A home pregnancy test is a quick and efficient way of finding out whether or not you are pregnant. Overall, they have a high accuracy rate (around 97%) and are available at drugstores, grocery stores, and even some dollar stores!
If you are unsure of how a pregnancy test works, keep reading to learn how they work, when to take one, and how accurate they are:
How Does a Home Pregnancy Test Work?
When you become pregnant, your body starts to develop a hormone called HCG. A home pregnancy test measures the amount of this hormone in your urine.
Home pregnancy tests can vary in sensitivity with some brands detecting pregnancy earlier than others.
If you are unsure which brand to choose, read the instructions or the back of the box to find out how sensitive that particular home test is.
How Did We Test for Pregnancy Before Home Pregnancy Tests?
Before women could pee on a stick to find out if they were pregnant, they peed on a number of things to determine pregnancy.
Back in ancient Egypt, women who thought they were pregnant would urinate on barley or wheat seeds. Apparently, if the wheat grew it meant they were having a girl. If the barley grew, it was a boy. If neither grew, the woman was not pregnant.
In the 10th century, sulfur was poured over the woman’s urine and she was believed to be pregnant if worms appeared. In the 16th century, some prophets would read urine like tea leaves.
By the 18th and 19th centuries, scientific enlightenment led experts away from simply eyeballing urine and explored the idea that bacteria and crystal structures viewed under a microscope could signify pregnancy. At the beginning of the 20th century, scientists discovered the HCG hormone and its relation to pregnant women.
In the 1970s, the Predictor pregnancy test hit the shelves and women were able to test for pregnancy in the comfort of their own homes.
When to Take a Pregnancy Test
There is no straight answer as to when to take a pregnancy test. Again, this is dependent on the particular brand of pregnancy test you purchase.
Some tests state that they are able to detect pregnancy as early as six days after ovulation but the most accurate tests are those that detect pregnancy around 14 days after ovulation.
For most women, this falls mid-way through their ovulation cycle.
However, even if your menstrual cycle is regular, you should wait at least a week after your period was due before taking a pregnancy test to ensure the most accuracy.
When it comes to knowing when to purchase a home pregnancy test, a late period indicates that you are already post-ovulation and possibly pregnant – you may also notice early signs such as morning sickness and sore breasts.
Keep in mind though that every woman’s body is different and a late period, sickness, and sore breasts could be an indication of another underlying issue or may simply be normal for you.
How to Take a Home Pregnancy Test
Before you use a home pregnancy test, be sure to check the expiration date. An invalid test will produce invalid results.
Read all of the directions before you get started since certain brands can work differently than others. Also, gather your supplies such as a timer and a clean cup for urine.
You should take a home pregnancy test first thing in the morning when your urine is more concentrated. This morning pee will have a higher amount of HCG if you are pregnant than later in the day.
Wash your hands with soap and water and remove the pregnancy test from the packaging. Depending on the type of pregnancy test, you may be required to pee in a cup or pee directly onto the test.
When collecting your urine sample, it’s important to catch it midstream. Let out a little pee first and use the rest for the test.
Refer to the instructions to see how long you should wait for your results as well as how to read the results in the indicator window.
How Accurate Are Home Pregnancy Tests?
Research suggests that home pregnancy tests are around 97% accurate but false positives can occur in rare circumstances.
As long as you follow the instructions, these tests will provide a reliable result.
However, testing before your period is not recommended because this could cause a false negative. Wait until your period is due before taking a home pregnancy test.
Overall, the most accurate way to find out if you are pregnant is to visit your doctor but taking a home pregnancy test is a great alternative before seeing your doctor to confirm your results.
Home Pregnancy Tests for Peace of Mind
Whether you are trying to get pregnant or trying to avoid it, home pregnancy tests are the best way to put your mind at ease either way.
If you’re not confident about the accuracy of the test, try purchasing two separate brands and see if they both yield the same result.