Ladies- we’ve all had that scare. Needing to take a pregnancy test is a real frightening moment, and even with a negative sign we can have our doubts. To truly test the accuracy of a home pregnancy test, the responsibility falls on the user rather than the preg test itself. Learn how to get the most accurate reading possible for a sigh of relief (or that “YES!” of excitement in bringing in a new life), so you aren’t so tempted to take the entire 3-pack in one sitting.
Knowing when and how to take a pregnancy test increases a home pregnancy tests ability to detect pregnancy the most accurate way. According to the Mayo Clinic (mayoclinic.com) all home pregnancy tests are basically the same, so whether you buy an expensive name brand or a preg test from a dollar store (anybody else raising their hand on this one?) you should be able to get accurate results. The biggest difference from one test to the next is how soon you can test, but all pregnancy tests are able to accurately test pregnancy when taken at the appropriate time.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the best time to take a pregnancy test (regardless of what test you use) for the most accurate reading is a week AFTER your missed period. However, it goes on to state that even after a negative result, it is recommended to take another test after about 4 days to make sure. Some women have low detectable hormone levels at the beginning of a pregnancy, so the first test may be a false negative, while the second test may be able to pick up on a woman’s pregnancy hormones.
Don’t drink a lot of water prior to taking a test. This can negatively affect your results. You need to have the urge to pee to take the test, but you don’t need a gallon of water to take one. Diluting the urine by consuming water before taking the test can make pregnancy hormones harder to detect, and may result in inconclusive results. If you don’t need to really urinate but still want to take the test ASAP, pee what you can into a cup and test that way, holding the strip in according to the directions. You don’t need a lot of urine to take the test.
Taking the test in the morning 7 days after you miss your period will give you the greatest results. Your morning pee has the highest pregnancy hormone levels in it, giving you the best reading so long as you follow the directions for urinating on the stick correctly. Once again, even if you get a negative response, take another test in about 4 or 5 days to make sure.
Don’t take an old test, or re-use a pregnancy test. If they are too expensive to keep buying them, you can buy preg tests in bulk online for pennies apiece, or hit up your local dollar store. So long as they are not expired or already opened, any pregnancy test will be accurate if you take them at the appropriate times. You don’t have to pay $20 or more on a 3 pack to get the right results.
If you keep getting a negative result and you are suspecting pregnancy, or if you keep getting a positive result but you are thinking, “No way!” see your doctor or go to the nearest clinic and request a blood pregnancy test. This is the most accurate way to detect pregnancy and let you know for sure. A clinic will typically charge you based on your income, or if you have insurance you can see your doctor. A clinic should not be too expensive for that piece of mind in knowing for sure.
So whatever test you buy for pregnancy prediction, so long as you are taking them at the right time, you should be getting the correct results.