When To Take A Pregnancy Testby Katlyn Joy | February 7, 2012 8:51 AM
When you are wondering whether you are pregnant, you may have some difficulty focuses on simple tasks like reading directions or choosing between the thirty different pregnancy tests on the shelf at your local pharmacy. Plus you hear you don't have to wait until your period is late now. So when can you accurately test for pregnancy?
Pregnancy Test Basics
First step in being in the know on pregnancy tests is understanding the chemistry behind them. All pregnancy tests measure the levels of HCG or human chorionic gonadotropin in the urine. This hormone is produced by the placenta and when the levels rise to a sufficient level, they will create a positive pregnancy test result. HCG levels show up in urine at the point where the embryo implants in the uterine wall so about a week to twelve days after fertilization.
Timing is Everything
When can you find out you are pregnant? Well, it depends on a few things. First of all, which is more important, finding out quickly or finding out for certain? If you are quite impatient (and most of us have fallen into this category around the end of the cycle) you can test as early as a few days before your period is due. However, if you want a surefire test result, you should hold off spending cash on a test that is likely to show a negative result whether a baby is on the way or not.
Probably your best bet for a certain yet early result is to test on the day you were scheduled for Aunt Flo to arrive. The HCG levels should be adequately raised to trigger a nice pink line, or baby symbol or whatever cool positive result your particular test reveals in the case of pregnancy.
If you are capable of waiting a full week past your period due date, the results from a home pregnancy test are in the 97 percent range of accuracy.
Tips for a True Result
The earlier you test, the more likely you are to get a false-negative pregnancy test result. However, you can help make sure you do what you can to get an accurate early read. For instance, use your first urine of the day since the hormone levels will be most concentrated in this collection of urine.
Let some drops of pee go before hitting the stick. Most tests work best with mid-stream urine so avoid the first stream and the last dribbles alike. Urinate for a few seconds, stop your flow and place your test stick in the general flow area and start the urine flow once more.
Give the test adequate time for the results to show up, such as up to ten minutes. However, longer than that and the results will be invalid.
However, if the indicator on your test shows pregnancy whether it's a line or a symbol, no matter how faintly you see the positive result, the result should be interpreted as indeed positive.
Factors that May Cause an Inaccurate Reading
- Some women will not get a positive test result despite being pregnant because the embryo doesn't implant until the first day of a missed period.
- More confusing, up to a quarter of all pregnancies implant so cause a rise in HCG but the pregnancies fail a short time later.
- For both of these reasons, whether the test is negative or positive, you should wait a week and retest to be certain of your pregnancy status.
- Certain hormonal treatments or medications can interfere with pregnancy test results. If you know you are on fertility drugs or were on birth control that used hormones, you should consult a physician for a most accurate pregnancy diagnosis.
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