A character takes a pregnancy test and waits — eagerly or anxiously — for the results. Usually something turning blue or a double line. The test itself looks for hCG, a hormone present in the urine of pregnant people.
When used in a plot, a pregnancy test can be used for:
- Building tension and wringing drama out of a character's potential pregnancy. What is at stake if the pregnancy test doesn't give her the result she wants?;
- Allowing a main character to dramatically declare "I'm pregnant!" but if the test is negative then the writers don't have to follow through with a whole pregnancy storyline. Alternatively, even negative tests can lead to an episode where a character reviews her life and her goals and the pros and cons of having children in the near future or ever;
- A heroine having to jump through hoops to find out the results, which are intercepted by someone else; or
- Jokes about inappropriate pregnancy test use.
The precursor for this trope would probably be called "The Rabbit Died", which is itself a biology-fail about how the old method of pregnancy-testing worked.
It can overlap with Law of Inverse Fertility and it may lead to a Pregnancy Scare. Sometimes constitutes Artistic License Biology, if the writer doesn't actually have a clue how pregnancy tests work.
- A Coors ad celebrates the test and the beer turning blue, respectively indicating the wife was to have a baby and the husband a cold beer.
- A series of ads for e.p.t. brand pregnancy tests from the early 1990s showed three different Real Life couples waiting for the results: one wanted a pregnancy and got it, the second wanted a pregnancy and didn't get it, the third (rarely seen) didn't want a pregnancy and didn't get it. The fourth option was never filmed. (Here's a short article about the ads.)
- A televised ad for Michelin tires shows an excited husband drive home to meet his wife, who's holding a pregnancy test stick. The implied message is that Michelin tires won't fail during critical moments in life ... or that pregnant women forget how to use a phone.
- A 2021 Clearblue ad features three women awaiting a pregnancy test result: a student with a Pregnancy Scare, a businesswoman whos not completely ready for a baby yet and a third woman whos been trying for a baby with her partner. The ending shows them all with happy expressions, implying they got the result they wanted.
- The first season of I Can't Understand What My Husband Is Saying ends with Kaoru taking a pregnancy test. It's seemingly negative, but turns positive when she shows it to Hajime. In keeping with the series status as being Reference Overdosed, Kaoru's pose is a partial recreation of the Pregnancy Announcement Meme.
- Played for laughs in The Fat Slags in Viz. Sandra takes a pregnancy test and pees on the stick while she's still in the aisle at the chemists'. She makes a huge puddle of urine on the floor and says "Aw, fuck it Tray, it's gone all ower me knickers!" (She does turn out to be pregnant, by the way.)
- Ultimate Wolverine: Magda checked that she got pregnant with Wolverine, and realized that Nothing Is the Same Anymore.
- Morticia Is Pregnant: Morticia Addams takes a pregnancy test. She's pregnant.
- In the first chapter of The Test, Lilly asks her boyfriend Hisao to help her take a test because she's blind and can't read the results. When the test comes out positive, Hisao almost has a heart attack due to his weak heart.
- Lifecycle of a Rose contains a scene where Summer is nervous about telling Taiyang that she's pregnant. They're already taking care of the toddler-aged Yang, so Summer worries that Tai might not want a second baby. However, Taiyang takes the news happily.
- The Jennifer Lopez movie The Back-up Plan adds a little more anxious waiting as the dog grabs the EPT prior to a result being displayed. When the dog finally barfs back up the broken pieces, she finds out that she is in fact expecting.
- In Godzilla (1998), Nick uses one if the monster is a she. It turns out that the monster is asexual.
- In the opening scene of Juno, sixteen-year-old Juno takes the test and discovers she's pregnant, kicking off the plot of the movie.
- Kill Bill Vol. 2 features the Bride taking a pregnancy stick-test (complete with reading instructions aloud). Shortly after, an assassin shoots in the door, but the Bride is able to convince the assassin to leave by showing her the (positive) test.
- 21 Jump Street, episode "Higher Education": The opening scene is a teenage girl doing a pregnancy test. It is intercut with a scene of a teacher in a class, and later it becomes clear that she has actually become pregnant by that teacher after he sexually abused her. Note that this was filmed in the '80s, and apparently the technology back then was not to pee on a stick, but rather in a vial.
- Liz Lemon does this in an episode of 30 Rock and the results turn out positive. However, that is because her favorite chips contain "mas semen del toro".
- Beverly Hills, 90210: Brenda (then 16) does a pregnancy test, with best friends Kelly and Donna also present for support, when she suspects she might be pregnant after starting sleeping with Dylan. The result is ambiguous since the test turns green while it is supposed to be either red or blue, so she has to go to a doctor (she turns out NOT to be pregnant). Later her parents find the used test in her trash, which leads to a conflict between Brenda and her parents about her relationship with Dylan.
- The Big Bang Theory
- On episode "The Romance Resonance" Penny reveals that one of the items in her keepsake box about Leonard is the pee-stick from the time she thought she might have accidentally gotten pregnant. Well, just the first pee-stick; she didn't keep all of them.
- On the Whole Episode Flashback, "The Staircase Implementation", after Leonard tells the story of how the elevator was out of order, he asks Penny of what was the stupidest thing she has ever done. Penny recalls from six years ago high five-ing one of her ex-boyfriends in her bedroom in Nebraska that she wasn't pregnant while checking the pregnancy test.
- Used on Bones in an overlap with Mistaken for Pregnant...the test was found in the garbage, and Cam was afraid it was her adopted daughter, but it was Angela's...though Angela's actual pregnancy didn't occur until later.
- In season 1, Piper took a pregnancy test out of worry that her relationship with Jeremy had long-term consequences. Touching the pregnancy test gave Phoebe a premonition of what she thought was Piper giving birth to a demon. They later figured out that the woman in the vision was actually the Monster of the Week.
- Phoebe got a false positive in season 8, which disappointed her because according to the timeline she constructed from her visions, her future daughter was supposed to be conceived around that time.
- In the third season finale of Coupling ("Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps"), Sally is terrified that she might be pregnant (due to having sex with a guy named Peter), so she persuades Susan (who has a medical condition which prevents her from getting pregnant) and Jane (who may have had fun with the pizza man, despite being in a relationship with James, a chaste virgin) to do the same so that she'll know what a negative result looks like. At the end of the episode, it's Susan who's pregnant, much to the surprise of Steve, her boyfriend.
- Invoked and subverted on an episode of Community thanks to the resident Cloud Cuckoolander:
Troy: [poking through Annie's purse] What does a pregnancy test look like?Jeff: Like a little stick with a thing on it.Troy: [pulling the object out] Okay, so this is definitely a gun.
- In a flashback on The Dick Van Dyke Show Laura tells Rob she's pregnant by saying "the rabbit died."
- Frasier: After they decide to start trying for a baby Niles comes home one day to find Daphne waiting for him in a negligee with oysters because she took an ovulation test and it says she's currently ovulating. As they start to head the bedroom Niles realises that she actually took a pregnancy test, which looks identical to the ovulation one, and if it's positive that means Daphne's already pregnant.
- On Friends, Phoebe and Rachel find a positive pregnancy test in Monica's bathroom and assume she's pregnant. Turns out the test is Rachel's.
- Implied in the pilot episode of Girls, where Jessica happens to be sitting on the toilet when she tells Marnie that she's pregnant. ("Personal space" doesn't really seem much of an issue for the characters.)
- Stacey from Gavin & Stacey also goes to buy one of these, but finds an old school rival working at the pharmacist's. Hilarity Ensues.
- The mid-season finale of Glee's fourth season, "I Do", ends with the characters singing "Anything Could Happen" intercut with one of the main characters getting a positive result on a pregnancy test after a brief reunion with her ex-boyfriend. The episode after that reveals it's a false positive, but the event still gives her reason to re-think where she is in life over the rest of the season.
- How I Met Your Mother:
- In the Season 6 episode, appropriately titled "False Positive", Marshall and Lily get ecstatic when the home pregnancy test reads positive, and the gang celebrates with them. Unfortunately, it turns out that it was a false alarm, and the whole gang contemplates about it and react to the events prior to the announcement. Lily eventually got pregnant, for real, on the season finale.
- In the Finale Season episode "Daisy", Ted and the Gang set out to The Captain's house to look for Lily and why did she go there after a fight with Marshall. Since Ted has noticed Lily being stressed out over the wedding weekend, he assumed that she was smoking. Upon taking wild guesses (which includes boats as three separate answers from the Captain) and some thorough investigations, Ted confidently concluded that what he found inside the daisy pot was —
Ted: ...a pregnancy test...
William Zabka: You could smoke those?
Barney: Lily peed on it. You touched it. Gross.
- In The King of Queens Carrie Heffernan is forced by circumstances to take a pregnancy test in a hotel in China. She buys it locally. Anxious husband Doug hovers and is forced to exclaim
Which is it? Dragon or Monkey???
- An episode of Martin had Gina try to take the test. She couldn't work up enough urine, so Martin gave her a liter of Coke to chug.
- M*A*S*H: Margaret thinks she might be pregnant after a getaway with her husband. The standard test uses a female rabbit but the only one available belongs to Radar. They talk him into using his rabbit but he demands that they not kill her - so they perform surgery to remove her ovaries in order to test them.
- Murphy Brown: When Murphy discovered she was pregnant, Frank asked her what was wrong. Her cryptic response of "The stick turned blue" caused to reply with a bewildered Spy Speak "The dog barks at midnight?"
- On Parks and Recreation Andy finds a pregnancy test and spends the episode investigating as Burt Macklin before discovering that none of the main female characters are pregnant, but Ron's girlfriend Diane is.
- An episode of Roseanne is dedicated to this, with the titular character taking a test and the family agonizing for ten minutes about the possible outcome. It comes out negative.
- In Scrubs, Carla buys generic brand pregnancy tests instead of name brands, leading to hi-jinks when Carla discards the stick too early (the time for Name Brand), but after she leaves the room Turk realizes they didn't wait long enough for the results, and it's actually positive—so he knows she's pregnant before she does.
- One of the first scenes in The Secret Life of the American Teenager has the main character taking one of these. A later scene has her take about a dozen just to be sure.
- An episode of Ugly Betty had Betty and Hilda each use a pregnancy test, but when only one came out positive they couldn't tell whose it was... oh, and the woman who sold them the pregnancy tests came round to their house later the same day because she was their father's new girlfriend.
- What I Like About You: When Holly and Gary first meet Tina, they find that she's trying to hide a grocery bag from her mother, which turns out to contain a pregnancy test. Holly instinctively claims that the test is for her, knowing that Tina's mother will react far more negatively than Holly's older sister Val. The test turns out to be negative, but the belief that Holly is sexually active turns Tina's mother against Holly and Val, which is unfortunate since Val was trying to get her as a client.
- On previous incarnations of The Sims, a pregnancy is announced with chiming jingles. The Sims 4 removes the jingle in favour of a pregnancy test. If your Sim does not buy a pregnancy test, the game will inform you after a day that she (or he if expansions are added) is pregnant.
- A pregnancy test can also be bought on previous games through mods.
- One Cyanide & Happiness strip has a woman studying for her pregnancy test. A man takes her book and questions why she's reading How to Pee on Things. She replies that she wasn't reading it, causing him to freak out.
- Questionable Content: Hannelore's test comes up negative but she spends the day "drinking water and striving for statistical rigor."
Hannelore: You have to PEE on a STICK!!!
- A particular internet meme is about random characters in fiction (most commonly anime) being photoshopped into a shot of 2 hands, one of them holding a positive pregnancy test.
- Beavis And Butthead: Beavis used a pregnancy test when he thought he was getting pregnant in "Pregnant Pause". Being the idiot he is, he believed that he was when he said "it turned yellow".
- Rugrats: In "Angelica's Worst Nightmare," Charlotte's initially assumed to be pregnant again after she takes an at-home pregnancy test that Charlotte claims turns blue if the user's pregnant. However, the results were apparently a false positive, because after having an official pregnancy test done by her doctor, it turns out that Charlotte's not actually pregnantnote .
- The Simpsons
- Krusty's merchandise company has put out a home pregnancy test. It has a warning that using these may cause birth defects.
- The Atomettes, a cheerleader group for the Springfield Atoms, developed their own brand of home pregnancy tests.
- Marge uses a home pregnancy test which uses a pirate theme (Homer got it because it came with a free corncob pipe).
BARNICLE BILL'S HOME PREGNANCY TEST
If the water turns blue, a baby for you!
If purple ye see, no baby thar be!
* Marge's test turns pink*
If ye test should fail, to a doctor set sail!
- When Apu & Manjula are trying to make a baby it comes up a la a slot machine:
Apu: Here goes nothing.
Apu & Manjula: *as symbols appear on the tester* Baby ... baby ... oh, lemon.
Manjula: All that sex for nothing.
Apu & Manjula: Baby ... baby ... pirate?
Manjula: *dejected* Oh ...
Apu: *looking at box* No, wait a minute. Pirates are wild.
Manjula: We are pregnant!