You can use a home pregnancy test to determine if you could be pregnant. Maybe you’ve missed your period or are worried that your birth control isn’t working. Using a home pregnancy test is quite simple, but it is important that you read the instructions carefully. The accuracy of the tests depends on you following the instructions correctly and interpreting the results.
How home pregnancy tests work
Pregnancy tests work by detecting hCG (pregnancy hormone) in your urine. Once the fertilized egg has implanted in your uterus, your body will start making hCG.
Most home pregnancy tests are equally capable of detecting hCG — they’re positive if your hCG level is at least 20mIU (mIU is a measurement). Some home pregnancy tests are a little more sensitive and others are a little less. Usually, the instructions tell you how sensitive the test is.
When to use the test
A general rule of thumb is to wait about 21 days (three weeks) after the last time you had unprotected sex / birth control failure before using a home pregnancy test — or at least one day after being late. terrible. On average, a level of 20mIU/hCG is present about seven to ten days before ovulation.In a typical cycle:
- Most people ovulate in 14 or 15 days from the first day of their period.
- If the egg is not fertilized, the next period will begin about 14 days after ovulation; These two 14-day periods form a 28-day cycle.
- If the egg is fertilized, implantation usually occurs about 9 days (average 6 to 12 days) days after ovulation.
- As implantation takes place, hCG will begin to be made (between 20 and 26 days in the cycle).
Before you use a quiz
Follow these steps to get a home pregnancy test and prepare to use it.
- Buy a quiz. When buying a home pregnancy test, some experts recommend buying a pregnancy test at a large store that has a wide range of products. This way, you’ll be more likely to buy a new test rather than one that’s been on the shelf for months.
- Check expiration date in the test and make sure it is still valid. If you bought the test a while ago and have stored it, especially in an area like the bathroom (warm or humid), make sure it hasn’t expired. If so, buy a new one.
- Read all instructions Be careful (as they may be different for each brand of pregnancy test). If you have any questions about how to perform the test or interpret the results, find the toll-free number in the package instructions. You can call this number to get your questions answered.
- Collect your supplies. In addition to the test kit, you will need a watch or timer, a flat surface, and possibly a clean urine collection cup.
Home pregnancy test
Take your test first thing in the morning. Your urine is now more concentrated. If you’re pregnant, your first pee in the morning will have higher levels of hCG than your pee later in the day.
To start, wash your hands with warm water and soap. Remove the pregnancy test strip from the plastic wrap. Depending on the specific home pregnancy test, you should either pee in the collection cup or pee directly on the pregnancy test strip. Some tests will give you the option to collect your urine in one of two ways.
It is important to capture the “midline pattern”. This means you should pee a little first, then use the rest of your body to test.
- If the test requires you to pee directly on the stick, place the side of the dipstick into your urine stream with the results window facing up. Look at it for about 5 to 10 seconds (or any time it talks about instructions).
- If you have collected your urine in a cup, use the dropper included to drop a small amount of urine into the test well. If your test doesn’t offer a dropper but says you can use a collection cup, dip the tip of the pregnancy test in the urine cup and hold it for 5 to 10 seconds (or any other time). which has instructions on it).
Place the pregnancy test on a flat, dry surface with the “result window” facing up. The instructions will tell you how many minutes to wait for the results to appear. The process can take anywhere from one minute to five minutes, although some home pregnancy tests can take up to 10 minutes to give you an accurate result.
Most likely there will be a “control window” in the test as well as a results window. You may notice that the background in the control window becomes darker as the urine passes. Most console windows will display a line or icon to indicate that the test is valid. If this control indicator does not appear, most likely the test is invalid or not working properly.
After the required time has elapsed, you can check the results. Keep in mind that different tests may show different results, so make sure you read up on the shapes or symbols you should be looking for in the guide. Examples include:
- A pink or blue line
- Red plus or minus sign
- Color change in the window or in the urine during the test
- The words “pregnant” or “not pregnant”
If any lines, symbols, or signs show up in the results window, no matter how dim, you can consider the home pregnancy test result as positive. A line won’t show up if the test doesn’t detect hCG — so even the faintest line means the test detected hCG in your urine.
If you get a positive result on a home pregnancy test, it’s important that you make an appointment for a physical exam. Your doctor can confirm your home pregnancy test results and begin prenatal care.
Your test results are accurate only if you see the indicator within the specified time period. If the instructions say to wait three minutes, any results that show up in the results window after three minutes are your test results. If the test is left for too long, evaporation lines may appear. If any lines, symbols or markings are displayed after the time specified in the instructions, this is not considered a positive pregnancy test result.
If your test result is negative
If your home pregnancy test comes back negative but you don’t get your period, you should try again in 3 to 5 days. If you ovulated later in your cycle or didn’t calculate your ovulation correctly, you may have taken a pregnancy test too early to get a positive result.
Because hCG levels rise rapidly when you’re pregnant, you may end up with a positive test result just days after the result is negative. This is why some home pregnancy test kits come with more than one test—so you have another to test again.
If you take the test less than 7 days after your period is late, don’t automatically believe that a negative test result means you’re not pregnant. Maybe you took a home pregnancy test too soon. Wait another week. If by that point you still haven’t had your period and are still getting a negative test result, you should make an appointment with your doctor to find out if something is going on.
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