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Pregnancy Test Basics

by Allison Hutton | 2 Comments

Where do you begin, when discussing the "basics" of home pregnancy tests? Yes, they appear simple. They are easily accessible. They have their own instructions - in English and Spanish. They provide you with "800" numbers, should you have any questions. And most importantly, they even come in TWO-PACKS.

But there is much more to the Home Pregnancy Test (HPT) than meets the eye. For example, did you know that you should try and pee a bit, and then stop, before using the test? This is to enable the highest concentration of hCG to be detected. hCG is the hormone produced by a pregnant woman. It is what gives you two linesa plus sign. or whatever else it is you are looking for. However, there has to be a minimum amount present, depending on what test you use. Some tests can detect 25miu of hCG, while some can detect 50miu, and so on. The lower the amount that can be detected, the earlier you can test. Some of the less-expensive, store-brand tests boast the ability to detect a very low amount of hCG. But, be forewarned - I know a MAN who used one of these tests, and lo and behold, he was pregnant!

On a personal note, EPT is my brand of choice. If I only knew 10 years ago what I know now, I would have bought stock in this company, and retired to the South of France at the ripe old age of 25. These people have gotten a LOT of my money. Home Pregnancy Tests are a cash cow, no doubt about it. Whether you want to be pregnant, or pray that you aren't, you want (and need) to know NOW. I know many women (myself included) who have made midnight trips to Wal-Mart for HPT's. They call your name when you walk by. How can you possibly resist them?

The most common type of test available is one where you are to urinate on a small stick for ten seconds. Not only do you need a very accurate aim, but a fairly steady stream as well. These tests can be performed in a much simpler way. Simply collect a urine sample in a clean, dry cup, and dip the stick into the urine. Most HPT's offered will provide you with included instructions on how to do this, to provide an accurate result.

Keep in mind that when you test is just as important as how you test. When you are anxiously awaiting a pregnancy, all common sense goes out the window. ALL tests state that they can be used as early as the first day of your missed period. I have yet to come across a home pregnancy test that can give you an accurate result 5 days after ovulation, yet I know multitudes of women who have tested this soon; more than once. Did I mention I was one of these women? I knew that I was going to get a negative result. But I also knew that I bought a two pack. These tests are very tempting, and extremely hard to resist. On average, I will say that of my six pregnancies, the earliest I ever had a positive result was 12 days past ovulation. On average, however, I have found that day 14 works well. It all sounds good in theory. Have your partner hide the tests from you. My husband actually took mine to work with him, so that I wouldn't "waste" them. Little did he know, I went out and bought another twin-pack behind his back. A good piece of advice is to hit drug stores that are going out of business. You can get fantastic bargains there. I have yet to find anywhere where you can buy these tests in bulk, but I am sure it's coming.

Another sound piece of advice is to trust the results. Most doctors' offices use the same tests that we "regular" people do. Other than a blood test, a home pregnancy test is the most accurate method of determining whether or not you are pregnant. A line, no matter how faint, is a line. If you see 2 lines, assume that you are pregnant, and take another test in a day or two. It is also very important that you set up your first prenatal appointment as soon as possible. And finally, if you are confused about how to correctly read the test results, or have any other "technical" questions, don't hesitate to call the 800 number provided in the instructions. Often times, you will speak to an actual nurse, who will be more than helpful. Good luck, take your time, and happy testing!

My name is Allison Hutton. I was recently introduced to the Baby Corner by Elizabeth Geiger, and have found it to be a wonderful resource for those trying to conceive, those who are expecting, and those who are already parents. I am a stay at home Mom to my beautiful daughter, Hannah, and wife to my wonderful husband, Daniel. After a long journey battling recurrent pregnancy loss, we welcomed our daughter into the world on St. Patrick's Day, 1999. Motherhood has been the most challenging, exhausting, and rewarding job I have ever had! In my "spare" time, I enjoy freelance writing about issues dealing with pregnancy, parenting, infertility, and women's health. I hope to provide some insight to pregnancy, as well as information that can be difficult to find on the web. I look forward to becoming a part of the Baby Corner, and hope to make a difference, no matter how small.

Allison is a contributing editor for The Baby Corner as well Editor of Pregnancy after Miscarriage at Suite 101.

Visit he webpage at


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baby hungry Jan 26, 2015 04:08:34 PM ET

I want to know that answer to. but for me and my husband. we've been trying for what seems like forever for how often i test. although it's only been a little past two months. i am desperate, you could say, to get pregnant, now that my sister in law is now pregnant with her fourth. help please.

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guest Aug 14, 2013 12:40:39 PM ET

What can we (me and my boyfriend ) take to increase our chances of conceiving fast?

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