Think you've hit the jackpot? Well, there's only one way to find out - taking an at-home pregnancy test. And we've rounded up the best tips to help you get the most accurate test results.
At-home pregnancy tests work by detecting traces of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) in a woman's urine. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin is a pregnancy hormone released when a fertilized egg implants in a woman's uterus.
There are two types of at-home pregnancy tests: non-digital and digital.
These usually come in the form of standard sticks and test strips. Women must pee on the sticks, but strips must be dipped into a container of urine. After several minutes of pee coming into contact with the stick or strip, the results will appear on the screen.
Inside non-digital pregnancy tests are antibodies that are covered with a chemical that sticks to hCG whenever the hormone is present and that gives a positive result. And usually, a positive result will show as a plus sign, a change in colour or a faint line. However, if the antibodies do not stick to any hCG, the test will give a negative result.
Check your pregnancy test's packaging for instructions on how to use it.
Unlike the traditional sticks that many non-digital pregnancy tests look like, digital pregnancy tests look like pen-shaped devices. Moreover, they work by the rapid assay delivery method, and the user gets results in three minutes. The rapid assay delivery method uses biochemical processes and antibodies to identify hCG. Digital pregnancy tests give more accurate results than non-digital pregnancy tests. The tests will not show confusing results (whether it's a line or a colour change) but indicate either "pregnant" or "not pregnant". They also cost a little more than non-digital pregnancy tests, but they will be worth every cent you spend.
Are At-Home Pregnancy Tests Reliable?
Yes, they are 99% accurate if used correctly, but at-home pregnancy tests can give wrong results; for instance, a test can sometimes be negative even though a woman is pregnant. The causes of this are:
- A woman takes the test too early. A woman must wait it out after she misses her first period to take a test or take another test after taking one right after she misses her period. Missed periods may not be caused by pregnancy but by illnesses, medications, excessive exercise, hormonal contraceptives or stress.
- A woman takes the test wrongly or does not follow the right instructions.
The reverse of this is possible, as a test may be positive when a woman isn't pregnant. The causes of this are:
- Fertility drugs
- Ovarian tumours
- A recent miscarriage or abortion
- Losing a pregnancy after implantation
- An expired pregnancy test
Now that you know the A to Z of an at-home pregnancy test, let us find out how you can increase your chances of getting an accurate result when you use one:
1. Take the test at the right time. When you conceive, it takes time for hCG levels to reach a point where they are detectable. Sometimes, they can easily be detected after the first missed period and sometimes not. Despite this, because hCG levels increase every 48 to 72 hours, the best time to get accurate results is after a missed period.
- If your periods are irregular, the best time to take the test is three weeks after having sex.
- It's advisable to take pregnancy tests twice to get accurate results.
2. Check the package for the expiry date. Pregnancy tests that have expired give inaccurate results.
3. Early morning, right after you get up from bed, is the best time to take a pregnancy test since hCG levels are very high in your urine.
4. Do not drink too much before you take a test, as this can dilute your hCG levels.
5. If you are on fertility pills, taking a test at the doctor's may give you a more accurate result than an at-home test since such medications may affect the test.
6. Store your pregnancy test in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. Overexposure to sunlight may damage the device and lead to inaccurate results.
7. As already mentioned, always follow the instructions written on the test kit to get accurate results.
Disclaimer: The information shared by this post is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to be professional medical advice nor a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your physician concerning anything you have read here.
By Nana Ama Afoa Osae I Writer I GreatWonderful Team
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