Many home pregnancy kits claim that it can detect results as early as the first day of a missed period. However, in order to attain a very reliable result, it is good to test only a week after a missed period. Home pregnancy kits work by detecting the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This hormone is produced only after the egg has attached to the uterine lining. The amount of hCG in the body rapidly increases during the first two weeks of pregnancy. These tests are able to detect as little as 50 to 150 mIU/ml of HCG in the urine. If you wish to test early, a more sensitive test can be done at your doctor’s office.
There are various types of home pregnancy kits available in the market. In order to get accurate results, it is important to follow package instructions. The first urine in the morning is the best sample to check because it contains the most concentrated amount of hCG. The home pregnancy kit that is widely available is the dipstick test. It uses a test strip or dipstick that you can dip into a collected sample of urine. The dipstick can also be held in the flow of urine to test for the presence of hCG. A change of color at the end of the dipstick may indicate pregnancy.
Another type of test utilizes a urine collection container with a test device, thus it is called a collection cup test. You can either place drops of urine into the well of the device or, you can put the device into the urine collected in the container. An area on the device will change color indicating that you are pregnant.
The least common type of test is the chemical mixing test. A powder or liquid is needed to mix with a sample of urine. The presence of hCG will cause a chemical reaction that will result in a color change. The resulting color needs to be compared to a color comparison strip to indicate if you are pregnant.
A false-negative result may result if you test too early in your pregnancy, or if you drank a large amount of fluid prior to the testing. A false positive result can occur on the other hand, if there is soap in the urine container or, if you are taking certain medications. Medications including promethazine, diuretics and fertility pills that contain hCG may also cause false-positive results.
Early signs of pregnancy like a missed period, nausea, breast tenderness, and fatigue may be experienced by a woman. However, a pregnancy can not be confirmed in the absence of testing. Sometimes a test may yield a faint line. This may mean that you are pregnant but your hCG levels are not high enough. It is best to take the test again after a few days to determine whether you are indeed pregnant. Research has shown that the results of home kits are reliable, if it is used properly and if it is done a week after the missed period. Health care settings prefer to test hCG in the blood because it can be detected earlier as compared to hCG in the urine.
If your result says that you are not pregnant after two weeks, consult your health care provider. Factors like stress, illness and hormonal imbalances may affect the regularity of a woman’s cycle. Your doctor may be able to help you in getting your period back on track.
Home pregnancy testing has allowed women to determine pregnancy early without having to go to a doctor’s office. This is significant because the earlier a woman knows she is pregnant, the earlier she can have a prenatal check-up.