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The 7 Stages of Taking a Pregnancy Test

Woman holding a positive pregnancy test.
Photograph by Getty Images

Whether you're trying to conceive (TTC), or you just noticed your period just might be late, you probably know that you should definitely take a pregnancy test soon. A pregnancy test is not your average daily task, however, and most of us go through a few unique stages from start to finish.

No matter what, though, you'll want to buckle up—it can be a wild ride.

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1. The jitters

From the moment you decide you need to test, the anticipation builds. Pregnancy tests are a huge deal. It's one of the few tests of life that will make an enormous impact if the answer is "yes." Your heart might race, you might feel shaky, and you could feel lightheaded. You might feel like barfing, and you might sweat. You might start jabbering to strangers on Twitter, or holding a convo with your dog. Don't pass out, though!

2. The reading comprehension challenge

OK, not everyone messes up the test directions, but we're willing to bet that it takes a few tries to read the pregnancy test instructions to make sure that you know exactly how to take the test. You have make sure you pee on the stick for a certain amount of time, and it needs to be sat down in this way, right? Read it again to make sure.

No matter what result you're hoping for, chances are you're going to squint at the test to see if there's possibly another line popping up.

3. The peeing

Yes, home pregnancy tests require pee. Some people decide to catch their urine in a clean cup for dipping, and others decide to pee on the stick itself. These tasks, too, can be a huge challenge, as your aim may not be so great for either option, so be prepared to deal with pee going everywhere, including your hand, the toilet or the floor.

4. The agonizing wait

This is the hardest part. Some positive tests pop up with an answer within seconds, and some take their time. You may be eyeballing the test for up to 10 minutes to find out if you've got a potential future family member on board.

5. The squint

Pregnancy tests almost always have one line to let you know the test was performed properly (in other words, that you put enough pee on i.t. The other line—that's the one with the big answer. No matter what result you're hoping for, chances are you're going to squint at the test to see if there's possibly another line popping up. Is something forming? Is that a line? Should I take it outside to look at it with natural light? Should I take a picture of it to text it to my bestie? SHOULD I POST IT ON THE INTERNET? If you've chosen to pee on a digital test, this won't happen of course, but you'll be staring at it anyway to see what answer it comes up with.

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6. The realization

No matter what the result is, you're going to feel a ton of different emotions. Relief, excitement, joy, fear, uncertainty, blissful happiness—it's all possible, and it can all be possible in the space of a few moments. This is all normal, and if the test result is positive, it can continue to happen on a daily basis until your kid is 18 (or even longer, for some lucky moms.)

7. The crash

After a whirlwind of intense emotions, you'll probably experience a hardcore crash. Use that downtime to catch up on "Orange is the New Black" or some old "Twilight Zone" episodes and eat some pie—you do have to replenish all those calories you just expended, right?

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