How Accurate are Pregnancy Tests? And How Do They Work?
Home pregnancy tests are usually pretty accurate, delivering correct results 99 out of 100 times. That is, if you use them as instructed.
When you’re pregnant – specifically, when one of your eggs is fertilised and attaches itself to your uterine lining – your body secretes a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). Traces of this hormone can be found in your urine, which is why pregnancy tests require you to pee on a stick.
Though home pregnancy tests vary, the mechanism is pretty much the same. You look out for either a symbol, a line, or a colour change that will tell you whether your results are positive or negative. Usually, double lines or a plus indicate positive pregnancy test results.
Can Pregnancy Test Results Be False?
Home pregnancy tests can produce false positives or false negatives, so a doctors visit is the only way that you’ll know for sure. But if you don’t want to wait around to book the appointment, a home pregnancy test will give you a reasonably reliable result.
With that said, regardless of what the home-kit says, it’s still best to go to a doctor afterwards so that you can get a blood test. This is because a blood test, particularly a quantitative one, can help your doctors determine not only if you’re pregnant, but how far along you are.
When Can I Take A Pregnancy Test?
Pregnancy tests begin working around one week after you’ve missed your period. If you take one too early, you might not have enough HCG yet in your urine to be detectable in the test.
How Do False Positives Happen?
A false positive pregnancy test can happen for a variety of reasons:
- If the equipment has been tampered with.
- If the equipment is expired or broken.
- If the equipment has been left out for too long and exposed to heat or moisture.
- If you have certain preexisting medical conditions.
- If you’re taking certain medications.
How Do False Negatives Happen?
False negatives can happen:
- If you take the test too early and you haven’t given your body the chance to produce enough detectable HCG.
- If you don’t allow enough time for the results to fully appear on the stick.
- If you drink too much water.
- If you use the test incorrectly.
What Are the Different Kinds of Home Pregnancy Tests?
With a testing stick, you pee in a cup and dip a stick into the pee and wait for the results.
With this type of test, you collect your pee in a cup, extract a small amount using an eye dropper, and drop the liquid into a container.
This is the test you usually see being used in films and TV shows. You simply sit on the toilet to pee and try to catch some urine midstream onto the stick.
The 3 Best Home Pregnancy Tests on the Market
All of these tests are available at any Coles or Priceline in the country.
The main advantage Pregnosis has over other brands is that it’s quite affordable. The next best thing about it is its sleek and simple design. It’s also been said to be highly accurate, however, some users have noted that the results can be rather difficult to decipher.
2. Clear Blue
This product is at a kind of middle ground when it comes to sensitivity. The brand, however, has some interesting types of tests that are quite different from your standard pee stick. Our favourite is the Clear Blue Digital Pregnancy Test with Smart Countdown.
Clear Blue Digital Pregnancy Test with Smart Countdown
According to Clear Blue’s website, this digital test is the only one on the market that tells you that it’s working and when the answer is coming.
This test also has a special “Floodguard” which is said to keep urine off the parts of the device that are electronic, which means that there is less chance that the device will be damaged in use.
1. First Response
First Response is the go-to brand for a lot of women and has frequently been described as one of the most sensitive tests out there. There are actually a number of different types of tests under the first response brand (they even have ovulation kits), but we’ll go over two of the best-reviewed ones.
First Response Early Result Pregnancy Test
First Response has an early pregnancy test that can accurately decipher if you’re pregnant up to 6 days sooner than your missed period. This early pregnancy test is actually First Response’s best-selling kit, as it not only promises 99% accuracy, but can deliver results in just 3 minutes.
First Response Triple Check Pregnancy Test Kit
For those who love to double and triple check everything, this test is for you. First Response combined three of their best-selling tests into one kit.
This value pack includes the aforementioned Early Result Test, the Digital Test, and the Rapid Result Test, which delivers results in only 1 minute.
If you want to cover all of your bases, this is the kit for you.
Whether it’s planned or not, the whole ordeal of pregnancy can be extremely nerve-wracking. From the moment you suspect you’re pregnant, to the kinds of food you can and can’t eat, to the labour plans and child names. It can all be quite overwhelming.
So, when it comes to the preliminary stage when you’re just figuring out if you’re pregnant or not, it’s nice to have accuracy and assurance, so make sure that you choose your test-kit carefully.