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Taking a pregnancy test can be one of the most nerve-racking but potentially exciting, life-changing moments there is. From the second you think maybe, just maybe you could be pregnant, you’ll want to run out to the drug store and buy an early detection pregnancy test. But it’s wise to wait, according to doctors, or else the result could be inaccurate. Dr. Christine Greves, an OBGYN at Orlando Health, offers these guidelines for the best time to take a pregnancy test: “If your cycle is regular, you can perform the test the first day that you notice you missed your period.” If it’s negative, try retesting between three days and a week after your missed period. “If your cycle is NOT regular, then wait to perform the test until at least 14 days after you had intercourse,” Greves advises.
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How Pregnancy Test Kits Work
All pregnancy test kits work the same way. As Mercy OBGYN Dr. Yves-Richard Dole explains, “The tests works by detecting the pregnancy hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) in urine. The newly formed embryo actually produces this hormone initially, and so a positive test acts as a marker for its presence.”
Some pregnancy tests are easier to read than others.
- A digital pregnancy test, which you can either pee on directly or dip in a clean container of urine, will clearly tell you your result on a digital readout screen.
- A stick test, used in the same way as a digital test, typically displays one line in a small window if you aren’t pregnant, and two if you are.
- A strip pregnancy test is dipped in your urine, and changes color or displays lines with your results.
Dole says over-the-counter pregnancy tests can be extremely accurate. Still, it’s worth noting that although manufacturers state that their pregnancy tests are 99 percent accurate, there are some variables that can impact your result, according to Greves. “If you are drinking a lot of liquids before testing, that could dilute your urine and make the hCG concentration more dilute, resulting in it seeming too low to measure.” She adds, “Also, make sure you test the urine less than 30 minutes after urinating to prevent a false negative result.” Testing too early can also result in a false negative.
When Is the Best Time to Take a Pregnancy Test?
Dole recommends testing first thing in the morning when urine has the highest concentration of the pregnancy hormone. He adds, “Some fertility drugs can produce false positive results, so consult with your doctor.” And if you get a negative result, but still continue to experience pregnancy symptoms, see your doctor, because in rare cases, this can indicate an ectopic pregnancy, which can be life threatening.
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