A report from the U.K. parenting site ChannelMum.com found that 62 percent of British moms-to-be take additional pregnancy tests after learning they’re pregnant, despite the high costs of each individual test, The Independent reports. ChannelMum.com dubbed the trend “pregnancy test addiction.”
The study, based on a survey of 1,435 moms, also found that 7 percent of women will go on to take ten pregnancy tests, and one in 20 women will take 16 or more to ensure that they are pregnant.
“For many women, the journey to pregnancy is a long and emotional one,” he says. “In most cases, there are few symptoms of pregnancy early on and testing can be a way to reassure a woman that they are still pregnant.”
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Dr. Molinaro says that a few women look to the tests for a deeper meaning.
“There are also some patients that believe that darker test lines indicate that the pregnancy is going well and that lighter test lines may be a sign of impending miscarriage. Neither of these scenarios are definitive and patients should not stop medications in the belief that they are not pregnant or miscarrying on the basis of home tests when undergoing infertility treatments,” he says.
The case of “pregnancy test addiction” is also prevalent in circles of women with a history of infertility, as outlets such as Vice‘s Broadly section have pointed out. Groups around pregnancy test addiction, like the Pee On a Stick Freak Facebook group, have popped up as a community for women dealing with infertility.
“Dealing with infertility is an emotional process and the monthly rollercoaster of detecting ovulation, planning intercourse and then waiting — “the two week wait” [before a pregnancy shows up on blood tests performed at a doctor’s office] — can be extremely trying,” Dr. Molinaro says. “Using home pregnancy tests can be a way to shorten the two week wait for many women in hopes that they will detect pregnancy early. For others, the negative pregnancy tests confirm that they are not pregnant and can be devastating.”
Dr. Molinaro advises women who are trying to get pregnant to hold off on taking additional tests.
“Home pregnancy tests are empowering tools that allow women to understand their bodies and determine when they may be pregnant,” he says. “However, month after month of negative pregnancy tests can have a dramatic impact on a woman’s quality of life and those with infertility should seek out an evaluation with an infertility specialist sooner than later. Working with a reproductive endocrinologist can help to lessen the burden of trying to conceive and hopefully shorten the time to pregnancy.”