Written by Pradeep
“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”. Those pretty ladies out there trying to tread on the path of motherhood often are excited to know whether they have conceived successfully. Missed periods, blood tests or gynaecological appointments 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 for a reliable and quick 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. But how soon can I take home pregnancy test? 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.
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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. Others state that they can test for pregnancy two days prior to the period date. The less sensitive ones (most commonly available) are can test for pregnancy on the period due date.
Some advanced 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.
The pregnancy test is taken through the urine sample. Given below are the steps for taking the pregnancy test at home.
A positive result indicates pregnancy even if the sign, colour or line might be a faint one.
The pregnancy test should ideally be taken once the periods don’t happen on the due date or a day to two later. This is the ideal time for getting accurate results and reducing the chances of a false negative test.
Even though many tests can even detect pregnancy much earlier before a missed period, the accuracy of the results could be in question. This is because your body may not develop enough hCG hormone to show up in the urine tests.
It is even seen that some specific pregnancy tests can detect the HCG hormones present in the urine as early as about ten days if done after having sex without using contraceptives. Still, these tests might not be too reliable and could lead to false results as well.
For those who have irregular periods cycle, it is best to test the pregnancy test after three weeks of having sexual intercourse.
The best practice is to take the test only after missing a period as that is one of the very first signs that indicate pregnancy or wait for a week after missing your period cycle for the best accuracy of results.
If the test is taken much earlier in the cycle, there are chances of inaccurate results.
In case one is pregnant, the HCG hormone can be detected in the urine post ten days once the period cycle has been missed. This is also the time when the fertilised egg gets implanted in the uterus. The HCG levels increase rapidly in the initial week to 10 days of the cycle.
If you are a first timer, you may wonder what symptoms to look out for before taking the all-important pregnancy test. Here are a few pointers for you
A missed period is one of the most reliable indicators of pregnancy, so it is best to keep track of the period’s cycle. If you have not got a period a day or two after your expected period date, it may be the time to take a test.
But there are factors other than pregnancy that can cause you to miss your period.
Many women can confuse implantation bleeding or spotting in the initial days of pregnancy with a proper period. Implantation bleeding can happen when the fertilized egg attaches itself into the lining of the uterus causing slight bleeding or spotting.
The feeling of implantation also feels like the feeling of cramping and can be experienced in the early stages. In case one feels cramps, but the menstrual cycle does not occur, then it is time to take the test.
As the pregnancy advances, the production of progesterone and estrogen increases, making changes in the body that help with the growth of the baby. The breast becomes soft and increases in size due to the higher blood flow. The nipples, as well as the vein, start appearing dark as well. Some women also feel breast discomfort before the period cycle starts, so it cannot always be a sign of pregnancy for all women.
Just the feeling of being different, internally or outside, getting a metallic taste in the mouth, all can indicate pregnancy and are signs to get tested. Cramping and discomfort in the breast can even lead to food cravings and aversions, nausea, increased frequency of urination, tiredness etc. All these signs become stronger with time and are the signs that it is time to get tested.
Missing the period is one of the strongest indicators of pregnancy. However, taking the test too soon even whilst using the 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.
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 results. In order to avoid disappointment from undertaking a test that is going to give negative results, 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.
[Read: All About Home Pregnancy Tests]
Most of the over-the-counter pregnancy tests have varying accuracy rates between 95% to 99% but on or after the date of the period. A number of factors may further influence the effectiveness of these tests, they include:
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.
Yes the pregnancy tests have an expiry date. Using the tests past their expiry may affect the effectiveness 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 tests with low sensitivity during period dates may yield dicey results.
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 a missed period as well to confirm the verdict. For this purpose, use the same test of the same brand which you used previously.
Here are some of the do’s and don’ts to keep in mind while taking the home pregnancy tests:
Most pregnancy tests comprise an instruction manual that advises waiting for a week if the test results are negative and then retaking the test. Negative results do not always indicate that one is not pregnant.
A negative home pregnancy test can indicate the following.
Though extremely rare, it is possible to get a negative test despite being pregnant. Cryptic pregnancy is one such condition which can make it difficult for conventional methods to detect.
An important part of doing a home pregnancy test is keeping yourself stress-free and composed. Wait for at least 2 to 3 days post your missed period for the most accurate results. You must read all the instructions carefully before performing the test since inappropriate testing will render the test useless and loss of money.
A little patience and you will surely obtain the desired results!
Read Also: 8 Best Home Pregnancy Test Kit in India