When to Take a Pregnancy Test, Options and How it Works? - Tips On Parenting


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February 1, 2020

When to Take a Pregnancy Test, Options and How it Works?

For those who have waited a long way for good news, pregnancy tests can play a critical role both emotionally and psychologically affecting the mom to be. A lot must be going through your mind and a ton of questions and the answers you are seeking.

When to Take a Pregnancy Test, Options and How it Works?
You have to be prepared, do things the right way, don't take a chance and we are here to help you through that.

When to take the pregnancy test?

First, you have to understand how female reproduction cycle works to know when is the best time to have pregnancy test.
  • Usually, 2 weeks after the start of a woman’s latest period is when woman starts ovulating. It’s pretty much a week after the period ends.
  • Between ovulation and death of egg (not fertilized) there are around 3 to 5 effective fertilization days where there is a very high probability of the woman getting pregnant, if she had sex in those 3 to 5 days.
  •  After these fertile days, if the woman had sex, the fertilized egg needs time to mix and do a cell-division in order to become an actual zygote. Then it attaches itself into the womb wall. This is generally done within a week from the conception. That means whenever egg meets sperm the woman can then start to count to 7 days until she can feel implantation pain (and even tiny bleeding), although sometimes there is no sensation at all. This is when the body starts to excrete evident amount of HCG hormones that can trigger and result a positive in a pregnancy test.

All of these things happen in no more than 4 weeks, but no less than 3 weeks. The best and accurate time you can expect to be able to do the pregnancy test it is at least a week before the next due period, regardless of when the sexual contact has happened. Otherwise the pregnancy test result won’t be accurate.

How does pregnancy test work?

When to Take a Pregnancy Test, Options and How it Works?

Pregnancy tests measure the amount of pregnancy hormone, hCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin), in the urine. You can either choose for a urine test using a home pregnancy test kit or a blood test which is more sensitive. The more sensitive tests may is capable to detect even low levels of hCG as early as four days before your period is due, which is generally about 7 days after you’ve conceived. Doctors will never suggest you a blood test till the period due date is over.

Benefits of Home Pregnancy Test Kit

Instant results, no more pain of rushing to the doctor, privacy and comfort at home.

Disadvantages of Home Pregnancy Tests

The pregnancy test can be done in the wrong way and the result can be misread. Urine can lack sample of hCG due to some current medications or maybe the test has been taken too early. The result can be puzzling if there are faint lines in the pregnancy tests kit.

Where can I get the pregnancy tests kit?

Pregnancy test kits are easily available at any nearby pharmacy or you can order them online from websites like Amazon or eBay. You do not any Id card and there is no age limit set while buying the Test Kit.

My Home Pregnancy Test kit shows a faint line, Am I Pregnant?

The faint line shows that the level of the the test has been taken too early or hCG is too low at the moment. The hormone is in your blood once the fertilized egg is attached to the uterus. Maybe the home pregnancy test kit is not very sensitive to detect the hormone correctly, so it is wise to try another home pregnancy test kit or take the test few days later.

Sometimes the steps are not followed precisely like not taking the test during early morning i.e. the first urine sample.

If you read the pregnancy test result too soon or too late. If too soon, let it set for 2 to 3 minutes. If you left the kit and checked after long time the lines may evaporate leaving a faint line.

What is the best pregnancy test available? Types of Pregnancy Tests

There are two types of pregnancy tests available right now; one uses urine sample, and the other one uses sample of blood. Both tests detect the presence of a hormone called hCG. This hormone is produced by placenta soon after the embryo attaches to the uterine lining and builds up quickly in your body in the very first few days of pregnancy.

Beta hCG blood test is very sensitive and can find whether you are pregnant even before you can see anything on an ultrasound.

In a normal pregnancy case, it doubles every 24 hours after conception and implantation which is around 2–3 weeks after a menstrual cycle.

If it is positive and low even after every 24 hours, it indicates ectopic. If it is triple or quadruple within every 24 hours, it can advise molar pregnancy or many babies. If it decreases within 24 hours from high to low, it can indicate a miscarriage.

Ultrasound is another option that can be used to confirm around 6 weeks after start of the previous menstrual cycle.

What can cause an invalid/failed pregnancy test?

Never ever confuse invalid with negative.
There is a big difference between invalid and negative.
There is a high chance that a pregnancy test could go wrong in the absence of proper knowledge about different pregnancy testing methods.

An Invalid or a failed pregnancy test results are seen when the test is unable to show either line or if the T ("test") line shows up without the C ("control") line appearing. The C line is there to test the pregnancy test itself, whereas the T line is there for testing your urine, and if the guaranteed positive line is not there, then the test is not capable of turning the T line positive in any possible meaningful way.

Some tests, even while having separate lines, combine the two lines perpendicular to each other so that a negative result will show a “- “, and a positive result will show “+”. Again, if you don’t see a control line but you see a test line, like this “׀”, or if you see nothing at all, then the test has not confirmed that it can turn the guaranteed positive line to positive, so your line won’t count.

False positives and false negatives can occur. A common cause of false positives is letting the test sit for too long. The instructions usually state that you read the test in the very first 5 minutes after adding urine, and if you can see the C line but not the T line during this time, it is a negative. You cannot keep waiting for too long because exposure to the air will oxidize the chemicals from test, turning it positive when it is not positive at all.

Another cause of false positives is if you have received an injection of HCG, the pregnancy hormone, in order to induce you to ovulate as part of an infertility routine but this is unlikely, as you will be receiving treatment from infertility doctor, a specialist who will most likely have explained this to you already.

False-positive pregnancy tests can also occur due to some psychiatric medications, like Librium and Thorazine. According to Mayo Clinic, some diuretics can result a false positive. Phenergan, a type of antihistamine, and methadone can also do this.

A false-negative pregnancy test can happen if you took it too early in the pregnancy, or did not follow the instructions, like not using a first-morning specimen. The pregnancy hormone being tested for, HCG, is highly concentrated at this time, so if you take the test after a ton of coffee and your urine looks like water, there will not be enough HCG to turn the pregnancy test positive. You only get one first morning specimen everyday day, so if the test comes out to negative, wait until tomorrow.

So, in a nutshell, the factors that can cause invalid pregnancy test are: 
  • Anti-psychotic medication
  • Defective test
  • Letting test sit for greater than 5 minutes
  • Methadone
  • Phenergan (an antihistamine)
  • Some diuretics
  • Defective test
  • Not first-morning urine specimen
  • Test too early in pregnancy