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Home Pregnancy Tests: How Accurate Are They and What Happens Next?

So, you think you might be pregnant. Your emotions are probably all over the place, whether you planned to become pregnant or not. It’s okay to feel a range of emotions. First, take a deep breath. Good. Now, it’s time to get an at-home pregnancy test, just to confirm or deny your suspicions. In case you weren’t aware, pregnancy tests are said to be 99% effective in their ability to tell you that you’re not pregnant. The likelihood of getting a negative result is higher before your missed period.  

Here is everything you need to know about taking an at-home pregnancy test and what you should do after the test.


How Pregnancy Tests Work

There are two primary methods of testing for pregnancy: blood and urine. All pregnancy tests are designed to detect a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). hCG is only produced during pregnancy when a fertilized egg attaches to the wall of the uterus. Blood tests can detect pregnancy sooner than at-home urine tests, as early as 6 to 8 days after ovulation. However, since the doctor will send your results to a lab, it will take longer for you to receive the results than urine tests. Women can perform a urine pregnancy test about two weeks after intercourse, but for the most accurate results, it’s best to wait until your missed period.


How Accurate Are At-Home Pregnancy Tests?

Home pregnancy tests are highly accurate when used as directed. They are just as effective as pregnancy tests done at the doctor’s office. In addition, you can purchase an at-home pregnancy test nearly anywhere, the grocery store, pharmacy, or drug store, and they don’t require a prescription. Even though many people say that digital pregnancy tests are more accurate than standard at-home pregnancy tests, this isn’t true.

For the most accurate results:

  • Double-check the expiration date and carefully follow the instructions. We advise that you wait 10 minutes after administering the test to check the results. 
  • The most accurate results will be after your missed period.  If you take the test too soon, it won’t detect hCG in your body.
  • Your results are also dependent on your body. A woman’s body can’t produce hCG until the egg implants itself on the uterine walls. In some women, implantation doesn’t happen until the first day of their missed period. Because of this, we advise women to wait until they miss their period to take an at-home pregnancy test.


When Should I Take an At-Home Pregnancy Test?

For the most accurate results, you should take your at-home pregnancy test when you first wake up because your HCG levels will be most concentrated in the morning. If you choose to take the test later in the day, make sure that the urine has been in your bladder for at least four hours. Whatever you do, be careful not to drink an excessive amount of fluids before your pregnancy test. The consumption of too many fluids directly before a pregnancy test will dilute your urine and lower your concentration of hCG levels, which can lead to inaccurate results.


What Do the Results Mean?

Before you take an at-home pregnancy test, read the directions. Different tests have different ways that they display the result. For example, some at-home test results show up as a line or color. Other tests might have a “+” symbol for a positive result and a “-” symbol for a negative result. False-negative results are much more likely to occur than false-positive results. The pregnancy test might fail to detect the hCG hormone due to numerous variables, but the results can only appear positive in the presence of the hCG hormone. Remember, only pregnant women produce this hormone, so it’s improbable that the results of your at-home test would be falsely positive. However, false-positive results are possible if you’ve taken hypnotics, anticonvulsants, and fertility medications.


What to Do After Taking a Pregnancy Test

If your at-home pregnancy test results are negative, but you still missed your period, it’s best to go to the doctor as soon as possible. You might have missed your period due to various factors, ranging from low hormone levels to stress or underlying medical conditions. 

While most women experience pregnancy symptoms before they even take the test, positive results from an at-home test are certainly a reason to visit your doctor. Your healthcare provider will require you to take another pregnancy test to confirm your results. They typically administer a pregnancy blood test. It’s okay to be hesitant about continuing the pregnancy and speak with your doctor about your other options. If you decide to carry the child to full term, your next step will be to get started with prenatal care and make an appointment with your doctor.


Countrywide Testing

If you think you might be pregnant, purchasing a pregnancy test is only the beginning of your journey. We hope this article guides you in the right direction. Countrywide Testing can provide at-home pregnancy tests if you think you might be expecting. We are also an online retailer of drug and alcohol testing and lab services, and our products include pregnancy tests, medical supplies, multi-panel drug tests, and more. We work with a SAMHSA, ISO, CLIA, and CAP licensed laboratory, which means you can rest easy knowing your samples get processed by a government-trusted facility.

If you’re interested in learning more about our services, contact us today to learn more!


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