Where to Get a Free Pregnancy Test
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There’s nothing like the anticipation of wondering whether you could be pregnant when your period is late, but pregnancy tests are so expensive! Luckily, there are a few ways you can snag a free (or almost free!) test to help find out if you are pregnant.
How Do Pregnancy Tests Work?
Pregnancy tests measure the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in your urine. There are two lines that may appear on your test. The first is the control line, which will always darken as long as the test isn’t faulty. The second line will only show up if you are pregnant. This line measures HCG and you only make this hormone if you are pregnant. So even the faintest line is a positive result. No line at all could be a negative, or you could be pregnant but you’re testing too early. Wait a day or two and if your period doesn’t start, repeat the test.
How to Get a Free Pregnancy Test
Here are a few ways that you can get a free (or almost free) pregnancy test:
Your FSA Account
If your employer gives you a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), pregnancy tests will be covered. You can also buy prenatal vitamins with your FSA.
Many church-affiliated institutions will give you a free pregnancy test as well as guidance and support. These groups are formed to help young women lacking in resources get prenatal care and the help they need to raise a baby or perhaps give a baby up for adoption.
Some health plans will cover pregnancy tests, but many will not. Often plans for low-income people will give free pregnancy tests, and in some cases, they offer this service and more to anyone in need, no questions asked. Even if the health plan doesn’t help anyone who might be pregnant, they are likely to have in-house social workers who can help you get a free pregnancy test and the prenatal care you may need, so don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and reach out.
Planned Parenthood provides free pregnancy tests and free contraception to anyone who walks through their door. They will also do free STD/STI testing.
OB-GYN Welcome Gift
Some obstetrics offices offer a welcome gift when you sign up with one of their providers, and a pregnancy test is often included. But don’t sign up with just any provider for a free test. The nine months you spend in their care matters more, so do you research and choose a doctor who is a good fit.
If you’re engaged, ask your maid of honor to organize a gift basket from your friends that includes a pregnancy test or even a whole pack of them. It could be done as a bridal shower present or perhaps at your bachelorette party in a basket with lingerie and similar items. If you feel comfortable you could even add a pack of pregnancy tests to your gift registry!
Almost-Free Pregnancy Tests
You can get pregnancy tests for dirt-cheap if you know where to look. Buy them in bulk at Costco or on Amazon, or even snag one for a dollar at Dollar Tree.
The downside of getting a cheap pregnancy test instead of a pricier brand and make is accuracy. Cheaper pregnancy tests won’t give you a positive as more sensitive tests, which cost more. That being said, all pregnancy tests will give an accurate result by a certain point (usually a few days after you miss your period) so if you don’t feel like you must know right away, or you don’t mind testing several days in a row, low-cost tests could be fine.
Do I Need a Blood Test?
A urine test can be confirmed by a blood pregnancy test or an ultrasound. Blood pregnancy tests are more accurate than urine tests, because urine can dilute HCG so that it’s unable to be detected.
Generally, OB offices will not do a blood test until after you get a positive urine test at home, after a few weeks have passed. If you’re having trouble conceiving or have other medical issues, a blood test earlier on may be helpful.
If you want to save money, wait until your period is five days late to test for pregnancy. But if you just can’t wait, go for cheap or free tests because you may need to take a few!
Are you thinking about starting a family? Check out 10 Questions to Ask When Considering Starting a Family.