From the moment that you decide to try for a baby, you are constantly thinking about whether or not you have achieved your goal. Just the thought of being a day late for your periods can get you all excited. This is where home pregnancy tests can come a lot in handy. But, the entire process of taking the pregnancy test can be pretty nerve-wracking for most women out there. We are sure you are going to agree with that, phew! But, have you ever wondered about how accurate these things are? If yes, you have come to the right place. Here, we will discuss the ins and outs of the home pregnancy tests.
When Should You Take The Test (1)?
You can grab a home pregnancy test off the shelves of any supermarket. And, many of them also claim that they show accurate results even on the first day that you miss your period. Or, at times, even before that. But, you are more likely to get an accurate reading if you do the test after you have waited for the first missed day of your menstruation to pass.
Are you wondering why you should wait? The fertilized egg goes and attaches itself to the lining of the uterus. Soon after that, the formation of placenta happens and the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) is produced. This hormone eventually enters both your urine and the bloodstream.
In the initial phases of the pregnancy, this hormone almost doubles every two to three days. While the rapid increase occurs, this suggests that the sooner you take the test, the harder it will be to detect the HCG concentration levels.
Also, you should keep in mind that ovulation occurs at a different time each month. Thus, it also influences the time at which the fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine line. And, in turn, impacts when the HCG starts being produced. So, the time of detection can vary for each woman. And, if you have irregular periods, you need to be careful to not miscalculate the date of your missed period.
How Accurate Are The Tests?
Most of the pregnancy tests out there claim that they are 99 percent accurate. However, some pregnancy tests differ in the way that they diagnose pregnancy for women who have just missed their periods. If your test shows a negative result but you still feel strongly that you might be pregnant, you should take the test once again after a week of your missed menstruation. Or, you can also have a chat with your doctor or a medical professional (2).
Can A Positive Reading Be Incorrect?
Although this rarely happens, it is a possibility that the positive result of a home pregnancy test can be wrong. This is what is referred to as a false-positive.
A false-positive is possible if the pregnancy loss happens soon after the fertilized egg attaches itself to the lining of the uterus. Or, you take the pregnancy test post having a medication that already contains HCG. There are other factors responsible for misleading positive test results like an ovary problem or menopause, among others (3).
What About A Negative Test Result?
It is also possible for the home pregnancy test to show a false-negative. Here are some of the possible reasons (4):
- If you take the test too early, it is possible for it to show a false-negative. This happens as it is harder for the pregnancy test to detect the HCG levels early on. Best is to wait for a week and take the test again. If you can’t wait, you can always reach out to your healthcare provider.
- If you check the results of the test too soon. Let the device do its work before you jump to any conclusion.
- It also happens if your urine is too dilated. So, you should try and take the test the first thing in the morning as this is when your urine is the most concentrated.
You can always use a home pregnancy test to do your initial checks. But, our advice would be to reach out to your doctor any which ways. The doc will surely be able to give you more accurate results. Good luck, ladies!