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Home Pregnancy Test | When, How And Accuracy

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Varshali Mali 90% (55 ratings)
MBBS, DNB (Obstetrics and Gynecology)
Gynaecologist, Pune  •  14 years experience
Home Pregnancy Test | When, How And Accuracy

After missed periods, after unprotected sex, you want to know if you are pregnant. You probably do not want to tell this to the world but what you need is just a confirmation that you are pregnant or not. Home Pregnancy Test (HBT) is a quick and easy way to find out if you are pregnant or not. The HBT works on detecting the hCG hormone in your urine (pee). This hormone is generated in your body only if you are pregnant. 

How to do the test? You can get the pregnancy test kit from most of the medical stores. These test kits are usually not that expensive. You can also get the pregnancy test kit from your doctor. For most home pregnancy tests, you either hold a test strip in your urine stream or you collect your urine in a cup and dip your test strip into the cup. If you are pregnant, most test strips produce a colored line, but this will depend on the brand you purchased. Read the instructions for the test you bought and follow them carefully. 

When to conduct the test? Home pregnancy tests are accurate when you take them after you’ve already missed your period, or your period is late. Doing the pregnancy test on the day of your missed period will give you correct results, but its advised to wait for a week after your missed period to get most accurate results. Few pregnancy test kits say they work a few days before a missed period, but the results are usually less accurate.  Sometime a pregnancy test can find the pregnancy hormones in your urine as early as 10 days after unprotected sex. But these results aren’t super reliable, and you may get a false positive or false negative test result. If your periods are very irregular, or you don’t get periods at all for one reason or another, your best bet for accurate results is to take a pregnancy test 3 week after sex.

How to get accurate results? To get good test results, it is recommended using midstream urine, which means peeing first into the toilet and then into the cup to collect the sample. You can improve your chances for an accurate result by using your first-morning urine for the test. If you are pregnant, it will have more hCG in it than later urines. A pregnancy test will be less accurate if it’s expired or if you don’t use it the right way. So always check the expiration date on the package, and carefully read the directions that come with your pregnancy test.

What are false positive and false negative results? In some cases, you might be pregnant, but your test results are negative. This is called false negative. This may happen if you have not used the test properly, or you have done the testing too early. In this case, if your period does not arrive after few days, repeat the test after few days or consult pregnancy doctor. In some cases, you might not be pregnant, but the test results are positive. This is called false positive. This may happen if you have used the kit past its expiration date or if you have given an hCG injection during infertility treatment. A false positive pregnancy test result may also be seen in some cancers and other medical conditions that may produce elevated hCG levels.

If your results are positive, or you have some confusion about the outcome, consult pregnancy doctor to confirm the test results. The doctor might ask you to repeat the urine test at a clinic or may suggest blood test or other options to confirm your pregnancy. Always confirm your home test result with the pregnancy doctor.

“Home Pregnancy Test (HBT) is qualitative in nature and will tell you only if you are pregnant or not. This will not tell you how long you have been pregnant. The results are most accurate if you take the test a week after your missed period and when use midstream first-morning urine. For reliable results, its advised to repeat the test twice. Always consult a pregnancy doctor to confirm the test results.”

What is clinical urine test? A clinical urine test is not different than home pregnancy test and is not necessarily more accurate. However, pregnancy doctor at the clinic will help eliminate any possible errors that might affect the accuracy of the test results. Based on the outcome of results, you can consult pregnancy doctor about further steps and options.

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