can drug test detect pregnancy

Can Drug Test Detect Pregnancy? Is It Accurate?

Imagine this – you’ve been feeling a little off lately, and a tiny voice inside your head whispers: “what if I’m pregnant?” While the idea may be thrilling, it can also be nerve-wracking, especially if you’re not quite ready for parenthood. But what if you could confirm your suspicions with a drug test? 

Certain types of drug tests can indeed detect the presence of pregnancy hormones. However, their accuracy is still questionable since there’s the chance of getting a false positive or a false negative.

If you’re curious about the fascinating relationship between drug tests and pregnancy detection, then make sure to finish reading this article.

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Pregnancy Hormones and Drug Tests

Type of Drug TestAbility to Detect Pregnancy
Urine Drug TestCan produce a false positive result if the test is not designed specifically for pregnancy detection.
Blood Drug TestCan detect pregnancy by measuring the levels of hCG in the bloodstream.
Saliva Drug TestCan produce a false positive result if the test is not designed specifically for pregnancy detection.
Hair Follicle Drug TestNot applicable for pregnancy detection.

During pregnancy, a woman’s body produces HCG or the Human Chorionic Gonadotropin hormone.

Responsible for the several changes that come with pregnancy, some drug tests are able to detect its presence.

These are tests that are more commonly used in sports doping investigations or in fertility treatments to monitor hormone levels.

Understanding False Positives and Negatives

While some drug tests can detect Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, there is a risk of false positives and false negatives. 

A false positive occurs when a drug test indicates that a person is pregnant when they are not. This can happen:

  • If the person is taking medications that contain hCG
  • If they have a medical condition that causes hCG to be present in their system. 

A false negative occurs when a drug test indicates that a person is not pregnant when they are.

This typically happens if the test is taken too early in the pregnancy or if the test is not sensitive enough to detect low levels of hCG.

Accuracy of Drug Tests in Detecting Pregnancy

The accuracy of a drug test in detecting pregnancy depends on several factors. The list includes:

  • The sensitivity and specificity of the test
  • The timing of the test
  • The presence of other substances that may affect the results

Sensitivity refers to how well the test can detect low levels of hCG, which is the hormone that indicates pregnancy.

A highly sensitive test can detect very low levels of hCG, which means that it can detect pregnancy earlier than a less sensitive test. 

Specificity, on the other hand, refers to how well the test can distinguish between hCG and other substances that may be present in the body.

A highly specific test will not produce a false positive result due to the presence of other substances.

Factors that can affect the accuracy of drug tests in detecting pregnancy include the presence of medications or supplements that contain hCG, as well as medical conditions that can cause hCG to be present in the body. 

In addition, the timing of the test is important. hCG levels increase rapidly in the first few weeks of pregnancy and then level off.

If a test is taken too early in the pregnancy, it may produce a false negative result.

Do They Drug Test You When You’re Pregnant?

Drug testing during pregnancy is not a routine procedure and is not typically done unless there is a specific reason to do so.

In some cases, healthcare providers may recommend drug testing for the following:

  • Pregnant women who have a history of substance abuse, including marijuana and alcohol
  • Pregnant women who are currently using drugs
  • Pregnant women with exposure to drugs or alcohol during pregnancy.

Drug usage during pregnancy can have detrimental effects on the mother as well as the growing fetus.

Some drugs, including opioids and methamphetamine, can seriously harm the unborn child.

Its effects may include:

  • Preterm birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Developmental delays

In addition to pregnancy complications, drug use during pregnancy can increase the risk of complications during labor and delivery.

If a pregnant woman is suspected of using drugs, her doctor may recommend drug testing as part of her prenatal care.

The results of the drug test can help the healthcare provider develop a plan for managing any potential health problems related to drug use during pregnancy.

In some cases, drug treatment or counseling may be recommended to help the woman stop using drugs and improve her chances of having a healthy pregnancy.

It is critical to remember that drug testing during pregnancy should always be done with the woman’s agreement and in a nonjudgmental and supportive environment.

The purpose of prenatal drug testing is to ensure the health and well-being of both the mother and the growing child, as well as to give appropriate care and support to help the woman have a healthy pregnancy and infant.

Can Doctor Tell If You Are Pregnant from A Urine Sample?


Doctors can often tell if a woman is pregnant from a urine sample.

Urine tests are very sensitive and can detect hCG in the urine within a few days of a missed period.

These tests are widely available. In fact, there are tons of over-the-counter pregnancy tests. You can also get a urine test done in your doctor’s office or hospital.

If you are worried that you might be pregnant, you can take a urine test at home or see your healthcare provider for a test.

If the test is positive, the healthcare provider will likely recommend a follow-up visit to do a confirmatory test and discuss the next steps, such as prenatal care and screening tests.

What About Drug Blood Tests?


A drug blood test can detect the presence of drugs or their metabolites in a person’s bloodstream. However, a drug blood test is not typically used to detect pregnancy.

This is because pregnancy hormones, such as hCG, are typically not present in high enough levels in the bloodstream to be detected by a drug blood test.

Instead, pregnancy tests are designed to detect the presence of pregnancy hormones in a woman’s urine, which can be a more accurate and reliable way to confirm pregnancy.

In some cases, a blood test may be ordered by a healthcare provider to confirm a pregnancy or to monitor the levels of hCG in the bloodstream during pregnancy.

What To Do If You Get A Positive Result?

If you get a positive result after getting drug tested, see your healthcare provider to determine the best course of action.

In case you’re taking medications that contain hCG, it is important to inform your healthcare provider before taking a drug test. 

Don’t forget to inform the lab technician or medical review officer before taking the test if you suspect that you may be pregnant.


Drug tests can detect pregnancy by detecting the hormone hCG in a person’s system. However, the accuracy of the test depends on several factors. Plus, getting false results is still possible.

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