitely say some people are hooked.

Why Are People Testing So Often?

Trying to conceive can be a frustrating and isolating experience, especially if it’s taking longer than anticipated while other friends and family seem to have no trouble getting pregnant. Turning to social media can provide some people with much-needed support and validation. Members of fertility-minded communities on social media wish one another “baby dust” for good luck and find a sympathetic ear for topics that otherwise don’t get much attention. Posting pregnancy test photos is another way to build these online connections, and seeing dozens of these photos can make members feel like it’s normal to test early and often.

Once pregnant, parents-to-be may worry how their embryo is doing. The early stages of pregnancy are critical for development, but symptoms can be minimal or absent. Without a baby bump, kicks, or even morning sickness, some parents may view positive tests as their best indication that everything is still doing fine.

POAS Problems

Admittedly, there are worse things in life (and certainly more serious addictions) than feeling the urge to use multiple home pregnancy tests. Even so, social media posts suggest many hopeful parents-to-be associate Test Day with anxious feelings. Taking pregnancy tests, especially multiple ones, comes with some downsides:

  1. It can get expensive. Some brands of pregnancy test may cost $7 or more each! That’s a lot of money to (literally) flush down the toilet.
  2. Testing can be a source of stress. Does a negative test make you cry? Do you spend days after ovulation counting down to the day you’ve decided to test? Stressing over getting the second line for a positive test doesn’t help you. You might have a more peaceful TWW if you can direct your attention away from monitoring your body and squinting at tests.
  3. Testing isn’t necessary. Your body has natural signals to indicate that you’re pregnant. The most obvious one is a missed period. While most pregnancy tests advertise early results, you’ll get the most accurate result by waiting to miss your period before testing.
Jessica Sillers
Jessica Sillers is a parenting and finance writer whose work has been featured in Pregnancy & Newborn, Headspace, and more. As a new mom herself, she’s passionate about helping other parents find the community and support they need. When she’s not writing, she loves spending time with her family, reading, and hiking.

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