Pregnancy Test Questions
When it comes to taking a home pregnancy test,
there are typically more questions than the test instructions
have answers for. That's why we are here - to help you understand
how those pregnancy tests work and how to get the soonest accurate
Let's imagine a story. We see a anxious young couple who have
been trying-to-conceive now for a cycle or two and now its time
to discover if their dreams have come true... It's time to test
for pregnancy! But there are a few nagging questions. When do
I start using home pregnancy tests? How do they work and how accurate
are they? Which tests are the best? And do I really need
to wait for a missed period before I begin?
Ah, familiar questions - and good ones at that. To answer these
common questions, let's begin with: How does a home pregnancy
test (HPT) actually function? That's an easy one! An
HPT works by detecting a special hormone that is released by a
developing embryo shortly after pregnancy takes place. This hormone
- called hCG - makes its way from the placenta surrounding your
developing baby and into the bloodstream of the mother. Once in
the blood, hCG also makes its way into the urine of a woman -
and therefore an HPT functions by detecting this hormone in urine.
All you need to do is pee on a stick (or in a cup, depending on
the style of the kit) and if the hCG hormone is at high enough
levels, you will see a positive result!
So, that answers the first question. The next big pregnancy
test question and is when am I able to start using these crazy
things? Yes, you have been looking at them daily since you ovulated,
reading the label, twirling the test around nervously.... Do
I need to wait until my missed period? The good news
is that, today, with higher sensitivity tests, you do not necessarily
need to wait until your missed period to begin the process. Of
course, please consult the instruction sheet of each test to determine
your start date, as certain older pharmacy and drugstore products
may ask you to indeed wait until a few days after a missed period.
In most cases, newer and very affordable clinical test strips
allow you to test at around eight days after you ovulate, and
this is typically several days before your period is expected!
Okay, so I can test now! But are there any other facts or tips
to makes sure that I am getting the most accurate and earliest
results? Another good pregnancy test question! And the
answer is yes: To get the earliest, most accurate result, you
should collect a urine sample in the morning. This is called FMU
(first morning urine) and it will have the greatest amount of
the hormone we talked about above - hCG. If for some reason you
cannot test in the morning, then you should hold your urine for
at least three or four hours before taking a test. In addition,
do not flush your body with liquids or drink a lot of water, etc,
before testing. This can dilute the hormone in your urine and
you may end up seeing a negative result when you are actually
pregnant. In short, we recommend: FMU, don't flush body with liquids,
or hold your urine to get the earliest possible preg test result!
But what about tests I can take at a doctor's office? Yes, you
can visit your doctor for a blood test, and this will typically
provide very accurate results. hCG is present in both blood and
urine, but in higher amounts in blood. If a doctor decides to
take a quantitative blood test, s/he can tell you the actual level
of hCG in your system! If you do end up with a positive test on
a home kit, then it is always recommended to contact your doctor
regarding a follow up as well as to learn more about pregnancy
health, fitness, nutrition, and what you can expect during your
following nine months.
So, how do I actually use the test at home?
Today, tests are quite simple. You can buy a test on the Internet
(we recommend the affordable clinical strips) or you can simply
visit your drugstore and pick up a box of tests, though these
are usually rather costly. Make sure you read the box to find
out how sensitive the test is, when you can begin testing, and
how many kits are in the package.
All of the popular pregnancy tests function in the same way.
In most cases, you simply pee directly on the test onto an absorbing
tip that will collect the urine and send it through the testing
reagent. You'll immediately see a control symbol or line that
will inform you that the test is functioning properly. If you
a pregnant, you'll also see a test symbol/line appear. The cheaper
strips work in the same way; the only difference is that you collect
the urine in a cup and dip the strip into the liquid.
Again, the key to accurate testing is using first morning urine
and following all instructions. All tests have a specific "reaction
time", and you need to read your result within that time
frame. Once the time frame passes, you should determine a result
and then discard the unit, or at least do not attempt to gather
a result. Under certain circumstances, "ghost lines"
can appear; this is due to the fact that every test will become
more sensitive over time as the used test sits. This is why it
is imperative to follow the instructions and interpret all results
within the given interval.
Now that I am ready to begin testing, the last remaining question
is, how accurate are HPTs? The good news is that
home pregnancy tests are exceedingly accurate if used properly.
Make sure that you select FDA-Approved tests (available on the
Net and at stores) and that the tests have valid expiration dates.
Under clinical conditions (expert use, instructions followed exactly),
your tests should be over 99% accurate.
That said, there are a few "uncontrolled variables"
at hand. The first can be controlled by using first morning urine
to ensure that the urine is not diluted and that the hormone hCG
is at its highest possible level in the urine. However, the amount
and speed in which the hormone is produced does differ among women.
Thus, hCG can build up rapidly for some, while for others, it
increases at a slower speed. The important fact to remember is
that the hCG hormone should double about every day once pregnancy
is achieved. Other variables include when the embryo implants:
Conception will take place within 24 hours of ovulating. However,
a pregnancy is not official until the embryo implants in the womb.
This is when the hCG begins to flow. Unfortunately, the date of
implantation may vary among women, but it typically takes place
around 6 days after you conceive. That is why CompleteFertility.com
highly recommends taking follow up tests, particularly if you
have a missed period.
So I've taken the test and it's positive! Are there any drugs,
foods, or substances that can cause a false positive pregnancy
test result? Because hCG is a very unique hormonal substance,
there are hardly any drugs or agents that can cause a false positive
result. There is an exception, however: Some fertility drugs actually
use the hCG hormone as part of a fertility treatment to help women
ovulate. If you are using an infertility drug, ask your doctor
if it contains hCG. If it does, your doctor will instruct you
on when you can begin testing so as not to receive confusing results.
Fertility supplements like FertilAid or FertilityBlend will not
cause a false positive pregnancy test result.
Best of luck with your pregnancy testing and to read more, visit