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All about home pregnancy tests and how to use them

All about home pregnancy tests and how to use them

Some women know how it feels to wait to find out if they’re pregnant or not. Some are eagerly waiting to receive a positive result and begin to rejoice for motherhood, while others are begging to get a negative result because they think that they aren’t ready to be mothers.

Home pregnancy test is the quickest method getting the question ‘Am I pregnant?’ answered. The best thing about these tests is that everyone can do them at home, they offer privacy, and they are available at every pharmacy or bigger supermarket.

All about home pregnancy tests and how to use them

How home pregnancy test works?

Home pregnancy tests are a urine tests. They detect the presence or absence of the hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) in urine and depending on that they give appropriate positive or negative result.

hCG hormone is produced by the placenta in cases of pregnancy and contributes to some of the first symptoms of pregnancy, such as sensitivity to the breasts and nausea.

Types of home pregnancy tests

Although there are different types of home pregnancy tests, most of them work in the same way. Usually you should place the end of the home pregnancy test in the stream of urine or to place couple of drops of urine onto it. After couple of minutes you should get the result. There are different ways of reading the results. Some tests show plus sign (pregnancy) or minus sign (not pregnant), while others show two vertical lines (pregnancy) or one (not pregnant).

If you get vague results, it is best to buy a new home pregnancy test from a different brand.

Sensitivity and accuracy of home pregnancy tests

Home pregnancy tests from different brands have different sensitivity. Some of them can ‘capture’ the presence of hCG hormone 4-6 days before the start of your period. But if you do the home pregnancy test very early, it is more likely to get a wrong negative result (the home pregnancy test will show that you’re not pregnant when you actually are).

Some producers write the sensitivity of the home pregnancy test on the label. They usually point the lowest concentration of the hormone hCG, which the test can detect. If the pointed concentration is lower, the test is more sensitive, and it can detect the pregnancy earlier. For example, if it reads that the test can detect 20mIU hCG / ml (international units per milliliter of urine), it means that the test is more sensitive then the test that claims it can detect hCG at 40-50mIU/ml.

Most manufacturers claim, that home pregnancy tests give accurate results in 99% of the cases, but only if they’re used correctly.

How to use a home pregnancy test

Proper use of home pregnancy test is crucial for obtaining an accurate results. Here are some tips on how to use the home pregnancy tests:

Check the expiring date. If you have the test for some time, what you have to do first is to check the expiring date. Also if the test has been exposed to humidity or water, it’s best to buy new one .
Read the manual. There are different home pregnancy tests and they’re all used in different ways. It is very important to read the instructions carefully. Follow each step.
Do the home pregnancy test with the first morning urine. The concentration of hCG hormone is highest in the morning, and it can easily be detected.
Don’t drink plenty of liquids before you do the test. Some women drink plenty of liquids to increase the volume of urine, but this way there is a risk to dilute the concentration of hCG.

False negative and false positive result

False negative results occur more often than the false positive results.

False negative result is obtained if:

The test is done too early. Do the home pregnancy test at least one day after since you realized that your period is late. That’s the time when you can catch the early presence of hCG in urine.
The test is not used properly. It is important to read the instructions carefully. Don’t do the test 15 minutes after you’ve first urinated because the concentration of the hormone might not be high enough in the next urine. If you need to dip the test in urine in a cup, don’t keep the stick submerged for too long. On the manual of each test is indicated exactly how long you should keep the stick submerged in urine and how much time is needed for the results.
You’ve drank too many fluids. Drinking large amounts of fluid just before the use of the home pregnancy test can contribute to the occurrence of false negative result, because it reduces the concentration of hCG in urine.

False positive result

Although it happens rarely, you can get a false positive result if you recently had spontaneous abortion, you had an abortion or you’re taking drugs that contain hCG or interfere with the hormone.

When is the best time to take a home pregnancy test?

Most home pregnancy tests claim that the test will show an accurate result if it’s used on the first day when your period is late. But for accurate results it is best to wait at least one week after the date on which your period should have started.

If you do the test a few days after the absence of your cycle and you get a negative result, it’s doesn’t mean that you aren’t pregnant. If you don’t get your period the next few days, repeat the test.

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