Home Pregnancy Tests: A Complete Guide

Home Pregnancy Tests: A Complete Guide

There are numerous valuable innovations in this modern world and home pregnancy test is certainly one among them. Imagine how cool it is to use the home pregnancy kit as a first step to determine if a woman is pregnant and not to worry about waiting for doctor’s appointment. A Woman can use the home pregnancy test initially to find out if she is pregnant and once this phase is achieved, she could meet the doctor to confirm the sweet news.

What is a home pregnancy test?

A woman’s body produces a hormone called Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) nearly after 2 weeks of fertilization of an egg by the sperm and it is detected in urine. The home pregnancy tests are designed in a way to spot this hormone in urine and convey us a “Yes” or “No” answer about being pregnant or not.

It is a very easy process and can fully give a woman privacy in being able to know the information about conception on her own and in her own space. However, these tests are only a way to tell us if we are pregnant or not but not any other details like how far we have gone into pregnancy.

Also Read: Should I take supplements when pregnant?

How does a home pregnancy test work?

Home pregnancy tests are usually a chemical coated stick and contain an area where we can place a small amount of urine on it and it will detect the levels of HCG hormone and the result will either be positive or negative. It is not a very time-consuming process, the results appear on the stick in about 2 to 3 minutes usually.

So, what’s the difference in conducting the tests at lab and home? The lab tests are typically conducted with samples of blood. The level of HCG hormone is also detected through this process and it will indicate the weeks of pregnancy.
As said earlier, home pregnancy tests are a great way of private confirmation and it is widely used among women worldwide as a first step in confirming the pregnancy.

Home pregnancy test preparation

Home pregnancy test kits are easily available at the pharmacies and at supermarkets. One does not require a doctor’s prescription to buy this. Always ensure to buy a kit that is not expired. For any home pregnancy kit, the instruction that comes along with it is a key to use it.
All the kits come along with their own set of instructions and in many cases, instructions are given in visual form. Each kit has the specific instruction for its use but generally, it will refer to the following details:

  • The purpose of the kit and how to use it.
  • Recommendations about the time using the kit.
  • The procedure to be followed to collect urine sample and where to use it on the strip.
  • Finding about the result of the test. Difference between a positive and negative test.
  • The product manufacturer’s details and the website and contact number to know further detailed information about the kit.
  • Details about storage information and temperature of the kit.

Types of kits available

There are few different types of home pregnancy test kits available in market. The most common is the one which contains a test strip which can be held in the urine stream while passing urine. The other available ones are where the urine is collected and the strip is dipped in it for a specific period of minutes. In both the cases, a section of the strip changes colour which indicates you are possibly pregnant.

There is a type of home pregnancy kit where the urine has to be mixed with a chemical powder or liquid and the chemical reaction will cause a colour change which is again a sign of positive test. This type is less familiar in the market compared to the other two kinds mentioned above.

Also Read: What could bleeding mean in pregnancy? Should I visit to the doctor?

How to Perform a home pregnancy test

It is always recommended to take a test first thing in the morning as the first urine sample in the morning will contain less amount of water. Drinking water before taking the test is also not advisable.
Every home test has its own instruction. But the baseline for all tests is to place the specific drops of urine on the test strip and wait for 3 to 5 minutes. The drops of urine and the time to wait is specific to each brand so please make sure to read the instructions on the kit carefully.

After the specified time, if there is one dark line and one faint line, it means the test is positive. Yet the pregnancy is so early and the laboratory tests are needed to confirm the news.

A complete guide on Home Pregnancy Test

Image source: Infobaby.org

If there is only one line appearing on the strip then it means that the test is negative and the person is not pregnant.

A complete guide on Home Pregnancy Test

Image source : Qsota.com
If there are two dark lines, then it means the result is positive and the person is pregnant.

A complete guide on Home Pregnancy Test

Image Source: Wikimedia

If no lines appear or lines appear in the area that is not expected to be seen as per the package instructions, then it means that there is something wrong with the kit. Usually, it means it is expired or damaged kit.

A home test for pregnancy can be done as soon as the first period is missed. If the person is very early in the pregnancy, it will give a negative result. Try continuing the test after few days if the period is still missed.

There are some tests that can detect very low levels of HCG in the sample. There are also quite a few tests that are very sensitive and can give one faint line even before the first period is missed.

What to Do after the home pregnancy tests?

Once the tests are shown positive, a doctor visit is essential and the expectant mother should soon start the prenatal care. If the tests are negative, try to take it after few days since the level of HCG keeps increasing if you are pregnant. In any case, once the pregnancy is confirmed please do not take medicines without prescribed by the doctor.

Also Read: 8 Things to Consider while Choosing the Right Gynecologist for You

Risks associated with home tests

There are no major risks associated with home tests. All it can do is to give false information about pregnancy and that too it all depends upon how well the test is conducted. The tests conducted in the labs are done by the professionals who are well experienced in this procedure whereas the one conducted at home can go through any amount of error due to mistakes in conducting the test or following instructions.

The Bottom Line

Conducting a home pregnancy test involves no pain. They are 99 percent accurate as it also depends on how well the test is conducted. If the tests carried continued to be negative and if you are not menstruating, it is always worthwhile to consult the doctor and get it checked.
Also, some tests are easier to read and follow compared to others so compare the available options and go for the one that suits you the most. Home tests are very beneficial in identifying the pregnancy in early stages so the prenatal care can be started from the very beginning so pregnancy is smooth and the little human being is well looked after.

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