Home pregnancy tests
Sometimes referred to online as HPT, home pregnancy tests are available from pharmacies and give you a result in just five or so minutes.
How do they work?
About 11 to 14 days after a missed period – a urine test can detect the pregnancy hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin).
Are they accurate?
While home pregnancy tests are fairly accurate, they can sometimes give you a false result, so it’s a good idea to repeat the test a week later to double check or see your doctor for a more accurate blood test.
Tips for a more accurate result
• Read the directions on your test before you start and follow them carefully.
• Don’t drink too much fluid beforehand as it can dilute your hCG levels.
• Test your urine first thing in the morning when it’s most concentrated.
• If you test negative but you are still unsure, make an appointment to see your doctor. A blood test conducted by your doctor is more likely to be accurate than a home pregnancy test.
Early response pregnancy tests
Sometime called 'first response' or 'early response', these tests are similar to standard home pregnancy tests but are designed to be more sensitive to hormone levels in urine so in theory can give you an earlier indication. The timing of this test is around 5 or less days before your period is due. Remember that every woman is different and will have different hormone levels in her urine so the accuracy of this test is not as reliable as a regular home pregnancy test taken around 11 days after your missed period. As always a hCG blood test from your doctor will be the most accurate in confirming pregnancy.
What is a false negative?
This is when you get a negative result on a HPT when in fact you are actually pregnant. A common reason for a false negative is if you take the test too early, which will result in the hormone levels in your urine not being high enough for the test to detect. Check the instructions carefully on the pack to make sure you’re not testing too early. Other reasons may include not taking the test as instructed, or your HPT could have an expired date so check those things carefully as well. Best to check with your doctor if you get a negative pregnancy test but you're still experiencing some signs & symptoms of pregnancy.
Can I get a false positive on a pregnancy test?
This is when the test says you are pregnant but you are actually not. It's possible but uncommon. There are many reasons why this could happen, including having blood or protein or some types of medication in the urine. Remember to always check with your doctor if you're unsure.
Positive pregnancy test... What next?
It’s time to see your doctor to confirm your pregnancy with a hCG blood test, which can detect hCG levels as early as 11 to 14 days after ovulation. They can also test the exact amount of hCG in the blood which can give you an early indication of how far along you are in your pregnancy.
The doctor may also give you a urine pregnancy test, which is similar to the home pregnancy test kit you may have used. Depending on your needs, your doctor may also give you dietary advice and prescribe dietary supplements. They will also organise any other relevant tests to check everything is on track for your pregnancy journey.
Every expecting mother has her own set of unique characteristics and needs. Every pregnancy is different and there is no such thing as a standard protocol of care for every woman. It is likely that your antenatal care differs from that of your friend’s. Please be sure to use your clinic visits to ask for information regarding your health, your pregnancy and delivery.
3 tips for your positive pregnancy test appointment
Seeing your doctor is not just about confirming your pregnancy or having routine tests to make sure you and your baby are off to a good start. It’s also an opportunity to ask questions and get your head around what lies ahead. Make the most of your time with your doctor with these simple tips.
1. Be prepared
Once your tests and scans are complete make sure you bring them with you to any other specialist appointments. Don’t forget to ask lots of questions and write the answers down, often there is a lot to take in when you first find out you’re pregnant, writing things down will help you remember everything later.
2. Be proactive
Make a list of the things you’d like to talk about in order of priority. Don’t be afraid to bring up your concerns – discussing everything with your doctor is a good idea as even small things can have significant effects on your health.
3. Concentrate on the appointment
Turn off your mobile so you won’t be distracted.
Find out about the first month of pregnancy.