Can I Count On The Accuracy Of A Home Pregnancy Test?

The following article was researched and written by Suzy (MSN, RN), a nurse at Advice & Aid Pregnancy Centers. We believe it is important that when women or men have questions regarding a possible pregnancy, that they get accurate, helpful information from the medical community. Here, Suzy helps clear up some of the questions and misinformation regarding home pregnancy tests.

If you think you might be pregnant, it’s important to get the most accurate information quickly.

A home pregnancy test works by detecting pregnancy hormones (HCG) present in urine and blood.   When a fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus, HCG is produced.  HCG is usually produced about six days after fertilization but varies with each individual woman.  During pregnancy, levels of HCG continue to rise rapidly, doubling every two to three days.

How Accurate Is A Home Pregnancy Test?
There are many different brands of home pregnancy tests.  Some are more sensitive than others in the ability to detect a pregnancy.  The more sensitive tests can detect lower amounts of HCG and can produce a positive result earlier in the pregnancy.  Research suggests that many home pregnancy tests are not sensitive enough to diagnose pregnancy in women who have recently missed a period. For the most reliable results, take the test one week after your missed period.   The most sensitive and accurate urine pregnancy tests are available through physician offices, hospitals, clinic labs, and Pregnancy Centers (such as Advice & Aid).

What Do Positive Results Mean on a Home Pregnancy Test?
If you get a positive result, you are pregnant. This is true no matter how faint the line, color, or sign is. If you get a positive result, your next step needs to be to call your doctor or a Pregnancy Center such as Advice & Aid to talk about what comes next.

A false-positive test (positive test but not pregnant) can occur if there is a pregnancy loss soon after implantation, an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy that occurs outside of the uterus), or during menopause.  Also, the use of certain drugs like fertility drugs, tranquilizers or sleeping pills, anticonvulsants, or sleeping pills can also cause false-positive results.

What Do Negative Results Mean on a Home Pregnancy Test?
Negative results usually indicate no pregnancy.  However, a pregnancy can be present with a negative test if the test is taken too soon, urine is too diluted, or instructions on the package were not followed exactly.

Tips to follow for the most accurate results:

* For the most accurate results, take the test first thing in the morning when urine is the most concentrated

* Always check the test’s expiration date and read the instructions carefully before you take the test.

Advice & Aid can provide a medical-grade, high-sensitivity pregnancy test, all at no cost to you. There is no judgment, and no high-pressuring. . . simply help, options, and a knowledgeable friend who can help you sort it all out.

If there is the possibility that you might be pregnant, simply schedule an appointment at a time that works for you. It’s private, close – and you’ll begin to get the help that you need.


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