A pregnancy test can usher in the most exciting time of your life! You’re about to become a parent, and you’re going to be an amazing one. But first, you have to make sure that you’re actually pregnant. That’s where a pregnancy test comes in.
What Is a Pregnancy Test
A pregnancy test is a tool used to determine if you are pregnant. It can be sorted into two categories: lab tests, which are taken in a medical setting, and home pregnancy tests, which are taken at home.
Laboratory tests are often conducted by your doctor or at an accredited lab facility. These tests are more accurate than home pregnancy tests because they detect hCG levels earlier than most at-home kits.
A lab pregnancy test will use a blood or urine sample taken from you. The sample is then tested for the presence of certain hormone levels. If your levels are high enough, it means that you’re pregnant.
They also tend to be more expensive. However, lab tests provide that certainty if you’re looking for a definitive answer on whether or not you’re expecting.
Home Pregnancy Tests
A home pregnancy test is a small, thin stick you use to check for pregnancy. You can buy these at any drugstore or grocery store.
You urinate on the test and then wait a few minutes. You’re pregnant if the test line appears darker than the control line. If not, it means you’re not pregnant.
It’s important to remember: Home pregnancy tests are not 100% accurate! Sometimes they give false negatives or positives, so if you get a negative result on your first try, don’t worry too much about it until you get another negative result after using another brand of test.
Home pregnancy tests are typically more affordable than lab tests, but they require you to perform some preliminary steps before taking them. These include:
- Checking the expiration date on your kit
- Reading the instructions carefully and making sure you understand them
- Drawing a sample of urine in the cup provided with your kit (if applicable)
- Waiting for the results to appear on your test strip or digital display
How Do Home Pregnancy Test Kits Work?
Home pregnancy test kits work by detecting the presence of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG. This hormone is produced by the placenta after conception and allows a woman to get pregnant in the first place.
When hCG is present in your body, it can be detected by a home pregnancy test kit. The test kit uses chemicals with antibodies specific to hCG, so they will bind together if they come into contact with it. When this happens, it shows up as a positive result on the test strip.
The time between conception and when your body starts producing hCG varies from person to person. Still, it’s usually between six and 12 days after conception (the average time is about eight days).
When to Take a Pregnancy Test
You should take a pregnancy test as soon as possible after you miss your period. You can take the test any time, but it’s important to be consistent, so choose the same time each day.
If you have early pregnancy symptoms, such as sore breasts or nausea and vomiting, you may want to start testing before your period is late. This is especially true if you’re trying to get pregnant. You can use our ovulation calculator to help determine when you’re most likely to be fertile.
How Early Can You Test for Pregnancy
You can begin testing for pregnancy on the first day of your missed period. The only way to be sure you’re pregnant is by taking a pregnancy test, so there’s no need to wait any longer. If you’ve had unprotected sex, it’s important to know when you ovulated and how long it takes sperm to travel up the fallopian tube and fertilise an egg.
How to Use a Home Pregnancy Test
Please read the instructions on the box carefully and ensure they match the instructions on your test. Don’t just assume they’re all the same!
1. Collect your sample
Collect a urine sample in a clean, dry container. You can use any clean, dry container, such as a small cup or bottle with a lid. Avoid using containers that have had contact with soap or vaginal secretions since these can affect the results of your home pregnancy test.
2. Wait for the test line to appear
A home pregnancy test will show results in about 5 minutes. If you don’t see a test line within this time frame, try another product or wait longer for results (up to 20 minutes). Some tests require more than one sample if the first one is not conclusive enough; check the instructions before taking multiple samples if necessary.
3. Interpret your results
If there is no test line after 15 minutes (some tests may take longer than others), it’s probably not positive or negative yet—you’ll need to wait and try again later! If there is a faint pink line on your stick, it’s likely positive. But you should still confirm it with a doctor before making any decisions about your pregnancy status or plans for parenthood!
Home Pregnancy Test Result
The first way to tell if you’re pregnant is by taking a pregnancy test. These tests have been around for decades and have been refined over time. Today, it’s easier than ever to take one of these tests and find out whether or not you’re expecting a baby! But how do you read the result?
Image Source: iStock
Positive Pregnancy Test
What does a positive pregnancy test mean?
The first sign that you’ve gotten a positive result from your pregnancy test is a faint blue line on the stick that indicates the presence of hCG in your urine sample. The next thing is for this line to get darker and darker over time as your body produces more hCG.
If there isn’t enough hCG present in your body at first for it to show up on the test paper, don’t worry: You may need to wait a few days before testing again!
A positive pregnancy test indicates that the hormone hCG has been detected in your urine. This hormone triggers the start of your menstrual cycle, so its presence can signify that you’re pregnant. However, it’s also important to note that some women may show a positive result before they begin menstruating again—a phenomenon known as “early pregnancy.”
If you’ve taken a home pregnancy test and gotten a positive result, it’s important to make an appointment with your doctor or midwife as soon as possible. It’s also helpful to have someone else there with you who can drive you home if necessary and help you with your healthcare provider.
Negative Pregnancy Test
A negative pregnancy test will tell you that there is no hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) in your urine. The placenta produces this hormone and appears in a woman’s urine about 10 to 12 days after conception. It disappears a few days before menstruation begins.
A negative test doesn’t mean you are not pregnant; it just means that the hormone levels in your urine were too low for the test to detect. If this happens to you, try again in about a week and see if the results differ. Some women may also experience false negatives because their urine sample was too diluted or their urine was too cold when they tested it.
Faint Line on Pregnancy Test
A faint line could mean you’re pregnant or have been using the same test for too long.
If you get a positive result, but it’s very faint, try using a new test and see if the results are stronger. If they’re still faint, your hormone levels may be too low to be detected. This can happen when you haven’t had your period in a while or if you are breastfeeding.
If your test shows two lines, but they are faint and hard to see, this may mean that you are pregnant. It’s important to remember that pregnancy tests can produce false negatives and positives—you should never rely on them alone as your only indicator of whether or not you might be pregnant.
4 Biggest Myths of Home Pregnancy Tests
Image Source: iStock
No one talks about pregnancy tests. Even some women (especially if they’re young) are clueless about how these pregnancy tests work. Therefore a lot of myths about home pregnancy tests have circulated over time.
Fox News Health interviewed Dr Mary Jane Minkin, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Yale University School of Medicine.
Based on Dr Minkin, there are four major misconceptions about pregnancy tests.
MYTH: At-home tests can confirm that you’re expecting right away.
Pregnancy tests are predominantly accurate but do not give an immediate answer.
Dr Minkin said that it might take five days or so for the fertilised egg to implant itself in the uterus, and then it stimulates the production of hCG, a hormone secreted during pregnancy.
“If you have sex and take a pregnancy test a few days later, it can still return negative. That doesn’t mean the test is inaccurate or you’re not pregnant. It could mean that you’re doing it too early.” Minkin said.
If you want a more accurate pregnancy test result, it’s better to wait for about a week after your missed period.
MYTH: Nothing can trip up at-home pregnancy test results.
Yes, factors like exercise, food, stress, and lifestyle do not affect the body’s production of hCG once the egg has been implanted.
“But certain fertility treatments contain hCG, which can lead to a false positive,” Minkin mentioned.
At-home tests only measure if the hormone is present; it does not measure the exact hormone levels. When you’re on fertility medicines, it’s better to visit a doctor to confirm your pregnancy.
MYTH: No need to spend a lot of money—there are tons of cheap, natural ways to do a pregnancy test.
While there are a lot of DIY pregnancy tests on the internet, they are hardly accurate.
“Besides hCG, the body doesn’t secrete anything in the urine that would give you a clue that you’re having a baby,” Minkin said. “So if the test doesn’t measure hCG specifically, and no natural method does, it will not prove anything.”
If you want real results, paying more cash rather than resorting to unsafe “holistic” methods is better.
MYTH: New urine tests can also reveal the gender of the baby.
The thought of finding out the sex of your baby right away may sound exciting, but at-home urine tests that guarantee to predict the sex of the baby are nothing more than gimmicks.
“There are no sex hormones in urine”, and “HCG increases the same amount for boys and girls, so with a urine test, there is no way to know the sex of the baby,” Minkin explained.
If you’re eager to know the sex of your baby, it’s better to get an ultrasound. The only accurate way to tell the gender of the baby is through ultrasounds, usually done at weeks 16 to 20.
Updates from Pheona Ilagan
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