8 things women should know about pregnancy tests

Some 100 years ago, women had to pretty much guess whether they’re pregnant or not. The first sign was, obviously, the missed periods, which could also be due to many other reasons. This shot in the dark changed as technology evolved. Having changed from critical tests and ultrasounds to a mini test kit, the latter is all that you need now to know whether you are pregnant or not.

But how accurate are these pregnancy test kits? How safe is it to rely on them? To solve these confusions, here are certain important things you should know about pregnancy tests. (Image: Wikimedia)

​Paying more doesn’t mean better results

​Paying more doesn’t mean better results

Though some expensive brands claim to be more accurate than cheaper ones, that’s not true. The only difference between the cheaper and the costlier ones is in the way the output is displayed. The cheaper ones show lines and expensive ones explicitly says if you are pregnant or not. So, spending more on a pregnancy test kit makes hardly any difference.

In fact, what matters is to check whether a test is faulty, damaged, expired, or used incorrectly. As a matter of fact, issues like these can occur with any brand or style. So, while buying a test kit, check the expiration date on the package and read the instructions thoroughly.

​The time you take the test is crucial

​The time you take the test is crucial

For the most decisive result possible, it is recommend to take the test during the first pee in the morning. There is a reason behind this. Pregnancy tests work by measuring level of hCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin) which is most concentrated when you go to loo first time in the morning. You can, of course, take the test at any other time and maybe you will get the same result. However, for the most accurate result, you should take it during first pee in the morning.

​The result can be false

The result can be false

Pregnancy tests are 97 per cent to 99 per cent accurate leaving the remaining three to one per cent as a potential margin for error – false positive or false negative. These cases can be when you’re on certain kinds of medication, such as tranquillisers, fertility drugs, or anti-convulsants. This can also happen if you’ve had a ‘chemical pregnancy’, which means the sperm technically did fertilise the egg, but the pregnancy, sadly, did not continue. This happens in 50 to 60 per cent of first time pregnancies.

​They definitely cannot tell the gender of your baby

​They definitely cannot tell the gender of your baby

This is one widespread pregnancy test myth that needs to be busted. The amount of hGC in your pee can rise equally either you’re expecting a boy or a girl. Any test that promises to tell you ‘pink or blue’ is, honestly, lying. So, it’s best to stop Googling most popular baby names until your post 20-week scan and test.

​They can expire

​They can expire
 

Just like other medicines, pregnancy test kits also have an expiry date after which they don’t work. The chemical used in them to detect hCG is no longer effective, which means that your result will go wrong. So, if you are planning to conceive and have stocked up on test kits, please do check the date before using them. (Image: Wikimedia)

​Drinking lots of water can dilute the test

​Drinking lots of water can dilute the test

You should not drink much water before taking the pregnancy test as it may dilute your urine and may not give accurate results.

​Other substances can affect the results

​Other substances can affect the results

Women who take fertility drugs that contain hCG may not get accurate results with the pregnancy test kit. However, normal medication, birth control pills and alcohol does not affect the test.

​Faint lines don’t mean something is wrong

​Faint lines don’t mean something is wrong

The test results which have two lines, indicating pregnancy, are a little confusing when one of the lines is faint. Some women may think they are not pregnant but that’s not true. A faint line also indicates a pregnancy. The faintness or darkness of a line can depend on the brand and how sensitive the test strips are. So, it is better to go and meet your gynaecologists after such a result. (Image: Wikimedia)

​What is hCG?

What is hCG?

hCG is a hormone that is produced by your body when you are pregnant. Its detectable in the blood and urine shortly after you conceive. hCG is made by cells formed in the placenta, which nourishes the egg after it has been fertilized and becomes attached to the uterine wall.

 

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