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When you’re trying to conceive, you want to take a pregnancy test as soon as you can. If one day you feel dizzy or nauseated, and miss your periods even by a day or two, you are likely to get anxious and will want to take a pregnancy test at home before reaching out to a medical professional. A home pregnancy test would prove to be a blessing in such a situation. It’s a convenient way to find out if you are pregnant. But if you have never taken a home pregnancy test before, you will have certain questions about it. Read this article to know more about home pregnancy tests, when to take one, how, and more!
What is a Home Pregnancy Test?
Home pregnancy tests are designed to detect the presence of human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG), also known as the pregnancy hormone, in your urine. As soon as you get pregnant, your body starts producing hCG, once the fertilised egg implants in your uterus.
The hCG secreted by the cells gradually form the baby’s placenta. A home pregnancy test allows for an early pregnancy test at home and can detect the presence of hCG in the urine in about 6 to 14 days after fertilization.
In the initial few days of implantation, the hCG levels in the body rise quickly and home pregnancy tests are sensitive enough to detect the hCG levels in the body as soon as a woman’s periods are delayed by one day.
If you have a negative result on your first home pregnancy test, it could be due to low levels of hCG in your body. If your periods are delayed, you could wait for another few days to test for pregnancy.
Some pregnancy tests are more sensitive than others and can even confirm the small presence of hCG in your body.
About Pregnancy Test Kits
Home pregnancy test kits are the most convenient way to confirm your pregnancy at home. They are easy-to-use and most of them provide accurate results. There are many brands of home pregnancy test kits available in the market nowadays but all of them work in a similar manner by detecting the levels of hCG in your urine.
Just make sure you keep the following things in mind while buying a home pregnancy test:
- Choose a well-known brand.
- Make sure you check the packaging and ensure the pack is intact before buying the test kit.
- Check the expiry date as an expired test may not give accurate results.
- Try buying those kits that come with two sticks. So, in case you take an early pregnancy test and the results come out as negative, you can take the test again after certain days to check for a positive result.
Apart from them, there are various other natural home pregnancy tests to confirm your pregnancy at home.
How to Take a Pregnancy Test at Home
Make sure you read the instructions in the pregnancy kit carefully regarding how to confirm pregnancy at home as it may vary from kit to kit.
Most test kits are very convenient to use. You can simply check by passing urine on the test stick. But, in some tests, you may have to collect the urine in a small cup and then insert the testing strip into that cup to confirm pregnancy. Some of them also provide a dropper for placing the urine sample on the testing stick.
Even, the manner in which results are displayed can vary. Some of them show as pink or blue lines on the test strip and the others might show the plus or minus sign or change in the urine colour to determine the results. New digital tests simply display their results in words i.e. ‘pregnant’ or ‘not pregnant’ and even give a rough estimate of the number of weeks you are into your pregnancy.
When to Take a Home Pregnancy Test
Note for these signs before you take the pregnancy test.
- If you have missed your period: It is the most reliable sign of pregnancy. Most of the women have a menstrual cycle of 28 days, so consider taking a test if it has been a month since you had your last period. But, sometimes your period might get delayed due to stress, diet, exercise, or other reasons also.
- If you are having cramps: Implantation of an egg in your uterus also causes cramps in your stomach similar to what you get during periods, you might feel that your periods are about to come but, they don’t.
- If you have sore breasts: Due to excess production of estrogen and progesterone in your body due to pregnancy, your breasts might become sore, tender, and fuller when you get pregnant.
- If you are feeling ‘different’: Nausea, food aversions, exhaustion, and frequent urination is also another sign of pregnancy.
- In case your contraception failed: Contraceptives like condoms, birth control pills, etc. do not give 100% protection and can fail. So, in case you are experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms despite having used contraception, then you should take a home pregnancy test.
When Should I Use the Home Pregnancy Kit?
Nowadays, most tests can detect your pregnancy as soon as the first day of your missed periods. There are even more advanced and sensitive tests available in the market that can even detect the pregnancy with a low level of hCG before the period is due. The results might not be accurate with these early tests.
You can take the test at any time of the day irrespective of the test you are using but try avoiding drinking too much water before taking the test as it may dilute hCG levels in the body.
However, most tests recommend using the first urine in the day for taking the test since hCG levels will become concentrated in the urine through the night.
In case you have an irregular period, you should wait for the duration of the longest cycle you have experienced to take the test since you might not be sure when your period is due exactly.
Similarly, if you stopped taking the pill recently you might not be sure of your regular cycle. In that case, if the results are negative on your first test then, wait for another three days and take the test again.
How Accurate Are Home Pregnancy Tests?
The home pregnancy test kit usually provides 99.99% accurate results if the instructions for taking the test are followed correctly. But sometimes low hCG levels, the sensitivity of the test, or days elapsed since the implantation of the egg may provide different results.
In some cases, a home pregnancy test may be a false negative. It may be because you might not be pregnant or your hCG levels may be so low that they cannot be detected yet. In case you test too early, you might get false-negative results since not enough hCG has built up in your system. You should wait for another three days and take the test again if you are experiencing other signs of pregnancy.
The chances of a home pregnancy test showing a false positive are very rare. This is the case where you get a false-positive result even if you are not pregnant. This might be due to the consumption of medication that contains hCG which may affect the results.
Home Remedies for Pregnancy Test
Missing your period, or any delay in your period can make you anxious and you will want to take the test at the earliest. If you want to take a test early and can’t go to the market to buy the test kit, you can easily check for pregnancy with a homemade pregnancy test.
Instead of spending money on an expensive medical test to confirm your pregnancy, there are many ways to confirm your pregnancy without a kit with the ingredients available in your kitchen. This makes checking your pregnancy at home quite simple, easy, and cost-effective.
Using natural ingredients such as toothpaste, vinegar, baking soda, etc. can help you check whether or not you’re pregnant. But, are home pregnancy tests accurate? There is no scientific research that vouches for the accuracy of the results of these homemade tests. They do also check for the hCG level in your urine but there are no proven ways to conduct these tests at home.
If you suspect that you’re pregnant, go ahead and take the pregnancy test. If it shows a positive result, choose a gynaecologist and schedule an appointment with the doctor at the earliest to confirm the same.