When a woman is trying to get pregnant, or when she is concerned about the possibility of an unplanned pregnancy, the pregnancy test becomes a must-have. After all, it is a cheap and painless way to settle a question that, for many women, needs to be answered as quickly as possible for their peace of mind!
Using a pregnancy test kit correctly can be a challenging task, however, as it can be a little bit more than simply “wee on the strip and compare the results”. Here are some pointers to help you get started on your pregnancy test.
When should you test?
You can take a pregnancy test as soon as you realize that your period is late. Some pregnancy tests claim to work a few days before your period is due. Always read the label on the pregnancy kit pack to be absolutely sure as to when the test is effective.
The best time of the day to take a pregnancy test is early in the morning, when your urine is the most concentrated and the amount of hCG (the hormone detected by pregnancy tests to yield a positive result) is high.
Taking a pregnancy test too early may not yield accurate results as the hCG may not be not high enough yet.
Buying and using the pregnancy test kit
Check the expiry date. Kits that have passed their expiry date may not work properly anymore. It is better to purchase pregnancy kits as and when you need them, rather than stocking up on them for future use.
Keep them in the proper place. Pregnancy test kits are usually best kept in a cool place or in the refrigerator. Check the instructions on the pack for more information.
Read and understand the instructions. Different types and brands of pregnancy test kits may have different instructions for use, so take time to read and understand them first.
If you need to time yourself, use a clock. You may feel tempted to speed things up in your haste to know the results, but this would only yield inaccurate results.
Are the results accurate?
Pregnancy tests are usually accurate, provided that you have followed the instructions on the pack properly and the pregnancy test kit has not passed its expiry date.
If you have doubts that the result is correct, or if you are unsure as to how to read the results (such as when the colour changes do not seem to correspond to either a positive or negative result), you can retake the test a few days later or visit a doctor for further tests.
Planned Parenthood. Available at www.plannedparenthood.org