Getting pregnant is a delightful thing, one that can only be experienced first-hand! While many first babies are unplanned, there can be a lot of thought and anxiousness that goes into actually planning a baby.
If you are one of those who are planning to add that cute little addition to the family, checking the status through a urine test may be a common option. Most women use home pregnancy test kits to do a urine test. This is a quick way to indicate whether you are pregnant.
However, not all urine pregnancy tests done at home will be accurate.
The urine test at home proves to be effective when done under ideal circumstances. While the doctors suggest that this is the most effective way to get a quick result at home, there is a high chance of false positives or false negatives if not done correctly.
How Does The Urine Test Work?
The urine test that you can do at home using the pregnancy kit is actually quite simple. The test works by detecting the presence of a hormone called Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, also called as hCG. This is a pregnancy hormone that forms immediately after your fertilized egg attaches itself to the wall of the uterus. If your urine test detects hCG, the test result will be positive, indicating that you are pregnant.
Meanwhile, a lot depends on how the test is carried out and the accuracy of the test kit while done at home or the clinic.
When To Do Urine Pregnancy Test At Home?
This is mostly the first doubt on your mind while planning a family. The timing of the test largely determines the accuracy of the result. Many women, in a rush to know if they are pregnant, end up taking the test the morning after having intercourse. This is incorrect, as at such short interval it ends up giving the wrong results.
Considering that hCG hormone kicks off immediately after conceiving, you need to go for a pregnancy test as soon as you miss your monthly period. While some experts say that the test can be taken a day after missing the usual menstrual cycle, many recommend that you wait at least for a week. The waiting allows for more levels of hCG hormone to build up in your blood and urine, thus calling for confirmed results.
Steps To Do An Accurate Urine Test For Pregnancy:
Here is a list of simple steps that you have to follow while doing a urine test for pregnancy at home. These will ensure that the test proves to be effective to determine your pregnancy.
1. Check The Expiration Date:
If you are planning to take a home pregnancy urine test, checking for the expiry date is an absolute must.
- The newer the pregnancy kit the better the results.
- Make sure that you purchase the product keeping in mind the date of manufacture, expiration, presentation of the box (check for the open seal, wear and tear, etc.), in order to pick the right one.
- If you have stocked up a pregnancy kit months before, please throw it away. It is always recommended to use the fresh piece.
2. Test In The Morning:
Going for a morning urine pregnancy test (first thing in the morning) helps you get the most effective reading.
- This is because your urine is the most concentrated in the morning with highest levels of hCG.
- Taking a pregnancy test in this timeline never gives false implications.
- So whenever you are ready, do the test in the morning.
3. Read The Instructions Carefully:
It is always better to go through the instructions overleaf before carrying out the test.
- Different brands have varied specifications, and you need to understand the one you are about to use.
- Factors such as method of collecting the urine, the length of the time you need to let the urine stay on the test stick and the symbols used to prove the results could be different for each brand.
4. Familiarize Yourself With The Symbols:
You have to know the symbols listed on your pack to understand the reading better.
- If you are unable to decipher what the symbols mean while showing the results, do not panic.
- Call the toll free number listed behind the pack or inside the leaf to clarify your doubts.
5. Prepare Yourself Mentally:
Be it the clinic or at home, testing for pregnancy comes with mixed feelings. You are more likely to be nervous and jittery about the experience as a first timer.
- Prepare yourself mentally well in advance before undergoing the test.
- Talking to your husband and close friends may help you get rid of unwanted fears pertaining to the outcome.
- Whatever the result is, understand that pregnancy is a natural process.
6. Do The Test Methodically:
Even though a urine test may look like a walk in the park, ensure that you follow all the instructions to the T.
- You can either urinate directly on the stick or take a sample of your urine in the plastic cup provided and gently test few drops on the stick.
- While urinating directly, make sure you follow the instructions listed about the timeline.
- The number of seconds varies for different brands, so make sure you follow the same while waiting to read the final result.
7. Wait For The Results:
After you are done with the test, place the stick horizontally on a clean surface to develop the readings.
- The waiting time can be ideally anywhere between 1 to 5 minutes, and waiting till such time is important.
- While some tests are said to even take as long as ten minutes to give the correct result, it is recommended that you do not panic during this time period.
- While most women have the tendency to stare nervously at the stick waiting, remember that doing such a thing will not improve your results.
- Take a break and sip on a cup of tea while you wait. This also relieves you of the piling anxiety.
8. Checking The Final Result:
Once the waiting time has elapsed, check for the results.
- While symbols vary with brands, the second line appearing on the stick is a sign of positive result.
- If you see even a faint line appearing next to the first one, consider that as a positive. This indicates that the test had picked up traces of hCG in your urine.
Things To Do After The Results:
Reading the results can be a life changing moment for you. However, this is just the beginning. Make sure you know what to do next after doing the urine test.
Here are some things you need to keep in mind:
1. In Case Of A Positive Result:
If a urine pregnancy test result is positive, make an appointment with your doctor. Your specialist may also recommend a blood test to confirm the results from the urine test. In most cases, the results of a urine test are taken to be sure shot accurate.
2. In Case Of A Negative Result:
If you have missed your period and still the result shows negative, wait for some more time and re-do the test. False negatives are sometimes possible. These can happen when you have miscalculated your ovulation date or taken the test earlier than recommended. In case of the second test also coming out negative, make an appointment with your doctor and find out the reasons for the same. There could be other underlying causes for the missed period than pregnancy.
Reasons For A False Positive:
Although false positives are very rare after doing a urine test, they are quite possible. A false positive result is nothing but the test proving that you are pregnant, while in reality you are not. This happens for some important reasons that cannot be overlooked.
Here are some of the reasons for the false positive result of a urine test. However, do remember that there may be many other reasons too that can affect each woman in a different way. The biggest thing for you to ensure while you are trying to conceive is to remain stress-free. Even if the test comes out negative, we suggest you look at it as a small break, have a word with your doctor and plan again.
1. Chemical Pregnancy:
Also known as an early miscarriage, this is an unfortunate scenario where you could have become pregnant but would have lost shortly after the implantation (fertilized egg settling in the uterus). About 25% of all pregnancies tested in United States constitute false positives due to chemical pregnancy. It is very important for you to not lose hope if this happens. This makes way for the possibility that you may get pregnant sooner or later.
2. Missed Reaction Time:
This is another factor that makes you read the result wrong. Reading the results after the recommended time has elapsed can send out wrong signals. Your stick has surpassed the actual reaction time and there is every chance that you will be reading a false positive.
3. Other Medications:
If you are undergoing any other medical treatments, like that of fertility, that involves a trigger shot of hCG, make sure there was enough time for the shot to metabolize and clear your system. Usually fertility experts suggest that you should wait for about 14 days to clear the impact of hCG test before taking a pregnancy test. This reduces the chances of false positive results to occur.
4. Evaporation Line:
This is a deceptive line that comes on the stick in a different color. It looks very similar to that of the line that is supposed to appear to indicate pregnancy. Do not mistake this to be a sign of positive result. The line indicated by the test kit states a certain color and the same has to be looked for. Different brands use different color bands.
Reasons For A False Negative:
If you experience a test result that indicates a false negative time and again, do not be stressed. False negatives are very common. If you have done a urine test more than once that shows the same result, we suggest you have a word with your doctor about it.
There are many reasons for false negatives to happen. Some of them are listed below:
1. Testing Too Early:
If you undertake a pregnancy test in a sheer rush of anxiety, be prepared for a false negative. You have to follow the timing accurately to take the test. The time of ovulation differs for everyone. Hence the chances of getting a false negative while still pregnant are high. Make sure you test for pregnancy keeping in mind the timelines mentioned as above.
2. Low Sensitivity Of The Strip:
Despite picking the latest pregnancy kit, there is every chance of your strip being less sensitive while detecting the level of hCG. This is a manufacturing defect. If you are not convinced with the negative result, try and retake the test with a different brand of home pregnancy kit.
3. Diluted Urine:
This is the very reason why we recommend that you take your urine test in the early morning. In case of tests taken at other times of the day, the diluted urine content gets inefficient for the kit to work as it should. Also, there is every chance that your urine could be in diluted state in the early morning. If that happens, try taking the test the next day. The odds are that result will be different.
Getting pregnant is the most exciting thing for a woman. While there are mixed moments of stress, anxiety, joy and hopelessness involved, be mindful that conceiving a baby is nature’s work. Being optimistic and prepared is always best when you are taking a urine test to determine pregnancy.
Make sure you share your feelings with your spouse so that you are much more braced to know the outcome. Your health practitioner should be able to answer all your queries and fears. Do not hesitate to consult on the same.
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