With the advent of home pregnancy kits, one no longer needs to wait to get to a doctor’s office, dealing with all the anticipation and stress of knowing whether you are pregnant or not. They allow one to test for pregnancy in the privacy and comfort of your home, irrespective of whether you are looking forward to being pregnant or not.
Whichever side of the pregnancy fence you are on, one cannot deny the anxiety involved in doing the test and interpreting the results. To help minimize the stress involved, we will talk through the kinds of pregnancy tests available, the best time to take them, and the next steps. Read on!
There are different kinds of pregnancy tests available, though the most popular ones are urine pregnancy kits that will tell you if you are pregnant in the privacy and comfort of your home.
Apart from urine pregnancy kits, one can also have blood tests and ultrasound examinations done at the doctor’s office. These are, however, recommended to be done after a doctor’s consultation only.
Urine pregnancy kits measure the amount of hCG in your urine. hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is a hormone produced during pregnancy. Since this is a pregnancy-specific hormone, the pregnancy kit measures this hormone to test for pregnancy.
The amount of hCG rises very slowly initially and then rapidly. Therefore, getting the timing right is crucial. Otherwise, you risk getting a false negative result meaning the test might be negative for pregnancy when you could be pregnant.
As we mentioned above, the timing of testing is very important. Because the tests work by measuring the amount of hCG present in your urine, it has to be taken at a time when the hCG levels will be high enough to be detected.
Therefore, the best time to test for pregnancy is anytime from the day of a missed period to a week after your missed period.
Test manufacturers claim that tests are accurate enough when taken on the day of your missed period; so unless you have been meticulously tracking your cycles, it can be difficult to predict exactly when that day is. In addition, since so many factors impact a woman’s menstrual cycle, from stress to changes in schedule to illnesses, it is recommended to wait for anywhere between a day to a week after your period is missed to get the most accurate results. This is not to say that you should not test if you are anxious. However, if you take a test too soon and get a negative result, it would be best to repeat a test after a week to reconfirm that the results are still negative.
The chances of a false positive meaning a positive result when you are not pregnant are very slim. It is best to schedule an appointment with your gynecologist for a confirmation.
If you have not been tracking your menstrual cycles or they tend to be a little irregular, do the test after the longest number of days that you have gone between cycles. However, if your cycles are very irregular and you suspect pregnancy, please make an appointment with your gynaecologist at the earliest.
Now that we know when to test for pregnancy, you might be wondering about the best time to do it. Since the tests measure the amount of hCG in your urine, it is always recommended to test for pregnancy with the first urine passed when you wake up. This is what will get you the most accurate results.
You waited, followed the instructions on your test, and interpreted your results. Now what?
Whether you tested negative and still haven’t gotten your period or tested positive and need to know what to do next, it would be best to reach out to a specialist rather than peers alone.
You would need to set up an appointment with your gynecologist(Dr. Neelam Vinay) to figure out the next steps for you. If you haven’t got your period and tested negative for pregnancy, you would need to investigate further.
If you tested positive but do not want a pregnancy, do not worry. You need to see your doctor as soon as possible to determine the next steps.
In case this was a much-awaited positive test, congratulations! You would still need to talk to your gynecologist, who would want to take you through the next steps to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy.