Most people dont plan to get pregnant, but it can happen to anyone. For some, a surprise pregnancy can be exciting news — but for others, it can be an overwhelming experience. To help you decide what to do next if you think you’re pregnant, it’s important to confirm your suspicions with a pregnancy test. Here, we will explore the basics of home pregnancy tests — when to take them, how to use them, and how to interpret the results. We will also discuss factors that can make home pregnancy test results less reliable. We will wrap up by discussing other ways of confirming pregnancy, including a visit to your doctor.
When to Take a Home Pregnancy Test
Taking a home pregnancy test is one of the easiest ways to determine if you’re pregnant. But when should you take one?
In most cases, home pregnancy tests are most reliable if taken one week after a missed period. However, if you’re experiencing very early signs of pregnancy — such as a missed period, fatigue, or breast tenderness — it’s important to wait at least a week before testing.
Keep in mind that it can take up to two weeks after conception (or one week after a missed period) for a pregnancy test to detect the hormone that indicates pregnancy. Therefore, testing right after a missed period might not yield accurate results.
How to Use a Home Pregnancy Test
Home pregnancy tests are easy to use. Most tests involve urine, although some use blood to detect a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This hormone is produced during pregnancy and can be detected as early as six days after conception.
For the most part, you can use one of these tests in your own home — unlike a blood test, which must be taken in a doctor’s office. Here’s an overview of how to use a home pregnancy test:
Step 1: Read the instructions. Step 2: Collect a urine sample. Step 3: Place the test in the urine. Step 4: Wait for the results. Step 5: Interpret the results.
Interpreting Home Pregnancy Test Results
Most home pregnancy tests come with two lines that you must interpret.
One line is marked “control.” This line should always show up, even if you’re not pregnant. In other words, it’s used to ensure that the test is working. The other line is marked “test.” This line will only appear if an hCG hormone is detected. The presence of this line typically indicates a positive result, meaning you’re pregnant.
When it comes to pregnancy tests, it’s important to remember that the results can be subjective. For this reason, a single pregnancy test is rarely considered diagnostic. You may want to confirm the results with a second test.
Signs That Can Make Home Pregnancy Tests Less Reliable
There are some factors that can make pregnancy tests results less reliable. At-home tests use urine, which is most reliable if their instructions are followed and the urine remains untouched.
If you don’t follow the instructions, or if you mix the urine with other liquids, then the results may be misinterpreted. Additionally, some medications and chemicals, such as chlorinated water, can interfere with test results.
Confirming Pregnancy Results
If you get a positive test result, then it’s important to confirm this with a visit to your doctor. A medical evaluation can identify any underlying medical conditions that may make it difficult for you to carry a baby.
You also may want to get a special blood test called a quantitative human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) test. This test can measure the exact levels of hCG in your body. High levels of hCG usually indicate a healthy pregnancy.
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For many, a unexpected pregnancy can be a difficult experience. During this time, it’s important to know the facts. Home pregnancy tests can help you gain insight into your situation. Make sure to follow the instructions, and never hesitate to confirm the results with a visit to your doctor.