Written by Pradeep
Unsure if you’re pregnant? If you are pregnant or had an unwanted pregnancy, you want to know if you are pregnant in the privacy of your own home. That is why home pregnancy tests are so important.
When you are uncertain about the accuracy of a home pregnancy test, it can be nerve-wracking. Read on for answers to common questions regarding home pregnancy tests.
In This Article
When you suspect a pregnancy, you would wish to know about it at the earliest possible. A home pregnancy test kit just helps you do that, and it is a simple, private and confidential way to know whether you are pregnant or not, in the confines of your home. A home pregnancy test kit detects the presence of human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG), the pregnancy hormone in your urine, and the results tell you whether or not you are pregnant. Convenient and easy to use, taking a Home Pregnancy Test is the first thing that comes to your mind if you are suspecting and waiting eagerly for a pregnancy.
A pregnancy test can be either urine-based or blood-based. Usually, a urine test is done at home, though you can also have one at the clinic or lab. On the other hand, blood tests are done at clinics.
At-home tests usually use urine to measure the presence of hCG in your body. Pregnancy tests at home are 99% accurate when used as directed, according to most manufacturers. Use the first-morning urine to improve accuracy. This is the time of day when your hCG levels will be the most concentrated and easily detected.
It is rare to perform a blood test to confirm pregnancy because it is expensive and the results are often similar to a urine test. Besides detecting whether the pregnancy hormone is present in your body, this blood test can also assess its concentration. Blood tests for pregnancy might be ordered in special cases, including when women are undergoing infertility treatments or when their healthcare provider suspects there is a problem. They can detect very small levels of hCG in the blood, making them slightly more sensitive than urine tests. In other words, they can provide a more accurate answer very early in pregnancy, within nine to 12 days of conception.
Essentially, a Home Pregnancy Test(HPT) should be done after a week or so post missing your period, so that the test can be accurate and does not leave you speculating. Taking an early HPT can show the result as negative, and maybe inaccurate when you actually might be pregnant.
A home pregnancy test works by detecting the presence of human chorionic gonadotrophin hormone (hCG) in your urine. Most HPTs are able to detect hCG after a few days of fertilization when the hCG begins to be secreted by the cells to form the placenta for the baby. The hCG peaks in the 8th to 11th week of pregnancy, and then drop from the 12th week onwards.
During these days, the presence of hCG in the body rises up, thus enabling an HPT to detect and confirm pregnancy. It can usually be detected in your urine from as early as six days after fertilization. A negative early test sometimes also indicates that the level of hCG is not yet enough to be detected.
Various home pregnancy tests have varying levels of sensitivity, thus choose the one with higher sensitivity. The presence of hCG in your urine can be detected on the first day when your period is due by many home pregnancy tests.
You can check the sensitivity of a home pregnancy test kit by noting the amount of concentration of hCG in Milli-International Units (mIU) per milliliter. For example, a test with a sensitivity of 15 mIU/ml is more sensitive than one with a sensitivity of 50 mIU/ml – the lower the number the better.
Reading (and following) the instructions is recommended since different brands have different levels of sensitivity and instructions may vary. Taking an HPT could be as simple as peeing on the stick, preferably the first one after you wake up in the morning (though you can take the HPT at any time of the day, technically).
Some HPTs may require you to urine in a small bottle and then place the strip in it. Some others may come with a dropper. Signs and definitions of pregnancy may also differ with various brands, indicated by a “+” or a “-” sign, or a pink or a blue line, or even displaying the words “Pregnant” or “Not pregnant” if you are using the digital ones. Normally, an HPT should give you results within 3-5 minutes, which if you keep on looking at the strip, will seem like an eternity.
Ideally, a home pregnancy test should give you accurate results on the first day of your date of the cycle, if you have a normal cycle. Some sensitive tests can also indicate the presence of the pregnancy hormone as early as 6 days after fertilization.
However, sometimes the levels of hCG are not enough to be detected. And in this case, you may not get accurate results. Dealing with a false negative test can be difficult, hence making it a few days, after your cycle is due, is considered ideal. Also, if you have irregular periods, we recommend you wait for a couple of days more to do a pregnancy test again.
We’d say the chances of a home pregnancy test saying that you are not pregnant when you actually are quite relevant – considering you did it too early, or the level of hCG was not enough to be detected, or well, you are not pregnant yet.
In such a case, and if you strongly feel that you are experiencing pregnancy symptoms, take the test again after 3 days.
When you are not pregnant, there are still minute chances that the strip will read positive, owing to some medications or fertility drugs that you may be taking.
A faint line may also appear after you take a home pregnancy test. This may be like a puzzle for you. Now the chances of you being pregnant are there. This is because the pregnancy test has detected some presence of hCG in your urine. Most pregnancy tests give accurate results when you are late by 3 to 5 days for your periods. Hence it is advisable to take the pregnancy test again after a few days.
Sometimes a faint line turns completely negative after some days, indicating a very early miscarriage. This unfortunate event is quite common, and you should not lose heart at all. Almost all women who have very early miscarriages have healthy babies later. So it is just a matter of another chance.
Normally, any chemist and even a department store keep a stock of home pregnancy tests. You could buy one without any prescription. Read about home pregnancy test brands.
You can tell if you’re pregnant by peeing on a stick – it’s easy and accurate. You can buy them at most drug stores or supermarkets for a reasonable price. If the results of your first test don’t match the second time, call your doctor. It is best to confirm the results, with a blood test.