Early Pregnancy Tests: When to Take One, Accuracy & Results
If you’ve come here looking for the facts about home pregnancy tests (HPT), you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’ve never taken a test before or taken several in your life, a lot of emotions go into the act. Not to mention the questions that can fill one’s mind as you select and take home pregnancy tests (HPT). You might wonder about the different tests available and how effective they are at detecting early on. Perhaps you are curious about what factors can play a role in the efficacy of your test. To ease your mind, we’ve put together this article to help you feel more informed and relaxed about your decision to use an HPT.
How Do Early Pregnancy Tests work?
To achieve an accurate reading from an HPT, you’ll need to follow the instructions closely. Tests that the TGA approves, or Therapeutic Goods Association, have 99-per cent accuracy through lab testing.
To provide accurate test results, a pregnancy test is designed to detect hCG levels, which are hormones that are produced by an implanted embryo. This hormone can be detected via blood or urine around seven-to-ten days following ovulation, though testing at home relies on urine. Most pregnancy tests recommend taking the test with the very first-morning bathroom break, as this increases the accuracy of the exam by providing the greatest concentration of hormones. For a more thorough explanation, head over to our instructions page to learn more about how pregnancy tests function.
It is worth noting that different people experience an increase in hCG at various rates. Regardless of whether you received a positive or negative result on your test, taking additional ones can help reduce the risks of a false positive or negative.
Tips to getting Accurate Results Early
You can get the most out of pregnancy tests by following a few suggestions. It’s important to understand how these tests work to better understand how you can maximize the tests you have available. There are multiple types of pregnancy tests to choose from, including urine tests, blood tests, midstream, and pregnancy strip tests. We will look at each one here.
Pregnancy Strip Tests Vs. Midstream Tests
A frequently asked question is, which is the best pregnancy test?
Pregnancy strip tests and midstream tests are the two most used types of pregnancy tests. Strip tests, which are typically cheaper, are thin strips that don’t come in plastic casing. They may be called urine pregnancy tests, HCG tests, pregnancy kit tests, or HPT.
Strip tests allow you to enjoy highly accurate results without spending the money you’d typically spend on midstream tests. As they are smaller than midstream tests, those with poor eyesight may have trouble reading the results.
On the other hand, midstream tests are larger tests that are contained within a plastic casing to keep the testing space safe from contamination. These are a bit easier to read than pregnancy strip tests, as they have a wider testing panel to display the result. The additional materials, such as the casing and added width, lead to a higher cost in comparison to the pregnancy strip tests. Midstream pregnancy test results can be easier to read, as the casing allows you to collect enough of a sample to assess hCG levels more easily.
It’s important to select the test that is right for you. Regardless of your decision, you can rest assured that an early test result can allow you to seek antenatal care as quickly as possible.
Blood Tests Vs. Urine Tests – Which Is Better?
Urine tests are taken at home using an HPT. However, there is also a blood pregnancy test that you can go to your doctor’s office or a clinic to have administered. While both types of tests can identify hCG hormones, it’s important to consider the differences between these two types of pregnancy tests.
Blood tests are typically recommended after achieving a positive test at home, though you are free to head straight to the clinic. These tests tend to be more expensive in comparison to a home pregnancy test. They are also usually more sensitive to hCG, which allows them to determine the level of hormones using your blood sample. Because these tests can measure hCG hormone levels, there are two forms of blood tests: qualitative and quantitative. The quantitative exam is used to determine the volume of hormones, while the qualitative test simply assesses if the hormone level has surpassed the amount needed to test positive.
In 1976 when home pregnancy tests were first introduced in they were pretty expensive and complex. These tests have been significantly simplified. Now, you can take tests at home before heading off to the doctors for verification. If you do receive a positive pregnancy test, we recommend waiting 24 – 48 hours and retesting before heading to your GP
F.A.Q. about Testing Accuracy
Here, we will answer some of the most common questions and concerns that people have about pregnancy tests.
How accurate are early pregnancy tests?
A home pregnancy test can be highly accurate. As noted above, our TGA-approved tests provide over 99-per cent accuracy when the instructions are followed. Before you use any test, always check the expiration date. The maximum expiration date is two years. You can typically find the expiration date stamped on the wrapping of your test.
When can I start testing for pregnancy?
The dates that you can begin testing depend entirely on the pregnancy test that you’ve chosen. Using our HPT, you can start anywhere from seven to ten days following your ovulation period. Testing any time between 3DPO – 6DPO can lead to incorrect and misleading pregnancy test results.
Following successful implantation, your hCG hormones will increase daily. As mentioned above, your first bathroom break of the day provides the greatest accuracy. Though positive lines may be faint early on, they will grow darker as your hCG levels rise.
What variables can impact accuracy in early detection?
There are a variety of factors that can play a role in the accuracy of pregnancy tests. Luckily, there are steps that you can take to maximize accuracy. For instance, the implantation date is important, as it can occur very quickly after your ovulation period.
What does that mean? Simply that hCG hormones may become present early or a bit later on, depending on when the embryo implants into the womb. You can chart your fertility to navigate this more readily. Menstruating people can have different cycle lengths, ranging from 21 days to 35. Also, each cycle can vary in length. By tracking your cycles using a chart, you can more readily determine when you are most fertile and when to start taking tests.
The rate at which hCG increases also plays a role. Different people experience an increase of hCG at different rates. In many cases, it tends to double daily; however, this isn’t always what happens. The highest hCG levels are found in the first urine sample of the day, so it’s ideal to always test during your first bathroom break. If you, for any reason, can’t do this for your first urine release of the day, you can test later on. Simply behold it for as long as possible while avoiding caffeinated beverages and other drinks beforehand. Since caffeine is a diuretic, it will make it more challenging to get a more exact test result.
The test that you choose to take is just as important as the above factors. Different pregnancy tests have various sensitivity levels. A highly sensitive test to hCG levels will detect pregnancy much earlier than a less sensitive one. It’s common for generic and chemist brand tests to require that you wait until you’ve missed your next period; unfortunately, that removes the opportunity for early detection. With our early detection hCG tests, high sensitivity early pregnancy tests, you can learn if you are pregnant before you miss your period.
Finally, there is one last factor that can affect your home pregnancy test results. Some medications may impact your test results. While most counter and prescription medications won’t, some fertility drugs may contain hCG hormones, leading to a false positive. One of the most popular fertility drugs on the market is Clomid, which does not contain hCG. However, if you are taking fertility drugs, consult with your doctor to learn their potential effects on home pregnancy tests and ovulation tests.