When it comes time to test for pregnancy, you can’t go wrong with a home pregnancy test. Home pregnancy tests are accurate and affordable, and provide a convenient way to confirm pregnancy in the comfort of your own home. But, before you purchase a test, take a few minutes to brush up on all the particulars, so that you are sure to choose the test that is right for you.
How do home pregnancy tests work?
Home pregnancy tests (HPT) work by checking for the presence of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), the so-called “pregnancy hormone”, in your urine. HPTs come in three different formats: test strips, midstream and digital. To use a pregnancy test strip, you will collect a sample of urine (always best to use first morning urine as the hCG will be the most concentrated) in a cup, dip the test strip into the sample for a few seconds, remove the test strip from the sample and allow it to dry on a flat surface. After a few minutes, you can read the results of the test. The appearance of one line indicates a negative result, while the appearance of two lines (even if one is very faint) indicates a positive result. With a midstream format test, you will urinate directly onto the test strip, allow the test to dry and read the results in a few minutes. Just like with the test strips, the appearance of two lines indicates a positive result for pregnancy. Digital home pregnancy tests show the results with a clear “no”or “yes” display on the screen.
How early can you take a home pregnancy test?
As mentioned above, HPTs work by detecting the presence of hCG in your urine. The more sensitive the test is to hCG, the sooner it will be able to accurately test for pregnancy. hCG is measured in thousandths of International Units and notated by the abbreviation mIU. A newly pregnant woman will have around 25 mIU of hCG at 10 days past ovulation, 50 mIU at 12 days past ovulation and 100 mIU at around two weeks past ovulation. The most sensitive HPTs available are calibrated to detect hCG at the 20 mIU level, which means these tests can accurately confirm pregnancy as early as 7-10 days post ovulation. Less sensitive tests are calibrated at the 50 mIU level or the 100 mIU level, and can be used once you period is late, or 14 or so days after ovulation.
How much do home pregnancy tests cost?
Home pregnancy tests vary in price depending on the format you choose and where you purchase the test. At Early-Pregnancy-Tests.com, our pregnancy test strips are offered at less than a dollar each, and our midstream tests cost $2.25 each. Competing brands of midstream format pregnancy tests sold at your local drugstore retail for between $6 and $10 each.
How accurate are home pregnancy tests?
Most brands of home pregnancy tests claim to be at least 97% accurate, assuming that the test is performed in accordance with the test instructions. So, with this high level of accuracy, you can be reasonably sure that the results that you receive are believable. However, there are circumstances under which an HPT might produce a false positive or a false negative. If you have recently been given an hCG trigger shot to stimulate ovulation, it is possible that you will receive a false positive on a pregnancy test, so be sure to consult with your health care provider about how long you should wait for the trigger shot to clear your system before you test. On the other hand, you might get a false negative if you test too early (that is, before enough hCG has been produced to be detectable by the pregnancy test) or if you test with a pregnancy test that is not quite sensitive enough. If you do receive a negative result, but you think you might be pregnant, we recommend retesting in a few days.
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