For many women who want to know if they are pregnant, an at-home pregnancy test is the most inexpensive and convenient way to know if they are expecting. However, you might be surprised to learn that although home pregnancy tests are easy to use and have straightforward directions, you can still improperly use or read a pregnancy test, which can give you a false negative or false positive. Here are a few simple dos and don'ts to keep in mind when taking an at-home pregnancy test.
Don't Take the Test Too Early
One of the biggest mistakes many women who suspect they are pregnant make with home pregnancy tests is taking the test too early. The Mayo Clinic recommends taking the test at the earliest, one day after a woman's missed period. Many home pregnancy tests advertise the ability to take the test before a missed period.
However, taking the test too early can result in a false negative. Home pregnancy tests work by detecting hCG, a hormone that is more prominent when a woman becomes pregnant. If there is not enough hCG built up in the urine, it will not be detectable on a home pregnancy test.
Do Take the Pregnancy Test First Thing in the Morning
Most home pregnant tests recommend taking the pregnant test first thing in the morning. This is because the first morning's urine will have the highest concentration of hCG. Never drink water or coffee before the test, as this can dilute your urine and make it more difficult for the test to pick up the presence of hCG.
Don't Read the Test Too Early or Too Late
After you take the test, the manufacturer will instruct you how long you need to wait to read the results. Do not read the results too early, as you may accidentally throw away a test that is positive and assume that you are negative. Conversely, waiting too long to read the test can give you a false positive. Always read the test according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Do Follow Up with Your Doctor
Finally, if your pregnant test is positive, it is important to follow up with your doctor right away. Your doctor can confirm your pregnancy and help create a pregnancy care plan. If your test is negative and you still suspect you are pregnant, visit your doctor. Although home pregnancy tests are typically accurate, you can still get a false negative.
Home pregnancy tests are a simple and effective way to detect if you are pregnant. If you have any questions about home pregnancy tests and woman health services, don't hesitate to contact your doctor.