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Can Coffee Cause a False Positive Pregnancy Test?

woman in bed holding an empty mug

The hormone that is detected through pregnancy is called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG).1 This hormone is used in women to accurately predict whether they are pregnant or not. A pregnancy test uses levels of hCG in the urine to detect a positive or negative pregnancy test.

With this process, there may be things you drink that could affect the results of a pregnancy test. Can drinking coffee cause a false positive pregnancy test? No, drinking coffee will not cause a false pregnancy test. Keep reading to find out why.

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Why Doesn’t Caffeine Cause A False Pregnancy Test?

So, you may be wondering if there’s a correlation between caffeine and pregnancy tests. This is a valid question in the sense that women urinate on the tip of the test, and coffee is filtered through the body through urine.

However, coffee and other caffeinated beverages won’t make a difference to your test results in general. The only thing that may indirectly occur is that coffee, tea, or other caffeinated beverages make you pee a lot. The more you go to the washroom the more your urine is filtered through. That means that you could actually get a false negative pregnancy test due, not a false positive one, due to lower amounts of hCG in diluted urine.

positive pregnancy test
Image Credit: JuliaFiedler, Pixabay

What Shouldn’t You Drink Before a Pregnancy Test?

Too much water will dilute your urine too much for an accurate test. The preference for taking a pregnancy test is to try it when your urine is most concentrated; this would be right when you wake up, for example. If your urine is diluted with water or another beverage, this could cause some concern in terms of an inaccurate pregnancy test.

What Can Cause a False Pregnancy Test?

The following situations can cause a false pregnancy test (either positive or negative): testing too early, using the pregnancy test incorrectly, being on certain medications, or having certain medical conditions.

Inaccurate hCG Levels

As mentioned above, a pregnancy test is used by urinating on the end of a stick that determines pregnancy through the hormone hCG. If the levels of this hormone are above a certain threshold, the test results will be positive. However, false positives are common.

If you ever see women running through their local drug store grabbing every pregnancy test off the shelf, it’s because many women take several different tests before being sure. Of course, this is always followed up by a doctor. This is partially accurate because a few things can cause a false positive.

If you take the test way too early, you may receive a false positive. This is because your body may begin the process of egg fertilization, but the pregnancy isn’t successful. These can occur for numerous reasons but can cause false positives.

negative pregnancy test
Image Credit: Roman Wimmers, Unsplash

Taking the Test at the Wrong Time/Being on Certain Medications

The other possibility for false-positive pregnancy tests could be using the test incorrectly. Not following the instructions like not waiting long enough to test your urine, could result in faulty test results. In addition, being on certain medications or having a medical illness can affect the results of a pregnancy test.

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The Bottom Line: Coffee Won’t Be the Sole Reason for a False Positive

It’s safe to say you don’t have to skip your morning coffee if you’re planning on taking a pregnancy test, but it is highly recommended to avoid drinking it right before you take it if you want the most accurate result. Something like a growing human baby inside your body will be pretty important to be sure about!

Take caution by consulting with your doctor after a positive pregnancy test, check with them about the current medications you’re on, and follow the instructions to a T. Coffee itself might not give you a false positive, but it can give you a false negative. And, there are other things that might give you a false positive instead.

Featured Image Credit: Amin Hasani, Unsplash


Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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