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How Do I Avoid Pregnancy Test Errors?

How Do I Avoid Pregnancy Test Errors?

Each time you decide to confirm conception using a pregnancy test, your primary concern is how accurate the results will be. Many women in Australia share this concern, and it lingers even after getting the results. Although pregnancy tests are generally designed to be accurate, it’s possible to get wrong results. Often, this is caused by some of the mistakes people make while taking a pregnancy test and resulting in a pregnancy test error.

Which pregnancy test is the most accurate for early detection?
Which pregnancy test is the most accurate for early detection?

Most common pregnancy test errors

Currently, women in Australia make two primary errors when taking a pregnancy test – those that relate to the timing and the interpretation.

  • Timing error – in this case, you take the test too early and do not wait long enough for the reaction to complete to read the results, or you wait too long before reading the results.
  • Interpretation error: You do not believe the positive results or confirm the negative test (requires later testing).

When is the best time to take a pregnancy test?

Initially, deciding when to take a pregnancy test at home was simple – all one had to do was until they missed their periods to take the test. Things have changed today since some pregnancy test kits now can reveal if someone is pregnant before missing their periods.

While technological advancements may have made it easy for a pregnancy test to produce accurate results even before missing periods, the results vary depending on the person. Some women will not have enough hCG in the urine to be noticed in the test before the two-week wait period. Therefore, this testing error cannot be blamed on the test kit but rather on the timing.

How to read the results

Most of the home pregnancy tests used today come with straightforward instructions that users must follow when taking the test. You are expected to read the directions first before taking the test. The test provides an accurate time frame in which you will need to look at the kit to get your results.

How common is it for a pregnancy test to be wrong?
How common is it for a pregnancy test to be wrong?

Avoid looking too soon

If the urine sample travels through the indicator window, you may notice that both lines are present or see a plus sign. However, this doesn’t mean that you are pregnant – it only signifies that the test is working. Therefore you must wait until the end of the indicated time before reading the results. This may take one to two minutes, so make sure you use a timer on your phone or a stopwatch to keep track of the time.

Reading results late causes pregnancy test errors 

While you are not supposed to read your pregnancy test results early, you also shouldn’t read them too late. For instance, you can’t assume the test results are accurate if you took them before hopping in the shower in the morning but forgot to read them until later in the evening. Each pregnancy test kit gives a specific window in which the results will be accurate, and this is usually 5 minutes. After this period, the test may produce a faint positive result even though it didn’t detect any hCG hormone in urine. So, once you read your results within the required time frame and keep the test kit, you shouldn’t read the results later because there might be some result changes afterwards. 

How to confirm the results

In some instances, a positive pregnancy test may be wrong, and False-positive pregnancy test results are mostly caused by user error and not the test kit itself. On the other hand, a negative result can happen when you take a test too soon.

Positive result

If you have not conceived, getting a false-positive result after taking the test is unlikely. The only time this can occur is if you have a chemical pregnancy, whereby enough HCG is produced and turns the pregnancy test positive, but you miscarry shortly after, or when you have an early miscarriage.

So once you get a positive result after taking a pregnancy test, you should know you are actually pregnant. You can schedule an appointment with a health care provider to confirm the results.

Negative result

You might want to take a second pregnancy test once you get negative results in some situations. If you expected to get positive results or haven’t had your period within a week after taking the test, consider retesting. Sometimes a negative result doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not pregnant, and maybe you just tested too early before your body could produce enough hCG for the test to detect.

4 Common Pregnancy Test Mistakes to Avoid
4 Common Pregnancy Test Mistakes to Avoid

Common mistakes to avoid when taking a pregnancy test 

If you want to avoid getting pregnancy test result errors, you shouldn’t make these mistakes:

Failing to check the expiration date

Every pregnancy test kit you use comes with an expiration date, and you can find the dates on the box. So before you take a pregnancy test, be sure to confirm that the expiration date is still due. A test kit that’s passed its use dates can give an accurate answer, but it might also be wrong, so confirm this before buying and using the kit.

Not knowing your cycle dates

Most of the pregnancy test kits you will find on the market today can predict your pregnancy before missing periods. However, if you do not know your cycle dates properly, it can lead to false negatives. This occurs because the body has not produced enough pregnancy hormone (hCG). 

This can cause you to take part in risky behaviours like smoking and taking alcohol because you think you aren’t pregnant when you are pregnant. It’s better to wait until you miss your period to get accurate results.

Failing to gather all the supplies first

Although you don’t need many supplies to do a pregnancy test, it’s crucial to get everything you need before testing. This includes the test kit, urine collection container, and a watch.  This way, you will ensure you take a test correctly and read the results on time.

Failing to use enough urine

All pregnancy test cases require a certain amount of urine to work effectively. So you are expected to get enough urine samples and dip the test kit as instructed to ensure it gets enough urine for the test. If you need to place the test stick on a urine stream, ensure you have enough urine before starting the test.

Conclusion on Pregnancy Test Errors

There are reasons why at-home pregnancy tests can give inaccurate results. Fortunately, you can avoid these errors when you follow the instructions. Most mistakes are related to the user and not the test itself. Before testing, you still need to buy quality test kits and confirm their expiration date and condition (check for defects). It’s also vital to get in touch with your physician to discuss how to have a healthy pregnancy when you get a positive result.