How to take a pregnancy test

Many home pregnancy tests (HPTs) claim to be 99% accurate on the day you miss your period. But research suggests that most HPTs do not consistently spot pregnancy that early. And when they do, the results are often so faint they are misunderstood. If you can wait one week after your missed period, most home pregnancy tests will give you an accurate answer. Ask your doctor for a more sensitive test if you need to know earlier.

When a home pregnancy test will give an accurate resultdepends on many things. These include:

  • How long it takes for the fertilized egg to implant in the uterus after ovulation. Pregnancy tests look for the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) that is only produced once the fertilized egg has implanted in the uterine wall. In most cases, this happens about 6 days after conception. But studies show that in up to 10 percent of women, the embryo doesn’t implant until much later, after the first day of the missed period. So, home pregnancy tests will be accurate as soon as one day after a missed period for some women but not for others.
  • How you use them – Be sure to follow the directions and check the expiration date.
  • When you use them – The amount of hCG in a pregnant woman’s urine increases with time. So, the earlier after a missed period you take a HPT, the harder it is to spot the hCG. If you wait one week after a missed period to test, you are more apt to have an accurate result. Also, testing your urine first thing in the morning may boost  the accuracy.
  • Who uses them – The amount of hCG in the urine at different points in early pregnancy is different for every woman. So, some women will have accurate results on the day of the missed period while others will need to wait longer.
  • The brand of test – Some home pregnancy tests are more sensitive than others. So, some tests are better than others at spotting hCG early on.

How Accurate are Pregnancy Tests?

The accuracy of the test depends upon following the exact directions as mentioned in the test kit. It also depends on testing on the right day and the right time. First, you must remember that if you follow the steps mentioned in the kit accurately, then the result is also 99% accurate. But once again, it is always advisable to double check the result with a blood test through your gynaecologist.

Have you been planning to have a baby and indulging in sex with your partner sans any precautions? And have you missed your periods, since then? If yes, then you must go for a test to confirm if you are going to have a baby.

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1. What is the Best Time of the Day to Take a Pregnancy Test?

The best time of the day to take pregnancy sample is the first urine in the morning. When you sleep throughout the night, your body holds the urine in the bladder for the whole night. This urine is highly concentrated and has high levels of everything, including hCG. Hence, if the urine test for pregnancy is done first thing in the morning, chances are that the result will be 99% accurate.

Taking a test too close to the date of the missed period may give you a false positive, so it is advisable to wait for a week before using your kit!

3. Early Signs That Indicate That You Should Perform a Test

Some early signs of pregnancy that can act as an indicator to take the test are as follows.

  • If you notice spotting or light bleeding, then you can consider taking a pregnancy test. This usually happens when the embryo implants itself in the uterus
  • If you feel cramping in the tummy
  • If your breasts feel tender and you get a feeling of discomfort in your breasts while wearing your bra
  • If you feel exhausted all the time
  • If the smell of food and other things around you makes you uncomfortable
  • If your taste buds start longing for food, you never liked before or if you feel aversion towards your favourite food items
  • If you notice excess vaginal discharge along with soreness
  • If you feel constipated most of the time

These signs show up in the first seven to ten days of ovulation. Take the test if you notice one or more of these symptoms.

What are the Different Pregnancy Tests Available?

Pregnancy tests are of two types, a urine test that you can do at home with the help of the pregnancy kit and the other is a blood test which is done in a medical centre. Both the tests scan the presence of hCG hormone in your body. hCG a pregnancy hormone that gets produced in the body only once the embryo is implanted in your uterus.

different types of pregnancy test

1. Blood Test

A blood test is the most accurate way of confirming a pregnancy. Here is a detailed analysis of blood tests done to confirm pregnancy.

2. Qualitative HCG Test

This test is done at the medical centre. This test is usually recommended 10 days after you miss your period. This test scans the traces of hCG in your blood sample and therefore the status of your pregnancy.

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3. Quantitative HCG Test

This is a blood test conducted in a medical centre to scan the presence of hCG in your body. This test is more accurate and traces the exact amount of hCG in your blood. This can detect even the lowest level of hCG during the very early stage of pregnancy.

Urine Test to Confirm Pregnancy

A urine test can be done at home and is very convenient. All you have to do is buy yourself a pregnancy test kit from any medical store and you are good to do the test all by yourself. These kits come with instructions. Just follow the instructions on the kit and you will most likely get an accurate result. You can do the urine test one week after you have missed your periods.

1. What’s the Best Time to do This Test?

While you can do the urine test any time during the day, yet the morning time as soon as you get up is the best time to perform the test. This is because the first urine of the morning is highly concentrated and the chances of getting an accurate result are higher.

2. How Long Does the Test Take to Work?

It takes about 5 to 10 minutes for the urine test to work. Any result that you read after 10 minutes can be misleading. Also, don’t look for a result before 5 minutes have passed. That will be inaccurate too.

3. What Does a Positive Pregnancy Test Look Like?

When a second line appears along with the control in the pregnancy test stick, it means that you are pregnant. In some test kits there will be 2 separate windows and in case of positive result, lines will appear in both the windows. Please note that the same result must be confirmed with a blood test at a medical centre.

positive, negative pregnancy test

4. What Does a Negative Test Look Like?

In case of a negative result, only the control line appears and nothing else. You can repeat the test one week later again to confirm this result or visit your doctor and get a blood test done.

5. What About a Faint Line?

A faint line means that the amount of hCG hormone in the blood is very less. This is quite acceptable during early pregnancy. The concentration of hCG increases in the body as the pregnancy gets older.

Pros and Cons of Taking a Test to Confirm Pregnancy

While pregnancy test kits are quite popular and easily available these days, it helps to weigh the pros and cons of using one.

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Pros:

  • A pregnancy test is the fastest way to confirm if you are pregnant or not after you miss your menstrual cycle.
  • Even in scenarios where you were not ready to conceive but had a birth-control failure, you can confirm your pregnancy status through a pregnancy test.
  • Sometimes in case of early pregnancy symptoms, you may get close to accurate result 4 to 5 days prior to missing your cycle, through the pregnancy test.

Cons:

  • Sometimes the result of the pregnancy test done using a kit can be misleading.
  • In many cases, even chemical pregnancies appear positive on the kit but later lead to a miscarriage, while in some cases, the results appearing as negative in the pregnancy kit have turned out to be positive later.

Hence, it is advisable to get a blood test done after the pregnancy test at home for the confirmed result.

FAQs

Here are a few frequently asked questions about pregnancy test kits:

1. What if no lines appear on the test?

If no lines appear on the pregnancy test stick, then the test will stand invalid. In most of these cases, the problem is with the kit itself. To be on the safer side, repeat the test after 2 to 3 days.

no lines appear in test

2. When does the test need to be repeated?

In cases where a faint second line appears on pregnancy test kit or no lines appear at all, then a repeat test may be required just to be sure.

3. What does 99 percent accuracy mean?

When a second line appears distinctly on the kit, then it is 99 percent confirmed that you are pregnant. 99 percent accuracy means, if the test were repeated 100 times (with a kit from the same brand/company), it will give correct result 99 times. so there is a 1 in 100 chance that the test give an incorrect result.

4. Does taking medication affect the result of a pregnancy confirmation test?

Yes, taking medication does affect the result of the pregnancy confirmation test. As discussed before, in order to be absolutely sure, a home pregnancy test or a urine test must be followed by a blood test at a medical centre.

All pregnancies are different and so are the circumstances. This article will help you to determine the status and circumstance of your pregnancy. Here’s wishing you a happy pregnancy.

Also Read: Positive Pregnancy Test but No Symptoms – Is It Possible?

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