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Home Pregnancy Tests

What You Need To Know

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Home pregnancy tests work by measuring the levels of the “pregnancy hormone,” human chorionic gonadotropin (or HCG), in your urine. In even the earliest of days of your pregnancy, your HCG levels rise quite dramatically, which is what allows the tests to be taken before you’ve even missed your period.

young woman reading a pregnancy test

I Can Take a Pregnancy Test Before I Even Miss My Period?

That’s right! Some pregnancy tests on the market can accurately tell you whether or not you’re pregnant as early as five or six days before your period begins (or doesn’t begin, as the case may be). Once you have your pregnancy test, when to test will be your next question. The optimum time to take one is first thing in the morning, since your HCG levels will be strongest, although you are likely to get the same result whatever time of the day you take it. As tempting as it might be, try not to drink a lot of fluids so that you can hurry up and take it, since you will just end up diluting your results.


Where to Get a Pregnancy Test and What to Do with It

Wondering where to get a pregnancy test? You can get home pregnancy tests from your local drugstore or grocery store or online. There are plenty of different brands to choose from, but the idea is the same. You will direct the stick under a flow of your urine for around five seconds. You can also collect a urine sample in a small cup and dip the stick into it if you’d prefer. After setting it down on a flat surface, you will wait for a few minutes (they may feel like years), and then you can read your result. Depending upon the brand of pregnancy test you’ve chosen, you’ll get either a digital “Pregnant” or “Not Pregnant” result, a series of blue or pink lines, or a plus (+) or minus sign (-). Generally, two lines or a (+) means you are pregnant, and one line or a (-) means you are not.

How Accurate Are Pregnancy Tests?

Home pregnancy tests are now just as accurate as any doctor’s urine test (excluding a blood test, naturally). In fact, your healthcare provider may not bother testing you again, since you already have such an accurate result. It’s impossible to get false positives, as you must be pregnant in order to produce HCG. You can, however, test positive if you have recently suffered a miscarriage and your HCG levels haven’t returned to normal yet. You can also get false negatives, for example if you test too early, and your HCG levels are not yet detectable. In this case, wait to see if you miss your period (as hard as that wait may be!), and then test again. You might get a different result.

 
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