Becoming pregnant is a life changing event in every woman’s life. However, once a menstrual cycle goes missing, the average woman will want to confirm pregnancy by taking a home pregnancy test.
What follows are some important questions and answers about taking pregnancy tests, their level of reliability and several homemade pregnancy tests options.
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How Soon Can a Pregnancy Test Be Taken?
The sensitivity of the pregnancy test that will be used (which varies depending on brand) is the best guideline for when to start testing to confirm pregnancy. However, waiting until the first day of a missed period (approximately fourteen days after ovulation) provides the most accurate results.
Human chorionic gonadotropin (also known as hCG) is the hormone that causes pregnancy tests to show a positive result. It is produced by the body after the uterus accepts a newly implanted fertilized egg, which traveled through the fallopian tubes to its final destination in the uterine wall over the course of a week.
The hCG that the body produces is excreted through the urine, which is used as a sample for detecting pregnancy hormone levels.
Very early positive test results (as early as a week after conception or four days before a missed period) can be obtained by using tests that are sensitive to extremely low levels of pregnancy hormones.
The packaging of each home pregnancy test indicates its sensitivity as a measure of milli-International Unit per milliliter (or mIU/ml), and usually range from 10mIU/ml to 40 mlU/ml.
Tests that can detect the pregnancy hormone sooner have a lower mIU/ml, making them much more sensitive to changing levels.
When can a pregnancy test be taken?
The best time to take a pregnancy test for the most accurate result is the day of, or after missing a menstrual period. However, many home pregnancy tests are available that can provide accurate results before missing a period, and indicate this on the packaging.
If taken before a missed period, the chances of a home pregnancy test being accurate increases the closer the testing is to the day of the missed period.
Individuals who have regular menstrual cycles and are familiar with the timing will know exactly when they have missed their period and can test at that time. However, if an individual is not certain about the date of their expected period, the most accurate results come from allowing a minimum of three weeks to elapse between last instance of sexual intercourse (unprotected) and the date of testing.
How accurate are pregnancy tests?
If taken after a missed period and used correctly, pregnancy tests provide accurate results 99% of the time. However, using an expired test, taking it too early or using the test incorrectly can affect the accuracy of the results.
What if the pregnancy test is negative?
Pregnancy is not likely once there is a negative test result. However, a negative result can also indicate a test taken incorrectly or too early. If this is the case, take another home pregnancy test after missing the start of menstruation to get the most accurate results.
What if the test is taken correctly and there is a negative result?
If a pregnancy test is taken properly and there is still a negative result, the individual is most likely not pregnant.
Issues such as excessive exercise, thyroid imbalances, stress and other problems can cause a delayed or absent period.
Consult with your health care professional if there is no positive pregnancy test but menstruation continues to be delayed or absent for several weeks. They will perform tests to determine if pregnancy is the cause or other issues, which can be treated to regulate the menstrual cycle.
Why does a false negative pregnancy test result happen?
Getting a negative result when an individual thinks she is pregnant can be very stressful and may in fact be a false negative. This means that the woman is actually pregnant but for one reason or another a pregnancy test does not show a positive result.
The most common reasons for false negatives on pregnancy tests are using the test before the recommended time and using it incorrectly.
- Taking a pregnancy test before a missed period dramatically reduces the accuracy of the result.
- Not following pregnancy test instructions carefully can also lead to getting a result that is falsely negative.
- Not using a concentrated urine sample can produce a falsely negative pregnancy test result. If possible, use first morning urine to do the testing. If that is not possible, hold urine in the bladder for several hours before doing the test so that hormone levels in the urine can build up.
- The body may not have had the chance to produce a sufficient amount of hCG to be detected by a home pregnancy test if it is still very early in the process, which can result in a falsely negative result.
- While there is no pregnancy test that offers one hundred percent accuracy in its result, some tests are more sensitive to lower hormone levels than others.
- In addition, even the most sensitive tests will not pick up pregnancy hormones from women who naturally produce very low levels.
- Ovulating later than normal can also lead to a false negative pregnancy test result, because the pregnancy has not progressed far enough to show an accurate result.
Waiting three days to a week after a missed period provides the most accurate test results despite the fact that some tests can detect HCG on the same day as a missed period.
The possibility of conceiving long after intercourse is possible since sperm can survive in the female reproductive system for as long as five days. Therefore it is not wise to test based on an assumed conception date.
If all else fails, hCG can also be detected by blood tests, which are the most accurate and sensitive of all pregnancy test types that provides results within a week of implantation. Blood tests for pregnancy are usually done based on medical need, and do not usually happen until there is a missed period.
Homemade Pregnancy Tests
The following are homemade pregnancy tests that may be able to indicate a pregnancy if used at the correct time. Before using each of these tests, drink enough water to encourage urination, and if possible, use first morning urine for the most accurate results.
- Dandelion Leaves
Dandelion leaves make an effective, simple to use and easy to find early pregnancy test. However, it is important to use the right kind of leaves for the most accurate results. Avoid using leaves that are in the direct pathway of sunlight, and instead look for those that grow in shaded areas.
- Remove several dandelion leaves from the plant and put them into a container made of plastic. Do not expose the leaves to sunlight at this point.
- Add enough first morning urine to the container to cover the leaves completely.
- Let the urine and leaves sit in the container for at least ten minutes.
- After this time passes, have a look at the leaves to see if red blisters (bumps) form on them. If blisters are present it indicates pregnancy.
- If blisters are not present, wait an additional ten minutes before checking the leaves again.
- If blisters are still not present after a full twenty minutes, it means that pregnancy is not likely.
- Pine Sol
An effective homemade pregnancy test that most people already have is Pine Sol (original solution), which is a pine oil-based cleaning and disinfecting agent.
- Combine equal portions of Pine Sol and first morning urine in a plastic container and let the solution sit for several minutes.
- If there is a color change, it may indicate pregnancy.
- If there is no difference in color, pregnancy is not likely.
Household bleach is another commonly used pregnancy test that is very affordable and easy to do. Most people already use bleach to clean and disinfect items in their homes.
- Combine equal portions of first morning urine and bleach in a plastic container.
- Look for a foaming or fizzing reaction when the two fluids combine. If there is a reaction, pregnancy is likely.
- If there is no reaction, pregnancy is not likely.
Note: For the most reliable result, there is no specific amount of urine or bleach to use.
Warning: Protect the hands by wearing disposable gloves and perform this pregnancy test in a well ventilated room our outdoors if possible to prevent the inhalation of bleach fumes.
A simple home pregnancy test involves using regular toothpaste (white). However, this homemade pregnancy test has proven to be more effective as confirmation of a previous test, and not as a primary test.
- Combine equal amounts of toothpaste and first morning urine in a plastic container.
- Look for a reaction between the toothpaste and the urine.
- If the mixture foams up and starts turning blue it may indicate pregnancy.
- If there is no reaction or color change, pregnancy is not likely.
Note: Experiment with various ratios of urine and toothpaste if there is no initial reaction observed.
- Vinegar Solution
A very low cost method of taking a homemade pregnancy test is by using common household white vinegar.
- Combine vinegar and first morning urine in a plastic container.
- Let the mixture sit for several minutes before looking for any color change. If there is a noticeable difference in color, it may indicate a pregnancy.
- If there is no change in color, let the mixture sit for several more minutes before checking again.
- If there is still no color change, pregnancy is not likely.
- Soap Water
Using soap water is another homemade pregnancy test option if there is no bleach, vinegar, toothpaste or other testing items available. However, before using this option it is important to remember that this test has never been proven to be effective or to produce accurate results.
- Add soapy lather to first morning urine collected in a plastic container.
- After a few seconds observe the mixture and check for a reaction.
- A bubbling solution may indicate a pregnancy.
- If there is no reaction, then pregnancy is not likely.
- Sugar Test
An economical, easy and surprisingly accurate homemade pregnancy test (over 97% accurate) is using common white sugar in crystal form (powdered sugar will not work).
- Combine a small amount of first morning urine and two or three teaspoons of sugar in a plastic container.
- Observe the mixture and look for signs of the sugar clumping together. If there are visible clumps, it may indicate pregnancy.
- If there are no clumps and the sugar dissolves, pregnancy is not likely.