“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.” This quote by Osho aptly puts the significant life change event called “The Motherhood”.
Home pregnancy test
Those pretty ladies out there trying to tread on the path of motherhood often are excited to know whether they have conceived successfully. Missed period, blood test or gynecological appointment are some of the traditional ways which most women use to determine whether they are pregnant.

However, this leaves us in a lot of killing suspense, and there is a need of reliable and quicker way to confirm pregnancy. With great advancements in technology now, one can easily check whether she has conceived using the home pregnancy tests. These are economical, easy to use and abundantly available in the market. Most of the home pregnancy tests measure the amount of pregnancy hormone – hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin) in the body. This is done by holding the tester (strip) under the urine stream and then based on the levels found – the indication is given whether the test taker is pregnant.

How Soon Can I Take The Pregnancy Test?

It all depends on the sensitivity of the chosen pregnancy test. Some pregnancy tests are sensitive enough to detect low levels of hCG in your urine up to 4 days before the period due date. Some are recommended for testing two days prior to the period date or the less sensitive ones (most commonly available) are advised for testing on the period due date. Some advance pregnancy tests can be administered as early as seven days after conception. The test not only indicates if the test taker is pregnant, but also mentions the approximate date of conception.
Woman taking a pregnancy test

Home Pregnancy Tests Before Missed Period

Missing the period is one of the strongest indicator of pregnancy. However taking the test too soon even whilst using highly sensitive tests may yield false results, often negative since the amount of hCG hormone in your body may be too low yet. If you are pregnant then the hCG will rise during the period due date. It is therefore recommended to retest on the period date. Most pregnancy tests claim 99% accurate results on the day of missed period. If you choose to undergo pregnancy testing before you miss your periods, be sure to purchase highly sensitive tests.

Early Pregnancy Testing

Waiting for testing closer to your period date could be frustrating. However testing too early provides relief but the chances of error are high. The level of hCG hormone is relatively low after conception, therefore testing too soon will yield negative result. In order to avoid disappointment from undertaking a test which is going to give negative result, it is recommended to wait till your period is missed. Or you can opt for sensitive tests which detect pregnancy two to three weeks after conception. But again their accuracy varies.

Effectiveness of Home Pregnancy Tests

Most of the over the counter pregnancy tests have varying accuracy rate between 95% to 99% but on or after the date of period. A number of factors may further influence the effectiveness of these tests, they include:

  • Incorrect usage: Not all the tests are administered in the same way. Read the test instructions carefully and understand them before testing. Incorrect administration will yield incorrect results
  • Expired test: Yes the pregnancy tests have an expiry date. Using the tests past their expiry may affect the effectiveness of test
  • Improper storage of test: Some of the tests contain a litmus paper strip for testing the hCG hormone. Exposure to sunlight or wet and humid conditions may impact the test
  • Using inappropriate test: Using tests with low sensitivity during period dates may yield dicey results

Positive home pregnancy test
In order to confirm the results, it is recommended to repeat the test. For instance, if you took a pregnancy test couple of days prior to your period date, repeat the test a day or two after missed period as well to confirm the verdict. For this purpose, use the same test of the same brand which you used previously. Read about how home pregnancy tests work here.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Home Pregnancy Tests
  • Always check the expiry date of the pregnancy kit
  • Do not attempt to reuse the one-time pregnancy tests. Most pregnancy kits contain resources only for one test
  • Perform the test with the first urine of the day. Most kits recommend doing so since the concentration of hCG is highest in the morning
  • Carry a clock or stopwatch with you when performing the test. Most pregnancy test require you to hold the pregnancy tester for a certain time under the urine stream and then removing it and waiting for certain minutes for test results. Goofing with time here will definitely affect the results. It’s best to keep an easy to use stopwatch or a clock on which you can keep an eye on for time
  • Avoid drinking too much liquids before administering the test as this may dilute the hCG concentrations rendering the inability of the test to detect required hCG quantity
  • Do not perform the home pregnancy tests immediately after an unfortunate miscarriage. The test may still detect hCG in your urine. Wait for a couple of weeks till the hCG goes back to zero
  • Do not perform the pregnancy test after ingesting hormone medications. These medicines may result in showing false positive i.e. indicating pregnancy when it is not the case

An important part of pregnancy testing is keeping yourself stress free and composed. You must read all the instructions carefully before performing the test since inappropriate testing will render the test useless and loss of money. Read about popular home pregnancy test kits in India here.

A little patience and you will surely obtain the desired results!