A pregnancy test detects increased levels of hormones to determine whether an individual is pregnant. Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is the hormone that all pregnancy tests detect. This hormone is produced 6 days after fertilisation of an egg.
Which pregnancy test is right for you?
The type of pregnancy testing you opt for is based on your personal preference. Testing comes in many forms. For instance, it can be performed through a blood sample which involves journeys to your GP or a doctor. The most common, and preferred by many women, method of pregnancy detection in this early stage is through a home test.
Home pregnancy testing
Home testing is a quick and straightforward method of pregnancy detection. It can be started on the first day of you missing your period. Alternatively, you can do one 21 days after having unprotected sex if you’re unsure of your period timing. Home pregnancy tests come in many forms, so it is best to take your time and read the instructions carefully to ensure the best results possible.
You can buy pregnancy testing kits at some local supermarkets and our local pharmacies. Free pregnancy tests can be offered to you from your GP under certain circumstances. Most pregnancy testing that can be done at home is not too costly, so unless it’s urgent, a visit to your GP is unnecessary.
How to complete the test
Pregnancy test kits usually come with 1 to 2 sticks per box. To complete the test, visit a private room in your house and pee onto the stick provided; wait for the test to process (usually 3 to 5 minutes), and you should see either a positive or negative result. You can repeat the process if you wish if a negative result is given, as this isn’t a definitive sign. If you continue to see symptoms, then pop into the pharmacy to discuss further options and possible referral to your GP for more.
If you think you may be pregnant, then it’s best not to be in the dark. A pregnancy test is the most reliable and clear way to confirm if you are pregnant or not.
Most home pregnancy tests claim to be 99 per cent accurate. However, the result can be affected by the time you choose to take the test, most notably, on the first day of a missed period. It is very possible to get a “false negative” from a pregnancy test if taken too early or taken incorrectly and you may still be pregnant even if the test says otherwise.
It is also possible for you to see a “false positive” after taking a test. These are much rarer and usually only occur due to underlying issues or the use of fertility supplements that contain hCG.
Some highly sensitive pregnancy tests can be used accurately before you have even missed your first period, but it is important to try multiple tests to ensure the result is correct.
If you have received a negative result but you still feel as if you are pregnant, try another test within a few days to see if the result changes. If it continues to come back negative but you still have not begun your period or feel as though you are pregnant, check with your health care provider. There are several other causes of missed menstrual periods that could be affecting you.
Yes, drinking too much of any liquid can affect your result by diluting your urine. You shouldn’t try to force yourself to urinate by drinking lots in a short period, instead, wait until you naturally feel the need to go to the toilet.
Avoiding diluting your urine lowers the chance of you receiving a false negative result
Some pregnancy tests can spot hCG before you miss a period. But the results will be more accurate if you wait until the first day of a missed period.
Results may also be more accurate if you do the test first thing in the morning, when your urine is more concentrated.