How to Take a Pregnancy Test & What’s the Most Accurate Way to Read It?

how to take and read it

We know that figuring out how to read a pregnancy test can be an overwhelming experience. Once you understand how to use a pregnancy test and how do they work, it’s much easier to read them quickly and accurately.

These kits work by detecting specific fertility hormones in your urine. The hormone that pregnancy kits screen for is called human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG for short. Some early detection kits recognize a variant of hCG and may provide results sooner.

The next question is - When does your body begin producing the pregnancy hormone?

First, the egg must be fertilized which can take up to several days. The embryo then grows for a few days before it is implanted in the uterine wall where the body begins producing hCG. After hCG enters the bloodstream, the hormone will eventually be filtered out through the kidneys which is when it will become detectable through your urine.

The hormone hCG takes about 2 to 3 days to double in the early stages of pregnancy, which means that every day you wait to check will increase the likelihood of accuracy. Many women will not see a positive result from their pregnancy too early on and the recommended time to use the kit is the day after your missed period. Also be sure that the kit you are using hasn’t expired since that can also affect the results.

Here are quick and easy step-by-step instructions, so you know how to take a testing kit properly.

How to Take a Pregnancy Test?

Are you ready to find out if you’re pregnant? We’ve compiled step-by-step instructions to help you use an at-home pregnancy kit accurately.

a woman expecting a baby

Step 1: Find the right brand

You can purchase home pregnancy kits at your local pharmacy, at a supermarket, or online. When you have chosen the kit you will use, check the box for an expiration date. Using an expired product can affect the efficacy of your results. Also inspect the box for any tears or punctures (especially the packaging of the kit itself). You don’t want to use a product that may be compromised.

All testing kits function basically the same way. So buying an inexpensive kit can be just as reliable as the more expensive options although the tests for early detection screen for variants of the main pregnancy hormone which does set them apart.

Step 2: Read instructions carefully

Whichever product you choose will come with its own set of specific instructions. Make sure to read all of the instructions before you begin, so you know how to perform the pregnancy kit.

When is the best time to take a pregnancy test?

In the morning when you wake up is the ideal time to check if you’re pregnant. During the night, you haven’t been drinking water which dilutes your urine. The hCG levels would be the most concentrated during this time and most likely to give you a positive result if there is one. If you have to take a testing kit mid-day, consider drinking liquids and not urinating for a while to ensure your urine is not diluted.

Some brands will come with a small plastic cup which you will urinate into or use a syringe to drop urine onto the stick. Others will require you to pee onto the strip itself. Reading times and specific directions will be included in the instructions so make sure to read all of them before you begin.

Step 3: Use the pregnancy test

You want to begin by washing your hands and may consider getting a timer as well. Now use the pregnancy kit according to the specific instructions that it came with.

For brands that require you to urinate onto the strip, use midstream urine meaning you should go a little first before placing the stick into the stream of your urine. Some products may ask you to hold the stick in the stream for up to 5 seconds. Refer to the directions for specific instruction.

For kits that provide a plastic cup, collect midstream urine. You will want to check it right away and not let the urine sit for too long. Either use a syringe to drop the urine onto the strip or dip the test into the plastic cup for the required amount of time. Reference the directions for the specific amount of time. For example, most tests will have you dip the strips into the cup for 5 to 10 seconds. When you take it out, keep holding the testing strip-side down.

positive results

Step 4: Read the results

Once you have completed taking the pregnancy test, set a timer according to the instructions for the amount of time required for optimal accuracy of results. Try not to sit and stare at the stick because this can make time slow to a crawl, increase your anxiety, and not change the outcome of the results.

Some brands have a timer window right on it to show you that it’s working. If nothing is changing on the timer window, you may not have taken the test correctly, and a retest will be required.

When the allotted time has passed, look at the results.

How to Read a Pregnancy Test Accurately

When reading the results of your pregnancy test, make sure you have waited long enough for it to complete. If the results are negative, this will look pretty straightforward with results showing up only in the negative indicator. If you still do not get your period, you should wait one week and then retest.

But what happens if there is a faint line in the PT positive results?

Any faint line in the positive indicator means that the kit has detected hCG. This can occur if you are taking any fertility treatments, during any biochemical pregnancies, or during early miscarriages. If the embryo has implanted but is no longer viable, trace amounts of hCG can still be in your body, causing a positive pregnancy result.

negative results

Bottom Line: The #1 Rule That You Should Follow

The bottom line to taking a pregnancy test is to always follow the instructions. Wait until you’re due (or about due) to have your period and make sure to follow the kit instructions accurately. If the result is positive, you should set an appointment to see your doctor. They can give you a blood test which will give you a more definitive answer and confirm whether or not you are pregnant.

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