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How to Take a Pregnancy Test: Everything You Need to Know But Are Too Embarrassed to Ask

Asking yourself, “Am I pregnant?”

If you’re trying to conceive a wonderful baby, congratulations! Before you head off to the pharmacy and stock up on pregnancy test, you should first ask yourself “How to take a pregnancy test?” If you’re new to the whole pregnancy thing, then you probably have doubts. When should I take it? Does it matter if I take it in the morning or at night? And most importantly – how am I supposed to take a pregnancy test?

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We’ve prepared a quick guide that will tell you everything you need to know about taking pregnancy tests, from the best times to take one to the whole process of taking it.

Asking yourself, “Am I pregnant?”

If you’re trying to conceive a wonderful baby, congratulations! Before you head off to the pharmacy and stock up on pregnancy test, you should first ask yourself “How to take a pregnancy test?” If you’re new to the whole pregnancy thing, then you probably have doubts. When should I take it? Does it matter if I take it in the morning or at night? And most importantly – how am I supposed to take a pregnancy test?

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We’ve prepared a quick guide that will tell you everything you need to know about taking pregnancy tests, from the best times to take one to the whole process of taking it.

First, How Do Pregnancy Tests Work?

Pregnancy tests are specifically designed to tell if either your blood or urine contains a hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin (or hCG), which your body produces while you’re pregnant, after the fertilized egg finished embedding itself to the endometrium.
There are two types of pregnancy tests:

  1. Qualitative tests: These tests simply check to see if hCG is present in your urine, regardless of the amount. If you want to know if you’re pregnant or not, a qualitative hCG test will give you the answer – “yes” or “no.” They can be used to detect pregnancy as early as 10 days after your missed period; some can tell if you’re pregnant sooner than 10 days.
  2. Quantitative tests: Quantitative tests won’t simply tell you if you’re pregnant or not. Instead, they measure the amount of hCG in your urine. Usually, these tests can detect even very low levels of hCG, sometimes as low as 10mIU/ml. You can use a quantitative hCG test for more than just test for pregnancy. Since they measure the amount of the pregnancy hormone in your urine, they’re good at detecting potential issues during the course of pregnancy (e.g. before a miscarriage, hCG levels drop significantly).

How to Take a Pregnancy Test?

Although different pregnancy tests may have different instructions, the process is usually the same. Some tests instruct you to hold the stick in your urine stream and then place it on a flat surface for a certain amount of time to ensure maximum accuracy. Things may sound quite messy, but don’t feel bad! Other tests come with a tiny dropper, and require you to pee in a cup or other recipient, and use the recipient to drop a certain number of pee drops in a specific area of the stick.

Important Note: Make sure the test has not expired, as that may interfere with the accuracy of the results.

When to Take a Pregnancy Test?

The amount of information on the Internet is overwhelming, especially since different sources provide different answers to the question, “When to take a pregnancy test.” Most specialists recommend taking a test around 10 days after your missed period. That’s because your body needs time to produce enough hCG in your urine. The body starts producing this hormone after the embedment of the fertilized egg to the endometrium, which occurs about six days after fertilization. Once the implantation process is concluded, the amount of hCG doubles every two to three days (48 to 60 hours). In 4-5 days after implantation, the levels of hCG in the blood reach 250mIU/ml, and it’s necessary one or two extra days to reach the same value in the urine.

If you take the pregnancy test too early, you risk getting a false negative result since the levels of hCG in the body are not sufficient yet.

Can You Take a Pregnancy Test at Night?

Thinking about taking a pregnancy test at night? Think again. It’s recommended to take the pregnancy test with your first-morning pee, because the urine is the least diluted at that time of the day, and hence the test can identify hCG more accurately. If the urine is diluted, the amount of hCG/ml decreases, and thus the test may not be able to detect it. Instead of taking the test in the evening or at night, wait until the following morning.

How Late Can You Take a Pregnancy Test?

Taking the pregnancy test later than the recommended 10 days after your missed period won’t interfere with the accuracy of the results. Since your body keeps producing hCG throughout the course of pregnancy, the results will be positive until you give birth.

Make sure to follow the instructions on the test package to ensure that the results will be correct.

Can You Take a Pregnancy Test While on Birth Control?

Yes.
Birth control pills don’t interfere with pregnancy testing. Contraceptive pills, implants or injections contain the hormones progesterone and estrogen, and they work by changing a woman’s hormone balance. However, since these hormones are not used by a pregnancy test to determine whether or not you are pregnant, you can safely take the test while on the pill.

How Often Should I Take a Pregnancy Test?

It’s advisable to take at least two or three pregnancy tests before deciding whether or not you really are pregnant. That’s because, due to the error margin of 1%, the results of just one test may be false, and hence repeating it will be necessary. Wait at least 2 days before retaking the pregnancy test, depending on how early you’ve initially taken it.

If you have taken it as early as the first day after your missed period, you may need to wait another 9-10 days before retaking it, otherwise the results may still be false.

Should You Take Blood Pregnancy Tests?

Blood tests are the most accurate when it comes to detecting hCG, and they can be taken as early as 3-4 days after implantation. If you’ve already taken a urine test, and it turned out to be positive, consider taking a blood test as well to confirm the pregnancy. If you’ve taken several tests, but only one or two turned out to be positive, a blood test may help you determine whether or not you are pregnant.

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