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The Best Pregnancy Tests to Buy

If you want to know if you are pregnant or not, you have a lot of choices. You can buy a cheap pregnancy test at a dollar store or a more expensive test that is digital. You can also try a homemade pregnancy kit that is based on pregnancy testing before the invention of the HCG-based tests available on the market today. The best brand is not all that important as most of them are really similar. All OTC brands are based on the same premise. They all detect the levels of HCG in the urine and most of them offer ultra-sensitive test kits that provide you with the best way to check for pregnancy at the earliest possible time.

Some types are digital and will give you a readout that says “pregnant” or “not pregnant” based on the concentration of HCG detected in your urine. Another type of test will give you two pink lines or two blue lines depending on the test. Still others will show a minus sign if you are not pregnant and a plus sign if you are pregnant. They are all basically rated the same and are good ways to detect HCG at low levels before you actually miss your period.

If you want to know if you are pregnant or not, you have a lot of choices. You can buy a cheap pregnancy test at a dollar store or a more expensive test that is digital. You can also try a homemade pregnancy kit that is based on pregnancy testing before the invention of the HCG-based tests available on the market today. The best brand is not all that important as most of them are really similar. All OTC brands are based on the same premise. They all detect the levels of HCG in the urine and most of them offer ultra-sensitive test kits that provide you with the best way to check for pregnancy at the earliest possible time.

Some types are digital and will give you a readout that says “pregnant” or “not pregnant” based on the concentration of HCG detected in your urine. Another type of test will give you two pink lines or two blue lines depending on the test. Still others will show a minus sign if you are not pregnant and a plus sign if you are pregnant. They are all basically rated the same and are good ways to detect HCG at low levels before you actually miss your period.

When is the Best time to take a Pregnancy Test?

You need to wait until the embryo has implanted into the uterine lining so that HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) can leach from the embryo to the maternal serum. This usually happens about 9-11 days after ovulation or 4 to 6 days before you miss your period, provided that you have regular cycles. Women who ovulate irregularly will need to take an ovulation test to see when they ovulate and then count forward 9-11 days before trying to take a sensitive urine pregnancy test. Even then, the HCG levels may be too low to detect pregnancy until you get closer to missing your period or actually miss it altogether.
For low HCG environments, such as the day right after implantation, a blood test might be best because it is very sensitive and will give you a read out of what the actual level of HCG was in the serum. HCG levels vary a great deal from pregnancy to pregnancy so the absolute value of the HCG level isn’t as important as measuring the test again in 48 hours, after which a normal pregnancy will have doubled the serum HCG level. If you see this doubling, you know you are probably dealing with a healthy pregnancy and not an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage.

Best Time to Take Pregnancy Test at Home

Most brands of pregnancy test, such as the First Response, Clear Blue Easy, Equate and Ept tests have a sensitive test that will tell you if you are pregnant at about six days before you miss your menstrual period. The tests vary as to how to do the test and some have you pee on a stick, while others have you urinate into a cup and put the stick into the cup or dropper some urine onto a paper pad. The test will read positive or negative according to the package instructions. Make sure you read the instructions carefully so that you know what a positive test is supposed to look like and what a negative test is supposed to look like.

What is the best pregnancy test for you?

The best pregnancy test for you is one in which the directions are easy and one that will measure low levels of HCG as are seen right after implantation of the embryo into the uterine lining. If you are worried about being able to interpret the test, go ahead and purchase a digital test that definitely shows a “yes” or “no” on the read-out. This eliminates the problem of seeing a faint line on the test strip and wondering if you are just seeing things or if a line is really there at all. Luckily, many kits will offer you more than one opportunity to test your urine in each box so you can wait a day or two after which the HCG level will be higher and the line should be stronger.

If you have gone through intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF), your doctor will probably offer you a blood test which will be very sensitive and will let you know if the embryo or embryos have implanted into the uterine lining. If you get a positive blood test or, better yet, two good HCG levels over a forty-eight hour period of time, you don’t need to go out and buy a urine test kit as the blood test is the best you can get.
You can buy the cheapest home pregnancy test out there for as little as a dollar at various dollar stores. These might not be as sensitive as the more expensive kits but you should know you are pregnant by the time you miss your period. If knowing at the earliest moment in time that you are pregnant is important, forego the cheap tests and buy a more expensive test that shows a faint blue or pink line indicating you are pregnant. They can detect urine levels as low as 25 mIU/ml and, while there still can be false negatives, you’ll probably find out sooner that you are pregnant.
The downside of ultra-sensitive pregnancy tests is that it can be a false positive. If, for example, the pregnancy was doomed at the outset and you are destined to miscarry at about the same time you would have your period, the test will still show a faint line and you might think you are carrying a healthy pregnancy when, in fact, the HCG levels will remain low and you will miscarry. Only the positive pregnancy test gave any indication that you were pregnant for that brief period of time.

When is the best time of day to take a pregnancy test?

The urine is most concentrated when you first wake up in the morning so a first morning urine specimen will have the greatest concentration of HCG. This means that you will have the best chance for early detection of pregnancy. If you test yourself later in the day, the urine is less concentrated and you may get a false negative reading. As you approach higher and higher levels of HCG, you will get a test that is positive any time of the day but it won’t likely be the sixth day before your missed menstrual period as this requires very concentrated urine.

What is the best pregnancy test to take?

There are various pregnancy tests to choose from. Here is a brief recap of the most popular brands of tests:

  • First Response—This offers you both digital and non-digital options and has a test kit that says it will detect pregnancy at 6 days before the missed menstrual period. It shows two pink lines if you are pregnant and one pink line if you are not pregnant.
  • Ept—this test offers digital and non-digital options and has a test kit that will detect pregnancy as early as 6 days before the missed period. It has two test windows, one of which is the reference window that will always show a blue line. A blue plus sign will show up if you are pregnant and a blue minus sign will show if you are not pregnant.

  • Clear Blue Easy—it offers digital and non-digital versions. In the non-digital version, you pee directly on the strip and it has a reference line window that will always show a line if the test is working and a blue plus or minus sign, depending on whether or not you are pregnant.
  • Equate—This is a test kit that has a reference window that will always show a pink line and a reading window that will show a pink plus sign or a pink minus sign, depending on whether or not you are pregnant.
  • Answer—this is a two line test that shows two pink lines if you are pregnant and one pink line if you are not pregnant. It says you can test within 5 days of your missed period.

Many of these brands have different styles and numbers of test kits in each box. They plan on possibly having a false negative so they give you an opportunity to test again the next day or the day after, preferably on a first morning urine specimen. The digital kinds can run you up to $20 a test, while the non-digital kinds are about $7 to $10 per strip.

As to which pregnancy test is best, it is hard to know. If you are particular to one brand of test, stick with that one so you know the directions and can interpret the test the next month if you don’t get pregnant this month. Cheaper tests probably aren’t as sensitive as expensive tests but, if you find yourself testing a lot because you have irregular cycles, it is probably better to get a lot of the cheaper ones rather than a few expensive ones. While digital ones are the easiest to read, they aren’t actually the most sensitive tests out there. You be the judge of which test you think you should buy based on when you want to know if you are pregnant and how much you are willing to spend on each test you take. They all measure the exact same thing but with slightly different sensitivity levels.

After getting a Positive Pregnancy Test

After you have what you think a positive pregnancy test, it is a good idea to stop smoking and drinking. Buy some over the counter prenatal vitamins and make an appointment with your doctor for a first prenatal visit at around 6-8 week’s gestation. Remember that the week’s gestation is measured from the first day of the last menstrual period so, when you miss your period on the fourth week, you are really only two week’s pregnant but it is called being “four week’s pregnant” because of the way pregnancies are measured.

At the doctor’s office, they may repeat the blood test for pregnancy or have you do a urine pregnancy test in the office. If you have irregular cycles and really don’t know when you got pregnant, an early ultrasound can give you the date when to expect the baby with an accuracy of about plus or minus 5 days. The later the ultrasound, the less able they are to date the pregnancy because fetus’s grow differently and you can have a bigger growing fetus that you can’t be certain of the exact dates of confinement (pregnancy) within a three week period of time.

This is why it is important to keep a calendar of when you have your period, how many days the flow was, when you ovulate (if you are taking an ovulation test kit) and the dates you take a pregnancy test. That way, when it finally shows positive for the first time, you can relatively accurately date the pregnancy and won’t be off on dates for the rest of the pregnancy. You may have later ultrasounds that give you different dates when you will deliver but these are not as accurate as a good urine pregnancy test early in the pregnancy and a confirmatory ultrasound also done early in the pregnancy.

Dates can be important because, when you get to the end of the pregnancy, you’ll want to know your exact due date and when you are overdue. Many decisions are made at the end of pregnancy such as when to induce your labor, when to have a Cesarean section or when the baby is coming too early. If your pregnancy test didn’t indicate an accurate date, your baby could be born too soon or too late, depending on the ultrasound. Small babies can be late and big babies with lung problems can be born too soon. A good urine pregnancy test can eliminate these problems and help you have a healthy baby.

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