Am I Pregnant? Home Pregnancy Tests Aren’t Always Definitive
Waiting to find out if you are pregnant can be both an exciting and anxiety-inducing time. Though many at-home tests boast results within minutes, it can feel as though it is taking ages, and even then, you may question the results or be unable to read them accurately. Determining if you are pregnant can be confusing as many of the symptoms are the same that occur during menstruation. If your period is late, however, that could be the first indication of pregnancy.
Before contacting your doctor, you may want to do a home pregnancy test, or HPT. These can be done as early as the first day of your missed period, or even before, depending on the brand. The test works by detecting the hCG hormone in urine, which is only found in the body during pregnancy. The test should be taken first thing in the morning when your urine is the least diluted from daily fluid intake. If you test too early in the pregnancy, or if it was performed incorrectly, you could receive incorrect results. Some tests can also be difficult to read, as positive lines can remain too faint to give a definitive answer, leaving you with even more questions. If you still are not sure after the first HPT, it is always best to perform a repeat test if you still have not started your period after about a week.
If you have received a positive result, are unable to accurately read your result, or are experiencing any symptoms while still receiving a negative result, it is best to visit a doctor. A clinical urine test can be performed in the office to help eliminate any errors that may have occurred at home, but these tests aren’t any more accurate than the standard HPT. To truly help determine pregnancy, blood tests will be much more accurate. The hormone hCG will be much easier to detect in trace amounts in a blood test and can even tell how far along the pregnancy is based on the level observed.
It is important to note that it is always possible to receive false positive and false negative results, so getting a doctor to look further via ultrasound may be recommended. Certain conditions, such as chemical pregnancy, menopause, ectopic pregnancy and ovarian cysts can cause false positives, while certain medications, diluted urine, or testing too early can provide false negatives. Some of these can be dangerous health concerns, so receiving accurate results becomes even more important and may require prompt attention.
Detecting a pregnancy accurately is important to ensure the health of both the mother and the baby. If you have taken a pregnancy test and received a positive result, or you believe you may have received a false negative, visit us today.