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Pregnancy Tests: Timing and Results

Katlyn Joy |26, November 2012


Nothing is quite as nerve-wracking as waiting to find out; am I pregnant or not? Tests are becoming more sensitive and therefore it is possible to find out the big answer earlier than ever. However, timing is indeed everything. You may be able to find out you are pregnant as soon as four days prior to the expected date of your period, but it is still your best bet to wait until you've actually missed your period for the most reliable results.

How the Pregnancy Test Works

Home pregnancy tests measure hCG in your urine. This hormone, formally known as Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, is produced by the placenta and is present in blood and urine in increasing amounts so waiting until your period is due means a more accurate reading.

When to Take a Pregnancy Test

Aim for about two weeks after you think you possibly conceived at the very earliest. Anything sooner is flushing money down the toilet. Yes, it's terribly hard to delay for you will likely get a negative result and feel dejected perhaps for no good reason. Better to distract yourself a few more days and wait until the results are more trustworthy.

While some tests boast of greater sensitivity which means you don't have to take the test first things upon waking, with your first urination of the day, you'll still get more reliable results if you do use this strongest urine of the day.

Early Pregnancy Tests Reviewed

If you know you're planning to test the next day, read through the test instructions the evening before so that you know what you're doing and not flipping through the pages and fumbling with the materials while dancing around desperate not to wet yourself in the process.

False Positive Test Result

The overwhelming majority of positive pregnancy test results are correct. There are however a few ways that the test can be incorrect. Blood or protein in the urine can cause false positive test results. Fertility treatments involving hCG will cause false positives as well.

Washing a test cup and not getting rid of all soap residue may cause a false positive. Another reason can be a so-called chemical pregnancy. This is where you already miscarried a very early pregnancy and your hormone levels are still elevated enough to give a positive result to a pregnancy test.

Other possible reasons for a false-positive include the hormonal flux of menopause, ovarian tumors and ectopic pregnancy. Also, only read the test results during the time period in the instructions. If you look at the stick hours later, it may appear positive when in actuality it is negative.

False negatives are far more likely than false positives. The number one reason; testing too soon. If you get a negative result and your period hasn't started within a week, retest.

Other possible reasons for a false negative pregnancy test include having too diluted urine for the test (did you drink too much water prior to testing?) medications such as diuretics or a certain antihistamine called promethazine, anti-convulsants, anti-Parkinson drugs, hypnotics and tranquilizers, using an outdated or expired test kit, not following directions for the test correctly and failure to read the test results in the appropriate time as indicated by directions.

If you repeatedly get false results but continue to have pregnancy symptoms without the appearance of your period, consult your doctor. You may need a blood test or a sonogram to confirm whether or not you are pregnant.

If you know you may be more likely to get a false positive result, you may want to invest in a home test that requires higher levels of hCG in order to obtain a positive result. Those involved in fertility treatments may head to the doctor's office to take out any stress over guess work involved.

Related Articles

Can You Trust Your Home Pregnancy Test Results?

Early Pregnancy Tests Reviewed

Interpreting Home Pregnancy Tests

hCG Hormone in Pregnancy

When To Take A Pregnancy Test


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