Why you're OBSESSED with pregnancy test results (and 6 ways to get 'em wrong)
Monica Scott, BS, RN writes:
Waiting and hoping to become pregnant is a bit of a roller coaster ride for any woman who has been through it. Whether you are trying for the first time, or have been waiting for months to become pregnant, home pregnancy test results are probably on your mind. Claim 20 Free Pregnancy Tests Many women have questions about pregnancy tests and how they work, so this article will try to help answer some of those questions.
First for the boring technical stuff. Pregnancy tests measure the presence of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) in the urine. Most are as simple as “peeing on a stick”, you simply hold the test in your urine for a few seconds, then set it aside and wait. After a few minutes, the test will tell you if it detected any hCG in your urine. Now there are a few tricks to using the tests.
Factoid #1 - First, you need to make sure that enough days have passed since your period should have occurred to be sure that the levels of hCG are detectable in the urine. Some tests advertise that they work as soon as three days past your missed period, but it is usually better to wait a little longer.
Factoid #2 - If you period is unpredictable, or if you’re not sure exactly when your period should have occurred, you need to test carefully. Remember that you will get a negative if you test too early, which is why it is a good idea to wait at least a few days (no matter how much the anticipation gets to you!). Also, you need to make sure that you wait long enough after urinating to read the test- it often takes as long as ten minutes, although most are quicker. Sometimes, if you read the test too long after using, you can see what is called an “evaporation line”, which is not a positive. If you see this and still think you are pregnant, wait a few days and test again.
Factoid #3 - As far as picking the right stick to pee on, it depends on a lot of different factors. The best advice is to ask your doctor or the pharmacist, don’t just rely on the claims on the box. Once you find a brand that works for you, you can purchase multiples and safely store them for several months as long as you don’t open them. Another thing- get a backup test of a different brand. If you get a positive result, test again with the other one to be certain. If you get a negative result but you still feel other symptoms of pregnancy like tender breasts, fatigue, or mild nausea, test again with a different brand.
Factoid #4 - Some women report getting a “faint positive”, such as a very faint line. If you’ve been disappointed several time before, you may worry that your eyesight is going, but don’t worry. Even a faint positive means that the test has detected some level of hCG. Some women question if they can use ovulation predictor kits as pregnancy tests, and the answer is probably not. OPKs look for a different hormone, and they look for large amounts (i.e. a “surge”) that are present before ovulation. Home pregnancy tests are far more sensitive, and more likely to be accurate.
Factoid #5 - Regardless of which test you use, once you get positive pregnancy test results, you should confirm with a physician for all positives and any negative you may feel is incorrect. There are a few conditions that can cause false positives, which is why you should always follow up with your obstetrician/gynecologist. However, if you’ve been trying to get pregnant, and you get a positive, it’s OK to go ahead and get excited. If you have purchased a pregnancy test, you need to start treating your body as if you are pregnant.
Factoid #6 - Take good care of yourself, eat right, don’t smoke, and don’t drink alcohol. Even if you aren’t pregnant this time, taking care of your body will mean that when you become pregnant, you will be giving your baby the best chance to be healthy.
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