What is a home pregnancy test?
A home pregnancy test is a simple test to detect pregnancy using a urine sample and can be easily done within the home environment with little or no technical knowledge. The test may be done with any urine sample but the first voided morning urine sample is preferred since it is likely to have a high concentration of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin).
How soon can I take a home pregnancy test?
There are various home pregnancy test kits available which may be used and most tests use the immunometric assay (refer to Pregnancy Testing – Types of HCG Tests). You should consider taking a home pregnancy test about 2 weeks after missing a period and not after having unprotected sex.
Many manufacturers claim that a home pregnancy can be used as early as the day of the missed period or even 3 to4 days before missing a period and that these results are 99% accurate results. This may not actually be the case. The urine hCG level at this time is variable and may lie below the sensitivity of detection, so while some women may test positive, a false-negative result is also quite possible.
The most accurate result is recorded when a test is done 2 weeks after a missed period.
What are the reasons for a false-positive or false-negative result on a home pregnancy test?
A false-positive result means that you recorded a positive result on your pregnancy test but you are not pregnant. A false-negative results means that you recorded a negative (“not pregnant”) result on your pregnancy test but you are pregnant.
Refer to the article on Causes of False-Positive and False-Negative Pregnancy Test Results.
What do I do if the home pregnancy test is negative?
If negative, the test should be repeated after several days. Alternatively you should speak to your doctor about other types of hCG tests which may give more accurate readings in a shorter period of time after conception.
How do I use a home pregnancy test?
All tests come with instructions which should be followed closely to get accurate results.
Some tests use dipsticks which are dipped in a sample of urine while others use a test strip in the urine stream. A dropper may be used to put a few drops of urine in the test well. A color change or confirmation mark indicates pregnancy. Some show a single line to denote negative result and a double line to indicate pregnancy. Others may show a plus or minus sign. Always refer to the package insert for the correct information on interpreting a home pregnancy test result.
Home pregnancy tests with digital readings may give better results than non-digital tests. These indicate a “pregnant” or “not pregnant” reading on the test window.
Will a home pregnancy test show how many weeks or months pregnant I am?
No. There are a number of methods to calculate the pregnancy due date and the stage of pregnancy. You can use the online due date calculator to estimate the stage of pregnancy based on your last menstrual period (LMP). Ideally you should consult with a doctor if your home pregnancy test gives a positive result.