Mary was confused about her pregnancy. She had to buy many pregnancy kits to check whether she has conceived or not. This was when her OBGYN advised her to use the Dollar Store Pregnancy Tests that are quite affordable. These test kits are accurate and sensitive like any other expensive home kits.
So, how reliable are dollar store pregnancy tests? Momjunction tells you about their accuracy, how to read them and more. Relax and read on.
How Accurate Is A Dollar Store Pregnancy Test?
The Dollar Store test costs only $1 but works like any other home pregnancy test. If you suspect to be pregnant, you may use the absorbent tip of this test kit to examine your urine. It just takes about three minutes to give you the result.
The pregnancy test works by identifying the hormone hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) in your urine sample. When you conceive, your body starts to produce this hormone (1). But it does not produce immediately after you conceive. It takes time, and you have to wait a few days after ovulation to test for pregnancy.
During ovulation, your egg undergoes fertilization with your partner’s sperm. Once the fertilization occurs, the egg, now called embryo, spends a few days traveling down the Fallopian tube. Once out, it implants itself to the uterine lining. It almost takes six to ten days from ovulation to implantation. Here is when your body starts producing the hCG hormone (2). This is the reason you will not know you are pregnant until you miss your periods.
Dollar Store Pregnancy Test Sensitivity:
This test kit is 99% accurate but is not ultra-sensitive in detecting hCG. So, it will not detect low levels of the hormone that are present in your body after fertilization occurs. This is the reason you should wait a few days after missing your period before using the kit. Most experts agree that you get the most accurate results when your period is a week late.
[ Read: Pregnancy Symptoms After A Missed Period ]
How To Read A Dollar Store Pregnancy Test?
Dollar Store pregnancy test can detect hCG levels from 20mIU/ml. The instructions on the pack clearly tell you how to do the test.
- Pee into a disposable cup and then use the pipette to siphon out a small amount of urine from the cup.
- Use the pipette to drop the urine into the slot in the kit and wait for the urine to travel up the strip.
- Once this is done, the results will be apparent.
You can get just three results when using a Dollar Store pregnancy test:
- Two lines indicating a positive result
- One line means a negative result (you are not pregnant)
- No lines show an invalid result. This could be because you didn’t use the test as instructed or the test kit has crossed its expiry date.
It can be quite nerve-wracking to wait for the result. At the same time, you will be filled with anticipation.
Dollar Store Pregnancy Test Faint Line:
If you are pregnant, the Dollar Store pregnancy test will show two lines. Sometimes, the variable line, which indicates a positive result, is faint. This can lead to confusion – are you pregnant or not. Even if the line is extremely faint, it is a positive result.
When you test too early, your urine does not have sufficient amounts of hCG. Hence, the variable line is faint and not as pronounced as the control line. However, a faint line, too, indicates that you have used the kit correctly.
You should schedule an appointment with your doctor to get a confirmation. The doctor will perform a blood test as this is more accurate. Usually, your doctor performs the test 10 days after you miss your menstrual period.
[ Read: Faint Line On Pregnancy Test ]
The Ease Of Dollar Store Pregnancy Test:
A Dollar Store pregnancy test kit has easy-to-read instructions that are easy to understand and use. The kit provides quick and relatively accurate results. Just make sure you follow the instructions on the pack.
The test has its downside as well. It is quite small, and this makes it difficult to handle and use. However, if you overcome the size, it is perfect. You can purchase several kits to use repeatedly until you get the result you want.
How Soon Can You Take A Dollar Store Pregnancy Test?
Your body gives you signs, albeit minor ones, to show that you are pregnant. Many women miss these signs because they are similar to the symptoms you get just before your menstrual period is due (3). You can use a Dollar Store pregnancy test if you notice one or more of the following early symptoms of pregnancy.
1. Missed period:
This is the most obvious sign of pregnancy. However, change in diet, excessive exercise or stress can affect your menstrual cycle. If you chart your cycle, which you will when trying to conceive, you should be able to determine the date of your period. If your period doesn’t occur, it is time to take out that home pregnancy test and use it.
[ Read: Pregnancy Symptoms Before Missed Period ]
You start feeling tired for no reason. As your pregnancy progresses, you may feel more fatigued and tired until your hCG levels finally settle down. Fatigue is one of the early symptoms of pregnancy but often overlooked because women also have the same tiredness when their menstrual period is around the corner.
3. Abdominal cramps:
When implantation occurs, it causes cramps similar to what you experience when you get your menstrual period. This may lead you to believe that you are about to get your period, but it will not start as scheduled.
4. Breast tenderness:
Your body starts preparing for the baby when you are pregnant. The increase in estrogen and progesterone levels causes changes in your body, including enlargement of breasts. Your breasts and nipples will get tender and sore. You may also notice that your breast size increases. This happens due to increase in blood flow.
5. Frequent urination:
You may suddenly feel the urge to urinate often due to the changes in your hormone levels that cause more blood flow through your kidneys. This fills your bladder quickly and hence, the need to urinate frequently.
[ Read: Frequent urination during pregnancy ]
6. Mood swings:
Hormone fluctuations cause mood swings not only before your period but also in the early days of your pregnancy. Combined with fatigue, it can compound the problem.
You should also use the pregnancy test if your contraception fails. In case the condom tears during sexual intercourse, or you forget to take your birth control pills as stipulated, you should test your urine on the day your period is due or a couple of days later.
What Is False Positive On Dollar Store Pregnancy Test?
Sometimes, your Dollar Store pregnancy test may be positive when in fact you are not pregnant. False positives can occur due to many reasons.
1. Ovarian cyst:
Ovarian cysts are benign and usually disappear on their own. However, these fluid-filled cysts cause the hCG levels in your body to increase marginally, which your pregnancy test may be able to detect, leading to a false positive result.
2. Evaporation line:
If you wait longer than the recommended time to read your test result, the urine will evaporate. This leaves behind an evaporation line along with the control line. It will prompt you to believe you are pregnant when you are not.
3. Chemical pregnancy:
Sometimes, the sperm fertilizes the egg successfully. However, the embryo fails to survive. This leads to a false positive because your body produces hCG as the embryo begins the implantation process, but does not complete it. Although called chemical pregnancy, it is nothing but an extremely early miscarriage. You will experience bleeding around the time of your menstrual period as a result of the miscarriage.
[ Read: Causes Of Chemical Pregnancy ]
Certain medications, like anti-epileptic, anti-anxiety, diuretics and promethazine (anti-allergy medication), can lead to false positive because they cause hCG levels in your body to increase.
5. Fertility treatment:
Women undergoing fertility treatment receive hCG shots to spur ovulation. This can give a false positive two to three weeks after you take the shot. The best way to confirm your pregnancy is to get a doctor to test your blood.
6. Incorrect testing:
If you don’t follow the dollar store pregnancy test instructions precisely, you could end up with a false positive even though you are not pregnant. Hence, it is important to read the instructions carefully and follow them to the T to get accurate results.
7. Defective pregnancy test:
All home pregnancy test kits have an expiration date. If you use a Dollar Store pregnancy test after the expiry date, it can lead to false positive. The only way to get an accurate result is to use a current test kit.
If your Dollar Store pregnancy test comes away positive, but you doubt the veracity of the result, it is time to make an appointment with your doctor. With the help of blood test and maybe ultrasound scans, your doctor will be able to confirm your pregnancy.
What Is False Negative On Dollar Store Pregnancy Test?
Imagine that you use the Dollar Store pregnancy test kit, and you get a negative result only to find out a few weeks later that you are pregnant. This can lead to confusion, stress, and anxiety. There are many reasons why a dollar store pregnancy tests false negative.
1. Testing early:
The main reason for a false negative is testing your urine too early. A Dollar Store pregnancy test kit is not designed for an early detection. This will give a false negative. You should wait to miss your period, perhaps three to four days after the due date, to test your urine. This will give a more accurate result.
2. Not using the test properly:
Yes, we know you are excited about using the pregnancy test from the dollar store, but this excitement prevents you from reading the directions and instructions on the package. If you don’t read and follow the instructions carefully, don’t expect the test results to be accurate. You could easily end up with a false negative because you didn’t wait long enough for the test to yield the results or you didn’t put enough urine in the slot.
3. Reading the results too early or late:
Make sure you read the results within the time limit mentioned in the instructions. If you read it too early, then it will prevent the test from displaying accurate results. On the other hand, if you check the result after the time range, the test will be inaccurate. In fact, the result is considered invalid regardless of what it shows.
4. Diluted urine:
If you drink too much water before taking the test, it dilutes the concentration of hCG in your urine. So, you get a false negative. This is the reason you should use the first urine in the morning, which is concentrated, for a Dollar Store pregnancy test.
Obese women with high body mass index (BMI) tend to have lower levels of hCG. So, if you are obese, your home pregnancy test may be negative for quite a while. It will take time for the result to turn positive, and this will happen only when hCG levels in your body build up to such an extent that the test can deduct it.
[ Read: Is Overweight A Problem During Pregnancy ]
6. Pregnancy problems:
You can get a false negative if you have a chemical pregnancy, ectopic pregnancy or early miscarriage. Under such circumstances, initially, you may get a positive result and a few days later a negative one. If you get two different results, schedule an appointment with your doctor. Remember ectopic pregnancy is dangerous and life-threatening. It can damage your internal organs, leading to irreversible infertility.
Don’t get despondent if you get a negative after trying to conceive. If you think you are pregnant even after a negative result, wait a few days and test your urine again. If you get a positive this time, you need to visit your doctor. A more accurate test, such as an hCG blood test, will give you a definitive answer whether you are pregnant or not.
[ Read: Common Problems During Pregnancy ]
The Next Steps After Dollar Store Pregnancy Test:
After you get your Dollar Store pregnancy test results, there are a few things that you should do based on the results.
1. Positive result:
Schedule an appointment with your doctor for a blood test and ultrasound. The two will confirm your pregnancy. Once your pregnancy is confirmed, you can immediately begin prenatal care to ensure a healthy and safe pregnancy.
[ Read: Homemade Pregnancy Test ]
2. Mixed results:
If you have had mixed results with the multiple Dollar Store pregnancy tests, you still need to visit your healthcare provider for a checkup. A mixed result could be a chemical pregnancy, ectopic pregnancy or confirmed pregnancy. Your doctor may recommend a blood test or ultrasound to find out the cause of the mixed results and suggest an appropriate course of treatment.
3. Negative result:
If you get a negative result, you should get your period. In the case of missed or late period, repeat the pregnancy test a week after taking the first test.
4. Continued negative result:
If you get a negative result again and your period doesn’t begin, it is time to consult your doctor. Missed period could be a sign of some underlying health problem, such as low body weight, stress, over-exertion, too much exercise, thyroid disorders or problems with your ovaries. By finding out the cause of amenorrhea (missed menstrual period), the doctor can treat you and make sure your menstrual cycle resumes.
Don’t let the $1 price tag of a Dollar Store pregnancy test fool you. The test is quite sensitive (though not ultra-sensitive) as well as accurate. You will read many anecdotal stories on the Net about women who successfully used the test to confirm their pregnancies and were more than happy using the test for subsequent pregnancies. The low and affordable price of a Dollar Store pregnancy test makes it an attractive choice for women who are planning to conceive.
So would you spend $1 to find your pregnancy or pay for expensive test kits? Did you ever use a Dollar Store Pregnancy Test and how did you get the results? Do share your reviews in the comment section.
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