Pregnancy Test Kits
Pregnancy Test Kit – All you wanted to know
How to Use a Home Pregnancy Test?
When you are not sure whether you are pregnant or not, you can confirm it by using a home pregnancy test kit. The test kit allows you to self confirm your pregnancy through a simple urine test. The test kits available in the market detect the presence of hCG (human chrionic gonadotropin) a hormone that is found only in a pregnant woman.
The test kit uses your urine sample to detect the presence of hCG hormone and confirms your pregnancy status. Though very simple to use and self confirm your pregnancy accurately, you need to follow specific instructions given in the test kits to get accurate results.
Let us see the steps involved in using a pregnancy test accurately for best results:
Buying a home pregnancy test kit
There are number of home pregnancy test kits are available in the market, both offline and online. You can choose any brand and all the test kits work using the same principle - detection of hCG hormone in urine. So, you don't need to worry about any brand for that matter. You only have to look at the expiry date of the kit before buying it. The box should be completely sealed without any wear and tear, as a damaged kit might affect your results.
Make sure the product carries a toll-free number on the box or any other contact details which you can all of you have any doubts or questions regarding the testing procedure or anything about the product itself.
When to Take a Pregnancy Test?
Frankly, you don't need any advice about when to take a pregnancy test. You will tend to take a test when you suspect whether you may be pregnant or take a test out of curiosity when you are planning to become pregnant.
Before going further, we want you to understand how a pregnancy test strip works and how you can use it at home to get accurate result in just 5 minutes using simple procedures.
When the sperm breaks into your egg and a fetus is developed, your body produces a hormone called human Chorionic Gondotrophin, in short, hCG. The presence of this hormone can be detected using a pregnancy strip and through this you can be sure whether you are pregnant or not. The production level of hCG doubles during early stages and thus you can be get sure results if you use the test card after first few days of your missing periods. Example, if your periods cycle is to appear on Friday and it misses, then you can try this test either on Saturday or Sunday to know whether you are pregnant or not.
The hCG level increases as your pregnancy progresses, peaking at around 8-11 weeks, before dropping to a lower level at 12 and 16 weeks. Some pregnancy test kits can detect hCG levels as low as 10 or 25mIU/ml. If you’re pregnant, at 10 days past ovulation (DPO) you may be able to detect around 25mIU. At 12 days past ovulation, you should be able to detect around 50mIU and at 14 days past ovulation, 100mIU.
Most pregnancy test cards insist you to take the test atleast one day after your missed period or on the 6th day of your unprotected sex.
Why it is advisable to take pregnancy test on the day of missed periods, why not before?
HCG develops in a woman's body only when a fertilized eggs gets seated in her uterus. The seating of fertilized egg practically happens on or around 6th day as sperm and egg merger happens only after 6 days. So, if you take the test too early, home pregnancy tests may show you negative results as they won't be able to detect the presence of hCG hormones in the urine.
There can be two scenarios if you take pregnancy test before your missed periods
Scenario 1 - You may receive a negative result, but you could still be pregnant. If you attempt a test earlier than the first day of your missed period, the test may show negative because the hCG levels produced may not be sufficient enough for the test card to detect.
Scenario 2 - It may show a positive result, but may not develop into a complete pregnancy due to the incidence of spontaneous miscarriage. The above two scenarios can occur before your period is due.
Why first urine in the morning is insisted for home pregnancy test cards? Why not during other times of the day?
The hCG hormone, also called as pregnancy hormone, is usually at its highest levels only during the early morning. As home pregnancy test cards detect only the presence of hCG hormones in your urine, it is advised to use the early morning urine as the chances of detection of hCG is more during early morning.
Also, it is important to note that you should not take any liquid before taking the test as excessive fluid intake my dilute the presence of hCG, which can impact the results.
Preparing Yourself for the Home Based Pregnancy Test
It is highly recommended to follow manufacturer's instruction given in the pack to do the test for best results. The procedure may slightly vary with many brands and if you don't follow the instructions properly, the results may vary. Whichever brand you may use, never touch the absorbent pad with your hands before taking tests.
Taking a home pregnancy can be a nerve-wracking experience, particularly when you're anxiously hoping for one result or the other. Take the test privately and give yourself as much time as you need, or have your partner or a close friend stand outside the bathroom door to talk you through it. Wash your hands with warm water and soap, then carefully remove the testing stick from its wrapper.
Test Procedure for Home Based Pregnancy Test
There are normally two ways you can perform the test, midstream or in a cup. If you prefer to test midstream, all you need to do is hold the test almost vertically and pass it through a weak stream of urine, making sure you avoid water or urine being splashed on the device before starting the test.
If you need to urinate directly on the stick, make sure to follow the instructions carefully. With some tests, you need to urinate on the stick for a very specific time, for example exactly 5 seconds, no more or no less. Use a stopwatch to help you time it, if necessary.
When urinating on the stick, make sure to place the absorbent end of the stick into the urine stream and turn it so that the display window faces upwards.
If you prefer to use the cup method, urinate into a clean, dry container and drop few drops of urine on the absorbent pad using the dropper. You don't need to completely immerse the absorbent pad with urine, 1cm is sufficient. You have to wait for 3-5 minutes to get the results.
Alternatively, some brands may require that you dip the absorbent end of the test stick right into the collected urine. And you should hold it for 5 to 10 seconds, or for the amount of time indicated in the instructions.
In either case, you have to wait anywhere between 1 to 5 minutes to get an accurate result. It is advisable to see the instructions on the pack regarding the required time for your test. It is difficult to avoid anxious as you are tend to keep looking at the test strip and time seems to go slow due to your anxiety. You can distract yourself
READING YOUR RESULTS with Pregnancy test Card
As you wait for your result, you may see a coloured liquid moving across the test strip. Don't panic, this is normal.
1 Line = Not Pregnant
If you see only 1 colored line appears, the test is negative and you are not pregnant.
A positive result (2 Lines) indicates that your urine contains hCG (human Chorionic Gonadotropin) and you can assume you are pregnant. You should consult your doctor who is best able to further advise you on proper prenatal care. If you are taking medication, telephone him or her immediately and make sure it is safe for your baby.
2 Lines = Pregnant
If 2 colored lines appear, the test is positive and you are pregnant. Don't worry if the lines appear faint or dark, you are still pregnant. In any form light or dark, if you could see two lines clearly, it means you are pregnant for sure.
A negative result (1 Line in the “Control Zone” ) means that no hCG has been detected and you can assume you are not pregnant. If a week passes and your menstrual period is still delayed, you should do another Pregnancy Test. If the result is still negative in the later test, there is little chance that you are pregnant.
However, because there could be health-related reasons why you are not menstruating, you should see your doctor without delay.
What Does a Positive Pregnancy Test Look Like?
A positive test result will clearly show two lines, it can be light or dark. A positive result will look like as shown in the figure below.
What Does a Negative Pregnancy Test Look Like?
A negative pregnancy test will display only one line. It will be similar to what is shown below.
Invalid Test Result: If not even a single line appears, the test is invalid and it is an indication that test strip was not filled with sufficient urine. You can reapply urine for 5 seconds and then wait for 10 minutes to get results.
If you still don't get any result, you can deem that the test is invalid and redo the test next day. You have to use a fresh test strip as these strips are meant only for single use.
LIMITATIONS OF HOME BASED PREGNANCY TEST
- Know that test strip can work best only when you follow the instructions properly
- Although the test strip is highly accurate in detecting pregnancy, chances of false results are also possible.
- Know that certain health conditions, infertility treatment and certain medications can also cause a false result. You are advised to check with your doctor if you get inconsistent test results
- Consumption of alcohol, analgestics (pain killers), antibiotics and birth control pills will not affect test results.
- The test strip should not be used beyond its expiry date.
What are the Early Signs & Symptoms of Pregnancy?
The following symptoms are common among pregnant women:
• Breasts become tender
• Nausea, vomiting, or both
• Weight gain
• Breast enlargement, nipples thickening and mild breast discharge
• Frequent urination, more times than normal
Pregnancy Test Card - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. How does the Pregnancy Test Strip work?
When a woman is pregnant, her body produces a special hormone called hCG and this hormone appears in the urine as early as the first day of her missed periods. The absorbent area in the pregnancy strip is coated with a chemical that can detect the presence of hCG in the urine sample. A positive result is a confirmation of presence of hCG which confirms that the woman is pregnant. A negative result is an indication that presence of hCG is not there and that the user can assume that she is not pregnant.
Q. I got a very thin line, but two lines appeared clearly. Is that a confirmation of my pregnancy?
Yes. You are pregnant. The color or thickness of the lines is not important. Presence of two lines is a confirmation of your pregnancy.
Q. Can the results change after sometime?
A positive result might not change even after the test is completed or even several hours thereafter. When it shows positive, you are pregnant and there is no way you can change it. However, if you could negative result, you could try it after few days and chances are that it might become positive.
Q. I am pretty sure about my pregnancy, still I got a negative result. What should I do?
This could happen if you miscalculated your period and did the test little earlier than it should have been done. If your period doesn't start within a week, you can repeat the test. If you still got a negative result, you can consult your gynaecologist.
Q. What if I couldn't read anything with the test kit?
If you are not sure about the test result, you can redo the test with a fresh strip after three days if you are not getting your periods.
Q. What factors can give false positive results?
A. This is a very important question and under following circumstances you may receive a false positive result
- You may get a positive result if you had a miscarriage or have given birth within the past 8 weeks (since hCG may still be in your system).
- Certain drugs which contain hCG or that are used in combination with hCG (such as Pregnyl, Profasi, Pergonal, APL) and
- Some rare medical conditions such as trophoblastic disease, Islet cell tumors, and carcinomas can also give false positive results.
When you come across such cases, it is better to ask your doctor to interpret your test results accurately.
Are Home based Pregnancy Tests Accurate?
Most of the home pregnancy test kits claim to be 99% accurate when the test is taken on the first day after the missed period. However, you are most likely to get false negative result due to faulty test method or having low hormone levels which can be too low to be detected. For all practical reasons, you can trust all branded pregnancy test cards and new test cards being introduced by reputed companies.
I Am Taking Medication; Will This Have Any Affect On The Pregnancy Test card Results?
If you are taking antibiotics, the contraceptive pill, or painkillers, this should not affect the result of the test. If you are on any fertility medication which contains hCG, you may receive a false positive.
If The Test Result Is Faint or Hard to Read, Does That Mean I Am Not Pregnant?
It’s normal for the result on the pregnancy test to be either fainter or darker than the control line. The reason it may be fainter could be due to less hCG in your urine, especially very early in your pregnancy. It may be darker if your pregnancy is more progressed.
How Long Should The Pregnancy Test Take to Work?
The test result should be read from 5 minutes and no later than 10 minutes. If any lines do appear after 10 minutes, it is still a negative result and must be disregarded. If you read the test sooner than 5 minutes, it may also be inaccurate as it has not had enough time to work. So, you should ideally wait for atleast 5 minutes to read your test results accurately.
What If There Are No Lines Visible At All On The Pregnancy Test?
It is unlikely that this will happen, but if it does, disregard the test. It may be faulty or due to not enough urine on the absorbent pad, too much urine on the absorbent pad or the test was not held correctly in the stream of urine. Repeat the test, carefully following the instructions as in the above question on how to use the test.
When shall I repeat the Pregnancy test, if I am not satisfied with the result?
If the result is negative and your period hasn't started after a few days, you can redo the test anytime again. You must have miscalculated your period date and /or the presence of hCG levels may be too low to detect. If you receive a negative result even after the second test and still you are not getting your periods, you should consult your physician. Some women may be able to detect their pregnancy only after a blood test. It is better to consult your doctor and she may be able to give a perfect solution to you.
After the home based Pregnancy test I know I am pregnant. What should I do now?
You should first pay a visit to your gynaecologist and allow her to confirm the pregnancy through her methods. Then you can plan your pre-natal care, be it through a midwife, obstetrician or combined care. You can choose the hospital where you want to give birth to your kid and other aspects by consulting your gynaec.
I am trying to get pregnant, but I have not been able to do it till date. What should I do?
It is normal for married couple to conceive anytime in the first one year of trying. You can use a ovulation kit to ascertain the best days of your ovulation cycle and try intercourse on those specific days to become pregnant. Ovulation kit helps you identify the most fertile days of your cycle and thus allowing you to try specifically on those particular days. If you are not getting pregnant still after trying ovulation test, then you can consult a fertility expert and proceed with further treatments.
Home Pregnancy Test Risks
Practically, there are no medical risks associated with a pregnancy test strip.
A pregnancy strip may display inaccurate results that are either falsely positive or falsely negative. Errors may occur due to your poor handling or inaccurate collection of urine sample. You may get an inaccurate test results when you test it too early in pregnancy as the hCG levels may be too low to be detected by pregnancy strip.
If your urine sample is not collected during the early morning first urine, results may vary as the hCG may be too dilute to show a positive, even if you are a pregnant.
Some women may find it difficult to follow the instructions. In many cases women who received negative results using a pregnancy strip, were subsequently proved to be pregnant.
Negative results may affect some women psychologically, making them feel depressed.
After the Home Pregnancy Test Procedure
Consult your doctor and allow her to confirm your results and follow further procedures as per her recommendations.
You are advised not to change medications or their dosages based on a home pregnancy test results without consulting your doctor.
Home pregnancy test kit is meant to self-confirm your pregnancy through a simple test. It is not a replacement for professional medical advice and treatment. Do not jump into conclusions or change any medication without consulting your doctor.