A home pregnancy test is basically meant to let your know whether you are pregnant or not. These tests are designed to tell if your urine contains a certain hormone known as human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Just so you know, this hormone is produced in the female body once a fertilized egg gets attached to the walls of her uterus. This happens around six days after fertilization. In case you are pregnancy, the levels of hCG are going to continue rising rather rapidly in your body and will double every two to three days.
There are two different types of pregnancy tests available these days. These are urine tests and blood tests. Urine tests are done both at home and in the doctor’s office. This test is typically taken by women at home when they miss a period. The best part about them is the privacy they offer to the woman using them. Also, these come with detailed instructions about how these are to be used.
To ensure accurate results when you take a home pregnancy test, make sure that you follow the tips mentioned below:
7 Choose the right HPT
Urine samples of non-pregnant females are known to contain less than 5 mIU/ml hCG. However, once she conceives, her levels of hCG tend to rise rather rapidly in a normal pregnancy. By the time that her period is expected to arrive, hCG levels are expected to rise to about 50 – 250 mIU/ml. During the first trimester, the hCG levels tend to double every 48-72 hours.
Some home pregnancy tests are very sensitive and can easily detect even the lowest levels of hCG (12.5 mIU/ml) in your urine. These tests, such as First Response Early Result, are the best option if you want to know about your pregnancy as soon as possible. Other tests detect hCG levels of up to about 25 to 50 mIU/ml in your urine. These tests, including Rite-Aid, Dollar Store and Clearblue Easy are best used when your period is overdue by a day. In case you have just had a miscarriage or have given birth rather recently, you may be prone to getting false positive results. For this reason, it is highly recommended for you to use a pregnancy test like Precise or Q-Test that only detects higher levels of hCG.
Read the test results carefully
If you are worried about not being able to read the home pregnancy test results carefully, there are quite a few tests available these days that have digital readouts. These readouts simply state ‘pregnant’ or ‘not pregnant’ and check for 40 mIU of hCG or higher. As long as you use your home pregnancy test carefully, there is a good chance that you will receive an accurate result. If you have concerns about the result, get in touch with your health care provider right away.
6 Avoid testing early
What is the best time for you to take a home pregnancy test? Well, most home pregnancy tests can be taken three to four days before your missed period, but if you test too early, there is an increased chance of you getting a false negative. This means that the test will say you’re not pregnant while you are. It is for this reason that experts suggest women should not take the test too early – best for you to wait a week from the date of your expected period before taking the test.
No matter which test you buy, the best time for you to use it is the first thing in the morning. For testing purposes, pop the test stick in midstream (of your urine), let it lay flat and give it a few minutes to work. In case it turns out to be negative, try again in a few days if your period is still overdue. On the other hand, if you get a faint positive, there is a good chance that you are pregnant. However, to verify things, wait for another day or two and test again.
Although you may find it a bit frustrating to wait for days on end before finding out whether you are pregnant or not, testing too early is just going to waste your money. Although HPTs have become very sensitive and accurate these days, there is a limit to how soon and how effectively they can work. So wait it out if you really want to get an accurate result – don’t rush things.
5 Check the expiration date
If you are interested in taking a home pregnancy test, it is of utmost importance for you to check the expiry date. In general, the newer the pregnancy kit, the better and more accurate the results are going to be for you. When you purchase a home pregnancy test, make sure that you check its date of manufacture, expiration and presentation of the box (for instance, signs of wear and tear, an open seal etc.) to make sure that you are getting the right one. Also, if you’ve stocked up pregnancy test kits months before, just discard them all because it is best for you to use a fresh piece. Your test kits will particularly deteriorate if you store them at a place that gets warm or moist, such as the bathroom. With an expired test, or one that may have deteriorated with time, there is no way that you will be able to get an accurate result. Considering that this is just going to lead to added stress for you, just get a fresh home pregnancy test kit each time that you wish to use it – refrain from using stocked ones too.
Why and how do these tests expire?
A major reason why home pregnancy test kits tend to expire is because of the chemical used to identify the amount of hCG, the pregnancy hormone, present in the urine does not remain effective in its ability to detect. The moment this chemical loses its ability and effectiveness, the chances of it giving an accurate result decline, which is why you should check the expiration date of a home pregnancy test prior to purchasing it.
4 Don’t miss out on the instructions
Before taking the test, it is recommended for you to go through the instructions given on the overleaf as thoroughly as possible to avoid confusions during the test. The thing is that different brands these days have different specifications, and what works for one test may not for another. It is necessary for you to understand the test that you are about to use, for which reason it is of utmost importance for you to go through the instructions given on it.
You need to bear in mind the fact that factors like the method of collecting the urine, the length of time for which the urine needs to stay on the test stick together with information about the symbols used to prove the results happen to be different for each brand. There is no way for you to acquire this information if you do not go through the instructions given on the overleaf of the test. You are not an expert at this no matter how many times you have taken a home pregnancy test before. Every single test that you buy over the counter will come with specific directions that need to be followed to receive accurate results.
Learn about the symbols
In order to understand your results better, it is necessary for you to familiarize yourself with the symbols listed on your pack. In case you have trouble understanding what the symbols mean while showing the results, don’t panic and just get in touch with the toll free number mentioned on the pack or inside the leaf so as to clarify things.
3 It’s best to use morning urine when taking an HPT
Science has proven that morning urine tends to have the highest concentration of hCG. It is for this reason that most doctors and test kit brands encourage you to take the test right after you wake up instead of during the afternoon or in the evening. As you continue to drink water all through the day, your urine is basically going to become more dilute due to the consumption of liquids. Although you can test at any time of the day, morning urine will have the highest level of hCG in the sample.
Taking a home pregnancy test as soon as you wake up in the morning is going to help you acquire the most effective and accurate reading possible. The reason for this, as has been mentioned above, is that your urine happens to be the most concentrated in the morning. Taking a test right after waking up in the morning rarely ever gives a false implication, which adds to the reasons why you should test in the morning.
Acquire information about the factors that can interfere with test results
There are certain factors and elements that can have a direct impact on your test results, which is why you should learn about them as much as possible. These include taking certain medications, receiving infertility treatment or even waiting until late hours to take your test. Your test may give you a false pregnancy test result if you are taking certain medications or receiving certain medical treatments as these can also dilute your urine, thereby deeming the test inaccurate and ineffective.
2 Wait for the results
Once you are done with the test, you need to place the stick in the horizontal position on a clean surface so that the readings may develop. In an ideal situation, the waiting time can be anywhere between 1 to 5 minutes and it is necessary for you to wait till such time. There are certain tests that take up to about ten minutes to give an accurate result, and if you take one of these, it is highly recommended for you to refrain from panicking during the waiting period.
Most women tend to stare and stare and stare nervously at their home pregnancy test sticking waiting for the results to show up. However, you need to bear in mind the simple fact that tactics such as these are not going to rush the results nor would it improve your results. While you wait, try to divert your mind, take a break from things, relax a bit and sip on a cup of tea or coffee while you do so. Trust me; this is going to go a long way in terms of getting rid of all your heightened anxiety.
Keep a timer or clock with you
Before taking a test, make sure that you take a wristwatch, clock, timer or stopwatch with you into the bathroom. Don’t start the clock until you have urinated in the proper location, and make sure that you have your timer with you to prevent delays. With most HPTs these days, it is best for you to read the results in a given time frame. For this reason, it is necessary for you to keep a check on time.
1 Be confident
When taking a pregnancy test at home, it is extremely important for you to be as confident as possible. If you have the jitters, make sure that you read the instructions carefully and perhaps even practice a few times before actually taking the test. You may feel a bit emotional, which may lead you to having uneasy feelings. For this reason it is best for you to take the test in your comfort zone at a time when you feel confident enough to help acquire accurate results.
Also, most pregnancy tests come with an 800 number listed on them. In case you are unsure about something or don’t understand the instructions well, make sure that you call the given number. There will be people on the line to help clear your misunderstandings and confusion, thereby making it possible for you to get accurate and effective results from the test. Instead of taking the home pregnancy test and getting an inaccurate result, just call up the number and speak with professionals who will guide you through.
Still not sure? Call your health care provider right away!
If you are too nervous or unsure about taking the test, or if you’ve already taken it a few times without seeing any accurate results, then it is highly recommended for you to set up an appointment with your doctor right away. Your health care provider will administer the test easily considering that they have acquired extensive training to do so. In case you can’t afford to buy a home pregnancy test, then there are quite a few services and clinics out there that provide these for free.