What You Should Know About Pregnancy Test Accuracy
Getting an early diagnosis of pregnancy is important for medial or social reasons. There are many options available for taking a pregnancy test and examples include using a home pregnancy test kit and visiting your family doctor, family planning clinic or a chemist where the test may be done by a pharmacist. A pregnancy test detects the presence of the (HCG) hormone in urine or in blood. This hormone is produced by the female body when a fertilized ovum attaches itself on the uterus.
The most popular way to test for pregnancy is to use a home pregnancy test kit. In most women, HCG is released six days after conception and the levels of HCG increase with every passing day or pregnancy. On average, these levels double after every two days. A home pregnancy test can detect HCG approximately one week after you miss your period.
Pregnancy test claims can be somewhat misleading especially the kits that promise to offer accurate results if you take the test on the first day of your missed period. According to a study completed by Dr. Laurence Cole and other researchers at the University of New Mexico, the accuracy claims of very early pregnancy tests are deceptive. The reason for this is that there is a high degree of variation in the amount of HCG present in the urine after implantation takes place. These researchers noted that most tests are not sensitive enough to detect the hormone in urine on the first or second day after a woman misses her period.
When to take a test to ensure pregnancy test accuracy
The 97 to 99 percent tests claims in home test kits are true once you are further along in your pregnancy. For this reason, it is appropriate to wait at least one week after you miss your period to take a pregnancy test. The bottom line is that you should wait for as long as you can before testing for pregnancy at home.
Reading test results
The results of a test may be hard or simple to read depending on how the test kit is designed. You can easily interpret results if you use a test kit that has adequate contrast between the symbol or line and the background. Some pregnancy test kit brands indicate that it is possible for an evaporation line to appear if you leave the test kit to sit past a certain time frame. This line can make it harder for you to interpret the results accurately.
Negative test results
Home pregnancy tests are more likely to yield a false negative than a false-positive result. A false negative result means that you are pregnant but the test indicates that you re not. A false positive result on the other hand indicates that you are pregnant when you are not.
You can have a false-negative test result in the following situations.
• If your urine is dilute - If you drink a lot of liquids before performing the test, there is a high chance that the results will not be accurate. To ensure pregnancy test accuracy, many test kits suggest that you should perform the test in the morning after you wake up. The reason for this is that this is the time when your urine is in its most concentrated form.
• If you have timed the test incorrectly - You can ensure pregnancy tests by performing the test within fifteen minutes of collecting a urine sample. You should follow the instructions on the test kit to know how long you should wait to analyze the test results. Make sure that you do not check the results too soon since this may lead to a negative test result.
If you get a negative test result but your period fails to start within a week after taking the pregnancy test, you should take another test. If you still fail to get a positive result and your period has not started, you should consult with your healthcare professional to find out what is going on. Circumstances like excessive exercise, stress, hormonal imbalances and illness can cause a missed period. Your doctor can inform you what is causing the problem and help ensure that your menstrual cycle gets back to normal.
Positive test results
Generally, if you get a positive result, it indicates that you are pregnant even if it may be faint. However, it is possible to get a false-positive result. This is a result that indicates that you are pregnant but you are not. This happens very rarely but you may obtain a false positive result if;
• There are traces of protein or blood in your urine.
• You are taking a prescription drug that contains HCG like Ovidrel, Novarel, Chorex and Pregnyl among others.
• The pregnancy test kit you use is damaged or expired.
• You are taking diuretics.
• You had a chemical pregnancy. This type of pregnancy occurs after a fertilized egg implants in the uterus, develops to trigger HCG production and then stops developing for any reason. About thirty to fifty percent of all fertilized eggs become chemical pregnancies due to abnormalities or other conditions that hinder further development. If this happens, you may get your period later than it usually takes place and it may be heavier than usual.
• You use a test kit that has a flawed design.
Getting a home pregnancy test kit
You can buy a home pregnancy test kit from drugs stores, grocery stores and online. The average price of these kits ranges from 4 to 20 dollars depending on the number of tests in one kit and the brand. Some kits contain two tests and they are a better deal.
What to do if your test is positive
If your test is positive, you should consult with a healthcare professional who may perform a blood test or a pelvic exam to confirm that you really are pregnant. You can also consult with a healthcare professional if you have obtained mixed results after using a home test kit. Knowing whether you are pregnant or not as soon as possible is essential because you can take the right measures to ensure a successful pregnancy or to solve any problems with your menstrual cycle.
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