Getting Pregnant

Pregnancy Tests

Pregnancy Tests

In this article:

  • Home Pregnancy Tests
  • Best Time To Take A Pregnancy test
  • Are Negative Urine Tests Always Accurate?

How do home pregnancy tests work?

Also known as the urine test, home pregnancy tests are used in detecting if one is pregnant and is best used a few days after your period is expected to start. This test detects the presence of the pregnancy hormone known as human chorionic gonadotropin(hCG) in your urine.

The hormone is produced at times as early as 6 days after fertilization, when the fertilized egg begins to implant in the lining of the uterus. The amount of the hormone increases over the next few weeks and so can be detected if a urine test is done.

When should I take a home pregnancy test?

For the home pregnancy test to be accurate, it is advised to take the test not too early on when you think you might have conceived. Wait for a few days after a missed period to be sure. Even though a lot of the home pregnancy tests claim to be sensitive enough if used on the day of your missed period as some women are known to have produced enough hCG at that time, some studies have found this not to be the case. The studies show that these tests are not sensitive enough to detect the hormone that early.

How to use a home pregnancy test

Make sure the test kit you have isn’t expired and also that it is in good condition before use. If not, better to get a new to avoid any form of contamination.

The next step would be to use the strip first thing when you wake up, as your urine is most concentrated at that time. Read the instructions on the label carefully and follow the instructions as all tests vary with different brands. Some require you to urinate in a cup and then use the dropper provided to place a small sample in the testing well. With others, you can pee directly onto the testing device. And some will let you do either.

Also, be sure you know how to read the results. Some tests tell you in words if you’re pregnant while some will show pink or blue lines on the test strip, a plus or minus sign also appears on some. Most have a control indicator (often a second line or symbol) to indicate whether the test is valid.

The results usually takes about 10 minutes but that also depends on the brand .

If you’re sure you’ve followed the instructions correctly and you get a negative result, try again in a few days if you still haven’t gotten your period. The home pregnancy test kits can be bought in most pharmacies around.

Is there anything like a false positive result?

It is possible to get a false positive result although they are very uncommon. Some of these reasons might be the cause

  • If you have had a miscarriage or a termination in the previous eight weeks
  • If you’ve taken any fertility drug containing hCG(These are used in fertility treatments)
  • If you have a rare medical condition, such as an hCG-secreting tumor
  • If the kit you used to test is damaged or faulty.

Sometimes, you might have an early positive result and then get your period. This sometimes happen if a fertilized egg implants in your uterus long enough for your body to start producing hCG but then stops developing as a result of some complications leading to an early miscarriage.

Note: An ectopic pregnancy usually results in a positive pregnancy test, but it occasionally is negative because of lower hCG hormone levels. No matter what result you get from a pregnancy test, call your healthcare provider right away if you:

  • feel dizzy or faint.
  • have abdominal pain (especially a sharp or stabbing pain in your abdomen or on one side of your pelvis).

have abdominal pain (especially a sharp or stabbing pain in your abdomen or on one side of your pelvis).

  • have abnormal bleeding.

How are home pregnancy tests different from the tests used in a medical office?

Urine tests are mostly used at home and by most medical practitioners but blood tests could also be done by your healthcare provider to know if you’re pregnant when it is an emergency and also to monitor the level of hCG produced by your body . Blood tests are more expensive and takes longer time for results to be out.

Best Time To Take A Pregnancy Test

The best time to take a pregnancy test is a few days after your period is expected to be due.

To know if you are pregnant, you either take a home pregnant test(urine test) or a blood test. These tests are able to tell if you’re pregnant by measuring the amount of the pregnancy hormone (human chorionic gonadotropin hormone) in your body. For the test to be effective, it has to be done at the right time.

The amount of the hormone needs to get to a certain level for it to be detected, that is why it is important the test is done at the right time. If you use one of these tests too early in pregnancy, the amount of hCG in your urine may not be high enough for a positive result and may lead to a negative result even though you may be pregnant.

Some people have reported a negative test result using the home pregnant test method despite being pregnant. Some of the reasons for this include: testing too early on in pregnancy, making the test unable to detect the pregnancy hormone in the urine. Another reason can be you may not be pregnant or your pregnancy may have complications affecting the amount of the hormone in your body. You should try again in a few days to be sure if you are pregnant.

While the home pregnancy test measures the amount of hormone in your urine, the blood test on the other hand measures the hormone in your bloodstream and so a blood sample would be required for this test.

Also this test is known to be more sensitive than the urine and can detect HCG in your bloodstream as early as 6 days after ovulation and so can be used if you’re really in a hurry to know if you are pregnant. It is also more expensive than the home pregnancy test.

Are negative urine pregnancy tests always accurate?

The answer is NO. Home pregnancy tests can give negative results even if you are pregnant depending on how and when you take the test. They are usually called “false negative” pregnancy test results.

So, why do these result tend not to be accurate? As we might already have read from our previous article, a home pregnancy test will be positive only if it detects the pregnancy hormone(human chorionic gonadotropin hormone) in your urine at the time of testing, so if the test was taken too early, it is possible for the result to be negative.

When an egg is fertilized by a sperm after you ovulate, it takes about a week for it to travel through the fallopian tube to the uterus. And your body only starts producing the pregnancy hormone after a fertilized egg implants in the uterus. So if your body hasn’t produced the hormone yet because it is still very early on in your pregnancy, you’d get a negative result.

Another reason could be that you didn’t follow the test instructions correctly, leading to a negative result. Follow the test instructions exactly and take the test when you first get up in the morning. That’s the time when your urine and any HCG is very concentrated. And a few women have been known to have such low levels of HCG during pregnancy that home pregnancy tests can’t measure it.

What if the test is taken correctly and I get a negative result?

Talk to your doctor if you’ve waited long enough, taken the home test and gotten a negative test result. There might be other factors asides pregnancy for missing a period. Stress, too much exercise, and thyroid problems, among other things, can all delay menstruation. Your doctor can work with you to get your menstrual cycle back on track.

Next article Implantation bleeding
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