How to Use Home Pregnancy Testing Kits Accurately

When is the right time to check you are pregnant?

At first, this appears to be a simple question, but every situation is very different. Imagine the following scenarios:

  • You really want  a baby. You have been taking your basal temperature and doing ovulation tests. Your period is a little late, and you want to find out if you have conceived.
  • You are a teenage girl and you went a bit too far with your boyfriend a few weeks ago and did not use birth control.
  • You haven’t been monitoring your periods but it seems to be ages since you had the last one and it was definitely before you had sex.
  • You are very scared and you need to know where you stand.
  • You are young but in a steady relationship.
  • Although you have been taking the pill on most occasions, you think you once forgot.

Each situation is very different, but they all require a pregnancy test. In most cases, the main reason to suspect pregnancy is a late or missed period.

What kinds of pregnancy tests are available?

Most take-home tests require a urine sample. This measures the presence of HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin), which enters the bloodstream about six days after the fertilised egg first implants in the uterus, and continues to increase as time goes on.

Although some pregnancy testing kits claim to be accurate from the first day that a period is late, this is not necessarily so. Many of them are not sensitive enough at this point and can give you a false result because the level of HCG in your system is not yet high enough to appear. It is therefore best to wait till a week after your missed period before you use a home pregnancy test kit.

If you are determined not to wait, you may be best off doing a blood test. However, this is often more expensive and more of a hassle, as you have to get a doctor to order one. Therefore, you may prefer to wait until you are more certain of your symptoms and do a urine test in the meantime.

What does it mean if I get a negative result but I still feel pregnant?

This is a commonly asked question as it happens quite often. You think you have missed a period, or you keep getting what feels like premenstrual cramps but with no period, so you do a home pregnancy test. However, your result comes out as either negative or you only see a faint line. Yet the symptoms still persist.

Based on the above, it is possible that you are pregnant, but the HCG test will not yet show it. To put your mind at rest, you could take a blood sample, or wait another week and try again.

The accuracy of a test is dependent upon the time of ovulation. Sperm can wait up to five days in the fallopian tubes before they fertilise an egg. Therefore, you should not get disheartened if you initially receive a negative result, but try again if you find that the symptoms don’t disappear and your period still doesn’t arrive.

Cost of Pregnancy Tests

There is a variety of pregnancy testing kits on the market that are freely available over the counter at your local chemist. Prices vary, so you may want to find out what’s available by checking online. From simple urine samples to digital pregnancy tests, you will find that prices fluctuate depending on the product and supplier.

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