How to Use a Home Kit to Determine Pregnancy
Waiting to find out if you are pregnant when you are trying to conceive can be exciting and nerve wracking. Many women and their partners anxiously watch for signs and symptoms of pregnancy to determine if they are on the road to parenthood. Taking a pregnancy test is one of the most reliable ways to find out if you are pregnant. Understanding when to take a pregnancy test is the first step in this miraculous journey.
Understanding Your Cycles
The key to knowing when to take your pregnancy test is to know your cycle. If you are unsure of your cycle, it can make it hard to figure out when to take a home pregnancy test. Your fertility cycle starts on the day you have your menstrual period. After your menstrual period is complete, your body will release an egg during ovulation approximately 14 days later. The time of ovulation can vary from woman to woman, but it usually happens at the midway point, two weeks before your next period and two weeks after your last one.
In order to determine the best time to take an at-home pregnancy test, it is critical that you know exactly when you ovulated. There are several ways to track this. First, you can keep track of the days your period starts each month and determine how many days there are in your cycle. Most women have 27-32 days in a typical cycle. Using this as a guide, you can use an ovulation predictor kit (OPK) to determine your most fertile days each month.
Ovulation and Pregnancy Kits
Once you have ovulated and conceived, your body will start the process to nourish the new, growing fetus. The hormone HCG, which is only found in pregnant women, will start to build up in your body. It will appear in your system slowly at first, and quickly doubling in volume each day for the first few weeks of your pregnancy. HCG is the hormone used to detect pregnancy in home kits, so it is essential that you have enough of the hormone in your body in order to get an accurate result. It normally takes 10-14 days past ovulation (DPO) in order for the hormone to trigger a "positive" on your pregnancy kit. Taking a pregnancy test before this time will usually result in a false negative. False positives are nearly impossible since the hormone is only found in women who are pregnant.
How Accurate are Home Pregnancy Tests?
Many home pregnancy tests claim to be able to detect pregnancy at the time of your missed period. This time frame corresponds with the fourteenth DPO, so most tests will give you an accurate result if you take them at this time. Others claim to be even more sensitive, accurately detecting pregnancy as early as a week before your period is due. Pregnancy tests are thought to be accurate 99 percent of the time when used correctly.
What to Do if a Test is Negative
If you take a pregnancy test and the results are negative, it can be as a result of several factors.
-Taking the Test Too Early
Even if you are pregnant, you will get a negative result if you test too early. Generally speaking, most women will get a negative result if they test fewer than 10 DPO.
-Checking Results too Quickly
Most home pregnancy tests take 3-5 minutes to deliver a result. If you check it before then, it will likely not give an accurate result.
-Diluting Your Urine
Experts recommend taking a pregnancy test as soon as you wake up in the morning, when your urine is most concentrated. Drinking too much water can make it harder for the pregnancy test to pick up the hormone, especially if you are testing early.
If your test is negative and you suspect that you are, in fact, pregnant, take the test again in a few days to see if results differ. Waiting until the day your period is due, or when it is late is the best way to get an accurate result.
What to Do if the Test is Positive
If the test is positive, you are likely pregnant. The best course of action is to follow up with your doctor to confirm your findings. Your doctor will perform a series of tests to confirm your pregnancy, and he will start discussing what you need to do to ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery.
Buying a Pregnancy Test
You can buy a home pregnancy kit in any pharmacy or discount retailer. You do not need a prescription to buy a test. Home pregnancy tests range in price, from as little as $1 to as much as $25. The price of the test has no significant bearing on the results. All home pregnancy tests use the same measuring tools to determine pregnancy. The more expensive tests, however, may be more sensitive and may be able to determine pregnancy earlier in your cycle. If you test on or around the day of your missed period, almost any test should give you an accurate result.
Waiting to find out if you are pregnant is exciting. Get a home pregnancy kit today.