Getting the right answer to the question “am I pregnant?” is important to the future health and wellness of your baby. If a woman thinks she is pregnant she often wants the correct answer as quickly as possible. In past years women had to seek the advice of their obstetrician or primary care physician to determine whether or not they were pregnant. The quick urine based pregnancy tests that were once only available in the doctors office, became commonly available to the general public only in the last 10 years.
Today, these home pregnancy tests are virtually foolproof and almost as accurate as those given in the doctors office. According to manufacturers they are about 99% effective when used as instructed. Those last four words “when used as instructed” are the basis of the 99% effectiveness.
In other words, if you expect this chemical reaction to work appropriately then you must also follow the directions from the manufacturer as closely as possible. These home based pregnancy tests measure chemical hormones that are excreted in the urine when a woman has conceived a child. In order to accurately measure these hormones, namely hCG, the test must be done correctly.
One distinct advantage of these tests is that they allow a woman greater privacy and flexibility in finding out the results. Especially when the couple is attempting to become pregnant these tests give the woman an answer quickly and privately and in just a few minutes.
Home based pregnancy tests measure the level of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) which become detectable in the urine approximately 10 days after conception. If you use the pregnancy test less than 10 days after conception it may give a false negative response. This means that it will show that the woman is not pregnant when in fact they may very well be.
However, while these tests are designed to be accurate 10 days after conception most experts recommend that women wait between five and 10 days after a missed period before taking the test to ensure the best accuracy. At this point if the test is negative and you still haven’t gotten your period you might wait a few more days and retake the test again.
Not all pregnancy tests are identical and some are more sensitive than others, detecting lower levels of hCG in the urine. To give your home pregnancy test the best possibility of testing successfully there are a few things that you can do. First, use the first morning urine because this is when hCG will be at its highest in the excreted in urine. If you can’t wait until the next morning make sure your urine has been in the bladder for at least four hours before testing. Don’t drink an excessive amount of fluid for the test to increase the volume because this will dilute the amount of hCG in the urine if it’s present. By diluting the hCG it decreases the chance that the pregnancy test will accurately measure a pregnancy.
Since all home pregnancy tests are done just a little differently be sure to read the directions thoroughly before starting the test and follow every step precisely. Check the label and packaging of the pregnancy test because there are some fertility drugs or other medications that can interfere with the test results.
If the pregnancy test is positive and shows you are pregnant you should call your obstetrician or primary care physician immediately. Your doctor can then use a more sensitive test, with a pelvic examination, to confirm these results. By seeing the doctor early in the pregnancy and following his advice and woman can increase the chances that she and her baby stay healthy.
Some home pregnancy tests may indicate that the woman is not pregnant but she’s still does not get her period. In this case the woman should test again in a few days or a week. Because women ovulate at different times in the menstrual cycle and because a fertilized egg can implant at different times the accuracy of the test will also vary from woman to woman. If the test continues to be negative but you feel you might be pregnant speak with your physician in order to confirm the pregnancy and start down the right path for a healthy child.
Home pregnancy tests can be purchased at nearly any store including grocery stores, drug stores in major chain retailers like Target, Wal-Mart or Meijers. Some women may also choose to buy pregnancy tests online in bulk when attempting to become pregnant. These will contain less packaging but will work just as well.
Some women require a pregnancy test that may be designed specifically for their medical conditions. For instance a woman who’s been trying to conceive for over six months may want to use a home pregnancy test which is much more sensitive to lower amounts of hCG in the urine.
While becoming pregnant is often a blessed event in the life of a couple getting to that point can be stressful for some. Just by choosing the right home pregnancy tests to evaluate your status, and understanding the challenges that are associated with doing the tests correctly, most women can navigate this challenge well.