How Accurate are Pregnancy Tests?

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If planned or unexpected, becoming a mother brings a tremendous change in your life. When the first pregnancy symptoms arrive it’s normal to be excited and want a fast and accurate answer. The most accurate answer you can get is from a visit to the doctor. But pregnancy tests are also a good and effective solution. If used correctly, they are usually between 97% and 99% accurate.

How does a pregnancy test work?

A pregnancy test will react to HCG- human chorionic gonadotropin hormone, also known as the pregnancy hormone. After fertilization, the placenta in the uterus will produce hormones, such as: HCG- human chorionic gonadotropin hormone, progesterone, estrogen and human placenta lactogen.

When taking a pregnancy test, HCG must reach a specific level in order for the test to detect it and provide a positive result. Usually tests can detect a HCG level between 5miU/ml and 25miU/ml. You should buy a pregnancy test around 12-14 days after conception because your HCG levels won’t be high enough for the test to detect before that date. The pregnancy test is even more accurate if used after a longer period of time after conception because your HCG levels become higher every 2-3 days during pregnancy.

What can influence the pregnancy test result?

The things that can influence the accuracy of your test are connected to the following sources:

Medical conditions and medicine. There is some medicine that can alter your test result, like some diuretics, some tranquilizers, methadone, anticonvulsants and others. There are also medical conditions that can rise your HCG levels, such as an ectopic pregnancy, gestational trophoblastic disease, ovarian cysts, different types of tumors, menopause and so on. Make sure you do a little research to exclude things that interfere with your result.

The way you use the pregnancy test. In order to get the most accurate answer, you must first read the instructions and use the pregnancy test correctly. Make sure the test is not expired, check the results in the specified time frame so you can also avoid a false positive result that might be cause by the urine evaporation lines. Also try to make sure the test is clean in order to avoid having a contaminated urine sample. If your test includes a cup make sure that it’s clean. Using the test correctly also includes not using it too early in the pregnancy, so keep timing in mind.

Contaminated urine due to different causes. Your urine sample might be contaminated with blood, soap, different detergents or due to a recent pregnancy, since your HCG levels might not have had enough time to drop and the rest might provide a positive false result. Keep in mind that a positive test result might be obtained even if the pregnancy stopped evolving, if the HCG levels didn’t have enough time to drop.

How to be sure?

Learn all the things that can interfere with your pregnancy test result. It’s also advised to retake the test, before you can trust the final result. Buy more than one test, just to be sure. You could also wait for a day or two before you retake the test. This gives your HCG levels time to rise and be easier to detect.

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