PREGNANCY TEST STRIPS
Pregnancy Test Strips
Many women prefer taking a home pregnancy test. They are convenient and very affordable with the majority costing between $6 and $20. Digital home testing kits are more expensive. All the pregnancy kits available work by detecting HCG levels in the body which is the pregnancy hormone. When HCG starts being produced, the pregnant woman will start experiencing symptoms such as breast soreness, nausea, cramps, and fatigue. But first, let’s see how HCG influences the test.
HCG which is short for human chorionic gonadotropin is commonly referred to as the “pregnancy hormone”. The cells responsible for producing HCG will later form into the placenta as the pregnancy continues. As soon as the fertilized egg starts implanting on the uterine walls, HCG starts entering the bloodstream. This can happen as early as one week after fertilization. After it starts being produced, HCG levels rapidly increase sometimes doubling every two days. You can even calculate the date you conceived from the HCG levels. A pregnancy test detects the HCG in your urine and returns a positive result.
Using the pregnancy kit
First things first, the testing kit should be in good condition. If it has expired or it has been in your bathroom closet for a long time where it can get moist or warm, then it is better to get a new pregnancy kit. They usually come packed in threes or twos so you can test more than once. Read the instructions carefully and don’t think all brands are used the same way. Some require you to place the stick midstream while others have a dropper used to collect urine from a cup. Still, others can be used both ways.
Different kits use a variety of ways to display test results. Some testing kits will have a pink line or blue line on the paper strip to show positive. Others have a small window where a red plus (+) or minus (-) is shown for positive and negative results respectively. As for digital pregnancy kits, they will tell you in writing whether you are “pregnant” or “not pregnant”. An indicator, plus or minus, is used alongside the result.
Best time to take the test
A lot of home pregnancy tests claim to be more than 99% accurate in telling results the day after your missed period. This is misleading as only half can accurately do this. The 99% claim comes from the FDA requiring them to prove that 99 times out of 100 the test will work when compared to another. Modern kits are sensitive and usually pass this test. For most accurate results, a week after the missed period will be just right. You can also wait two weeks after you have sex if you don’t want to wait for your period. When actually taking the pregnancy test, it is best to test in the morning when you wake up. Your urine has not been diluted by other fluids you consume and will have high HCG levels.
What to remember
You might have heard of the term “false positives” being thrown around. Although rare, this is when a positive result is followed by a negative result later. When you get a positive result and later have your period, this means you had a chemical pregnancy. It is caused by a miscarriage and the period blood is usually thicker. Also, a disease where a tumor secretes HCG or fertility drugs containing HCG can cause a false positive.
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