If you’re wondering whether you’re pregnant or not, you’ve probably got a lot of questions: “Am I or aren’t I?”, “How far along am I?”, or maybe, “How can I be if a test said I wasn’t?”
Here are some answers about the most popular testing option – a home urine test.
Home Urine Tests
When you’re pregnant, your body begins to produce the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). A home test checks for hCG in your urine, basically the same way a urine test through your healthcare provider does.
How to Use It
The most common type of test is a test strip or stick that you hold under your urine stream, or dip into a sample of urine. You’ll look for an area on the test strip or dipstick that changes color and be able to see results in a few minutes.
What It Tells You
A home urine test can tell you whether hCG is present. If it is, you’re pregnant. This test won’t tell you how far along you are, just if you are.
When to Test
A week after a missed period is a good rule for the most accurate results, although some home tests can detect hCG on the first day your period’s late.
It’s best to take the test first thing in the morning.
A home urine test can be about 97% as accurate as a urine test through a doctor’s office or clinic if used correctly. However, a professional test eliminates the potential errors of home testing.
Here are some reasons your home results could be inaccurate:
- Taking the test too early in your pregnancy can give you a false negative.
- Drinking too much water can dilute your urine and cause a false negative.
- Mediations like diuretics or antihistamines for colds or allergies can lead to a false negative.
- Taking hormones to help you get pregnant can lead to a false positive.
- Getting soap in your collection cup can cause a false positive.
- Waiting too long to check the test strip or stick can allow the color to change.
- Not following instructions can lead to inaccurate results.
- Taking a test past its expiration date can give you inaccurate results.
- Each brand of test kit has a different sensitivity to hCG, so results may vary.
Cost + Availability
Home tests are affordable (they range between $8-25; some are even cheaper), and available at most drugstores and supermarkets, or online.
They’re often sold in multiple packs, since many women take more than one test for confirmation of results.
If you get a positive result, your healthcare provider will usually follow up with a blood pregnancy test to determine the stage of your pregnancy.