Your period is late, and now you’re wondering what to do next: Should you take a pregnancy test? When do you take one? Where do you get one? Are the results accurate? There are so many questions that may be filtering through your mind.
WHEN SHOULD I TAKE A PREGNANCY TEST?
When a period is late, most women start by taking a store-bought pregnancy test at home. You can find several options of varying prices at a local pharmacy or grocery store, and all you need to do is test your urine.
Most tests claim to be able to detect a pregnancy as early as the first day of a missed period, and some even claim to detect a pregnancy before a missed period. However, the accuracy of these tests decreases before a missed period.
Waiting until a missed period may be the last thing you want to do, so why wait? After implantation, when a fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall, the placenta forms and starts to produce a hormone called the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG).
This hormone is only present during pregnancy. HCG enters your urine and bloodstream, and each day the hCG levels in your body increase. If you take a test before the first day of your missed period, it might be more difficult to detect the hCG in your urine since the hormone levels have not had as much time to increase. This could lead to a false negative pregnancy test result.
COULD A POSITIVE RESULT ON A PREGNANCY TEST BE WRONG?
It is possible to get a positive result from a home pregnancy test even when you’re not pregnant. This result is known as a false positive.
A false positive might happen if you had an early miscarriage, the pregnancy is ectopic or you are taking a drug that contains hCG. Menopause, ovarian conditions, test defects or incorrect testing may also lead to a false-positive result.
COULD A NEGATIVE RESULT ON A PREGNANCY TEST BE WRONG?
As mentioned earlier, it is also possible to get a negative result from a home pregnancy test when you are pregnant. This result is known as a false negative.
A false negative might happen if you take the test too early before or after a missed period, use diluted urine, check the test result too soon, perform the test incorrectly or use a defective test.
HOW ACCURATE ARE HOME PREGNANCY TESTS?
Many home pregnancy tests claim to be 99 percent accurate at detecting pregnancy. However, accuracy differs from test to test, and there is always room for human error. Research conducted through Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has shown that up to 5 percent of pregnancy tests show a false negative result.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NEXT?
Whether your home pregnancy test shows a positive or negative result, you should always have your result confirmed.
Alpha Center provides lab-quality pregnancy tests for free. Our pregnancy test results are 97-99% accurate ten days after your most recent sexual encounter or as early as one day after your missed period. This is due to the fact that our lab-quality tests are more sensitive to detecting hCG than over-the-counter tests.
Schedule an appointment for a free, confidential, lab-quality pregnancy test and consultation. During the consultation, our trained staff will review your result and answer any questions you might have.
Schedule your free pregnancy test appointment at Alpha Center today.
“Flaw in Many Home Pregnancy Tests Can Return False Negative Results.” Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, 31 Dec. 2019, https://medicine.wustl.edu/news/flaw-in-many-home-pregnancy-tests-can-return-false-negative-results/.
“Home Pregnancy Tests: Can You Trust the Results?” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 24 Feb. 2021, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/in-depth/home-pregnancy-tests/art-20047940.