Home Pregnancy Tests: What You Need to Know
December 22, 2020For most women who think they could be pregnant, taking a home pregnancy test is the first step. But home pregnancy tests may not always provide accurate results. And even if they do accurately detect a pregnancy, women who are pregnant should still visit a doctor to obtain another test to be sure.
Most home pregnancy tests claim to be about 99% accurate when used correctly. However, human error, the time of day at which a test is taken, medications, and other factors can contribute to a home pregnancy test producing an inaccurate result.
Fertility medications that contain human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), the hormone that home pregnancy tests find, may alter the results of a pregnancy test.1-2 Other prescription medications such as antibiotics, birth control pills, etc., should not interfere with the test results.2 Diluted urine may produce a false negative result. This is why it’s recommended that you test your urine first thing in the morning when your urine is more concentrated.2 Several other factors can affect home pregnancy test accuracy, including2:
- Taking the test too early
- Checking the test results too soon
- Ectopic pregnancy
How to Use a Home Pregnancy Test
Most women find home pregnancy tests very easy to use. You can buy them from any drug or grocery store. For best results, always follow the instructions on the package. Although home pregnancy test products have some variations, most of them require you to unwrap the individual pregnancy test, expose the absorbent tab or window (most have a removable plastic cover), point the absorbent tip directly into your urine stream for 7 seconds to 10 seconds, replace the cover, lay the test on a flat surface and wait the required amount of time to see the results.3
You also need to make sure the home pregnancy test you’re using has not been tampered with or damaged. Discard any pregnancy test products that have been opened or are missing the control strip (usually a colored line that appears on one side of the result window.)3
If your home pregnancy test produced a positive result, you should contact your doctor right away to schedule an appointment. Your doctor may do a blood test or ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy.2
If your home pregnancy test produced a negative result, wait a week and re-test if you have not gotten your period. Sometimes taking a home pregnancy test too soon after a missed period produces a false negative result.2
If you have taken multiple tests and gotten mixed results, call your healthcare provider to make an appointment. Remember, even with a 99% accuracy rating, home pregnancy tests are not perfect. Only a qualified medical professional can confirm a pregnancy with 100% accuracy.
Prenate® Vitamin Family
This post is sponsored by the Prenate® Vitamin Family, a line of prescription prenatal supplements designed to enhance preconception, prenatal, and postpartum nutrition in women. Talk with your doctor about how taking a daily prescription prenatal or postnatal vitamin could help support a healthy pregnancy and postpartum wellness.