Could i be Pregnant ?
Could i be Pregnant:
How do home pregnancy tests work?
Home pregnancy tests can tell you if you’re pregnant by detecting the presence of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine.
This hormone is produced by cells that will develop into the placenta. It first enters your bloodstream when the fertilized egg starts to implant in the lining of your uterus, as early as six days after fertilization.
The amount of hCG in your body then increases rapidly over the next few weeks, often doubling every two days or so. When a test detects the hormone in your urine, it will show you a positive result.
How soon can I take a home pregnancy test?
Some home pregnancy tests claim they’re sensitive enough to give you a positive result as early as five days before you would expect your next period. And some women will have produced enough hCG to get a positive result at that point. So if you’re anxious to know and don’t mind spending the money, go ahead and try it. If you get a negative result, you can just wait and test again later if you still haven’t gotten your period.
Most home pregnancy tests claim to be “greater than 99 percent accurate” if you use them on the day you miss your period, but one study found that some tests aren’t sensitive enough to guarantee an accurate result at that point either.
Researchers evaluated pregnancy tests from different manufacturers and found that only one brand of test (both the digital and non-digital version) was 97 percent accurate in detecting pregnancy on the first day of a missed menstrual period. (The amount of hCG in the urine at this time can vary a great deal from one woman to another.) The other brands correctly predicted pregnancy about half the time.
The bottom line: You’re more likely to get an accurate result if you wait a few days to a week after you expect your period before testing.
How can these tests claim to be accurate so early?
According to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations, a home pregnancy test can claim to be “greater than 99 percent accurate” if the manufacturer simply demonstrates that the test performs as well in the lab as an existing test more than 99 percent of the time. Today’s home pregnancy tests are more sensitive than previous products, so it’s not surprising that manufacturers are able to make this claim, but it has nothing to do with a test’s ability to detect pregnancy at the time of a missed period.
How can I tell which tests are the most sensitive?
It’s not easy. New products come out frequently, and manufacturers can make improvements at any time.
But some package inserts provide information about a test’s sensitivity – that is, they report the lowest concentration of hCG in milli-International Units per milliliter (mIU/ml) of urine that the test can detect. For example, a pregnancy test that claims to be able to detect hCG at 20 mIU/ml theoretically should be more sensitive than one that claims to detect it at 50 mIU/ml.
How do I use a home pregnancy test?
First check the expiration date on the package, especially if you’ve had it for a while. If you’ve been storing the test anywhere that gets moist or warm, like the bathroom, it may have deteriorated. If that’s the case, it’s better to throw it away and get a new one.
For best results, try testing first thing in the morning, when your urine is most concentrated. Read the directions carefully because they vary with different brands. Some require you to urinate in a cup and then use the dropper provided to place a small sample in the testing well. With others, you can pee directly onto the testing device. And some will let you do either.
The tests also vary in how they display the results. For example, some show pink or blue lines on the test strip, while others reveal a red plus or minus sign in a window. “Digital” tests tell you in words whether you’re pregnant. Most have a control indicator (often a second line or symbol) to indicate whether the test is valid.
It may take up to 10 minutes to see results. If the control indicator doesn’t show up properly, the test may be faulty. If this happens, you can usually call the manufacturer and have them send you a new one (though it probably won’t arrive soon enough to use that same month).
If you have questions about how to use a test, call the manufacturer’s toll-free number on the package instructions.
If the test shows a negative or a faintly positive result, wait another few days or a week and try again if you still haven’t gotten your period. One possibility is that you ovulated later in your cycle than you thought and took the test too early to get a positive result.
So don’t assume that one negative result means you’re not pregnant. The amount of hCG produced is different for every woman and varies with each pregnancy. Just because you were positive early in your first pregnancy doesn’t mean you’ll be positive early in your second one.
If you still haven’t gotten your period (or a positive result) a week or so after you would expect it, contact your healthcare provider.
Is it possible to get a false positive result?
False positives are uncommon, but they can happen under certain circumstances:
- You had a miscarriage or a pregnancy termination in the previous eight weeks or have a molar pregnancy.
- You’ve taken a fertility drug containing hCG (used to induce ovulation in fertility treatments).
- You have a rare medical condition, such as an hCG-secreting tumor.
- You’re using an expired or faulty test kit.
If you have an early positive result and then get your period soon after, you may have had what’s sometimes called a chemical pregnancy. This means a fertilized egg implanted in your uterus and developed just enough to start producing hCG, but then stopped developing for some reason. This form of early miscarriage usually happens when the fertilized egg has defects that prevent it from growing normally.
After a chemical pregnancy, your period may be a little heavier and a few days later than usual. When pregnancy tests were less sensitive than they are today, these very early losses were never identified. Some healthcare providers think that’s another good reason to wait until a week after your period is due to take a home pregnancy test.
Note: An ectopic pregnancy usually results in a positive pregnancy test, but it occasionally is negative because of lower hCG hormone levels. No matter what result you get from a pregnancy test, call your healthcare provider right away if you:
- feel dizzy or faint.
- have abdominal pain (especially a sharp or stabbing pain in your abdomen or on one side of your pelvis).
- have abnormal bleeding.
How are home pregnancy tests different from the tests used in a medical office?
Most healthcare providers use a urine pregnancy test, just as you would at home. However, your provider may test your blood as well to find out your exact level of hCG or see what’s happening to the level over time – to tell whether you’re having a miscarriage, for example. It takes anywhere from an hour to a day to get the results of a blood test.
Where can I buy a home pregnancy test?
You can buy them at most drugstores and online. They generally cost between $6 and $20, and usually contain two or three tests. Digital tests typically cost more, and bulk packs of testing strips cost less.
Can I order a blood test online?
There are testing companies that will allow you to pay online and then go to a lab and have a blood sample taken. The testing company will provide you with your result the next day by phone or online. These tests start at about $40. They claim to be able to provide you with accurate results as early as 6 to 8 days after ovulation.
Still confused about whether you’re pregnant?
Take our Am I Pregnant? quiz
When you’re trying to conceive, home pregnancy tests can signify excitement, disappointment, hope, and anxiety. And those little testing sticks come with lots of questions – when to test and when to wait, how to tell your partner, how to deal with the results (positive or negative), and how to find your way through it all. Here are some of the top findings from BabyCenter’s survey about pregnancy testing, with answers from more than 1,000 women.
Positive result: Hard to believe
You might think one positive pregnancy test would be enough to launch a woman on her journey to parenthood, but a surprising 62 percent of the women we surveyed didn’t trust the positive result from their home pregnancy test and took at least one more test just to make sure.
“I didn’t believe it, that’s why I took the next two tests,” wrote Hope. “I’m 8 weeks along now and still in shock!”
Half the women who got a positive result (52 percent) headed to their doctor’s office to confirm that they were pregnant. But this official confirmation isn’t really necessary, says Sunaina Sehwani, an ob-gyn at Advanced Women’s Healthcare in Palm Springs, California. “Home pregnancy tests are very trustworthy, particularly when they show a positive result,” says Sehwani.
That’s because home pregnancy tests work by detecting a hormone called hCG that your body starts releasing once a fertilized egg has implanted in the uterus. The hormone is usually only present during pregnancy, so if the test detects it and displays a positive result, it’s very likely you’re actually pregnant.
It’s rare – but possible – to get a positive result when you aren’t pregnant. This can be caused by very early pregnancy loss, an ectopic or molarpregnancy, fertility drugs, rare medical conditions, using an expired test, or even menopause.
When it finally sunk in that they were pregnant, many women in our survey felt luckier than if they’d hit the lottery: “I cried like a baby,” said Heather, and for K.B. it was the “best feeling in the world.” Keisha did her “happy dance” when she got the good news.
Just over half of the women surveyed were so thrilled they saved their positive test, and 38 percent of pregnant women and moms say they stillfeel excited every time they look at it.
Tell us how many positives you need to believe you’re pregnant.
Creative ways to share your news
When it comes to spilling the beans about a positive pregnancy test, many women don’t have to go far: In our survey, 46 percent were with their partner when they found out.
For those who need to share the news, there are lots of ways to do it. Sure, many women in our survey opted for the straightforward approach: “I said, ‘Sweetie, I’m pregnant,'” recalls ACB, while Amanda said that she “just walked in the room and told him.” Other women texted the news to their honey.
Some got creative. Dayna wrote her partner a poem in which the first letter of each sentence spelled out “We’re pregnant.” Linden “wrote on my belly telling him there was a baby inside,” and LMK “bundled my four pregnancy tests into a bouquet and told him he was going to be a daddy.”
A few women enlisted the help of a little messenger: “I gave the positive test to my toddler to hold and asked my husband to change his diaper,” remembered L. MacDonald.
Steffi “bought a T-shirt for my 11-month-old saying ‘I’m the big sister,’ put it on her, and let my husband notice it!” Some sent their partner a photo of the positive test result by email or phone, and one mother in Michigan hung a sign on her dog.
Several moms-to-be took advantage of the holidays to tell their partner. “It was very close to Christmas, so I wrapped up a slip of paper with my due date and let him unwrap it,” wrote J.P.
Jennifer M. “made the test a Christmas ornament and hung it on the Christmas tree.” And Melanie interrupted her partner’s afternoon nap on February 13: “I woke him by saying, ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ and gave him the positive test!”
Get more great ideas – and share your own – for telling people you’re pregnant.
Negative result: Don’t lose hope
Many couples have at least one disappointing test result when trying to conceive, if not a seemingly endless parade of them. Even if you are pregnant, it’s common to get a negative result first (known as a “false negative”) followed by a positive result soon after.
A negative test result is less reliable than a positive one. It could mean that the hCG hormone level simply isn’t yet high enough to be detected. This happened in more than one quarter of pregnancies in our survey.
A false negative result can happen when a woman tests too early, says obstetrician Sehwani. “Home pregnancy kits include instructions to test as early as the first day of a missed period, but in some pregnant women, hormone levels aren’t high enough at that point to be detected.” (Learn more about when to trust or ignore a negative result.)
More than 60 percent of those in our survey took the test sooner than a week after their missed period, perhaps because testing kits often claim to work starting on the day your period is due. But research suggests it’s best to wait to test until a week or so after your missed period – as antsy as you may be.
Survey respondent C.J.D. speaks from personal experience: “Don’t put yourself through the heartache of getting negative results if you don’t have to. Wait until your period is late by a few days or more and then do it to confirm.”
When a negative result is accurate and you very much want a baby, it’s natural to feel upset and even devastated. Many women in our survey said they felt “disappointed” at the negative test result, while a few, like Anu, felt “horrible.” Brittany wrote, “I felt bad because I really wanted to be a mom.”
If you suspect a problem with fertility, it’s worth looking into, especially if you’ve had regular, unprotected sex for over a year (or six months if you’re over 35). There’s a lot that can be done to help you along, so talk to your doctor about getting help from a fertility specialist.
Saving money on pregnancy tests
With all the testing you’re likely to do, should you shell out for the costlier brand-name tests or go with cheaper generic versions? BabyCenter moms in our survey were split on this: There were those who, like S.S., felt that “cheap tests don’t work as well.” Others disagreed: “You don’t have to buy the fancy expensive tests. The cheap ones tell you the same thing!”
The frugal shoppers may be onto something, says Sehwani, who compared the accuracy of pregnancy tests from dollar stores to costlier tests done in a hospital. Though her study was small, “the results were the same,” she says. “The dollar-store tests were just as accurate as the more expensive tests.”
Whatever kind of test you choose, more than a few women recommended buying multipacks to save money. Good advice, given that 34 percent of moms and pregnant women answering our survey said they took at least two pregnancy tests during the cycle they conceived. (Some used more than five.)
Try, try again: A common struggle
If you’re plowing through pack after pack of pregnancy tests as you strive to conceive, you’re far from alone. A full two-thirds of hopeful moms in our survey reported that it was taking longer than they expected to get pregnant. The same proportion of women who did get pregnant said they faced the same problem.
So how long did it end up taking? Most women in our survey (85 percent) were pregnant within one year of starting to try. A lucky 55 percent conceived in less than three months.
As if the wait weren’t tough enough, about one-third of women in our survey experienced a miscarriage, and one-third turned to fertility treatments. The treatments most frequently tried were drugs (85 percent), followed by artificial insemination (31 percent), in vitro fertilization (17 percent), and surgery (15 percent).
Among women in our survey who were actively trying to get pregnant, almost every one of them (97 percent) reported doing whatever they could – in bed and out – to encourage conception. Their top tricks to boost their chances: taking prenatal vitamins, having frequent sex, pinpointing the time of ovulation, trying to lose weight, and cutting down on alcohol, caffeine, and stress.
But the going can get rough as you try to conceive. Do your best not to blame yourself, or your partner, if each month brings another negative result. Stay positive, talk to your doctor, and reach out to other couples having a similar experience. The more you know, and the more you share, the easier your own journey will be.
Tell us: How long have you been trying to conceive?
The accuracy of a home pregnancy test depends on how and when you take the test, so it’s possible that your negative pregnancy test result is not be accurate.
What’s a false negative pregnancy test result?
A “false negative” pregnancy test result shows that you’re not pregnant when you are.
Why do false negative pregnancy test results happen?
The test was taken too soon. If you take a home pregnancy test very soon after you think you may have conceived, or if you didn’t follow the test instructions correctly, you might get a false negative test result.
A home pregnancy test will be positive only if it detects the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). When an egg is fertilized after you ovulate, it takes about a week to travel through a fallopian tube to the uterus. And your body starts producing hCG only after a fertilized egg implants in the uterus.
If it’s very early in your pregnancy, your body might not have produced enough hCG yet. In that case, you’d get a negative result at first. Also, some tests are more sensitive than others, and no test is 100 percent accurate. And a few women have such low levels of hCG during pregnancy that home tests can’t measure it.
Although some tests can detect hCG the first day you miss your period, you’ll have a better chance of getting an accurate result if you wait a week. Don’t time the test based on when you think you might have conceived. Sperm can live in the fallopian tubes for up to five days, so it’s possible you conceived several days after having sex.
Hormones were low. For the most accurate result, follow the test instructions exactly, and take the test when you first get up in the morning. That’s the time when your urine – and any hCG – is the most concentrated.
What if the test is taken correctly and I get a negative result?
If you’re sure you’ve waited long enough to test and you’re still getting a negative result, you’re probably not pregnant. Pregnancy isn’t the only reason for a missed period – stress, too much exercise, and thyroid problems, among other things, can all delay menstruation.
If your period is weeks late without a positive test result, talk to your doctor to figure out whether you’re pregnant or need help getting your menstrual cycle on track.
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For most women, the best time to take a pregnancy test is a few days after your period would normally be due.
There are two kinds of pregnancy tests, a urine test and a blood test. All pregnancy tests measure the amount of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) – the pregnancy hormone – in your body, but the two types of tests differ in how (and when) they detect it.
All home pregnancy tests are urine tests. They detect the amount of hCG in your urine, but only when it reaches a certain level. If you use one of these tests too early in pregnancy, the amount of hCG in your urine may not be high enough for a positive result. While some tests advertise earlier results, most urine pregnancy tests will give you an accurate answer if you test a few days after your period would normally be due.
A test may be negative for several reasons: You may not be pregnant, you may have tested too early, you may have ovulated later than you thought (and not be far enough along for the test to detect your increased hCG level), or your pregnancy may have complications affecting the amount of the hormone in your body. If you get a negative result, try again in a few days if you still haven’t gotten your period.
The other kind of pregnancy test measures the amount of hCG in your bloodstream. Blood tests are more sensitive that urine tests, so they can measure much smaller amounts of the hormone. They can detect pregnancy earlier than urine tests, usually about six to eight days after ovulation. Blood tests are more expensive, must be ordered by a physician, and require you to give a blood sample.
A blood test is useful when it’s critical to know about a pregnancy early on, say if you need an X-ray. Otherwise, it’s best to wait until your period is late for a clear indication from a urine pregnancy test.
Sometimes wishful thinking can make the normal changes your body goes through each month seem new and unusual, especially if you’re actively trying to get pregnant. It’s natural to get your hopes up and think your body is doing something different. But home pregnancy tests are usually very good, and if multiple tests come up negative, believe them.
There is an unusual condition called pseudocyesis; women who have it experience real symptoms of pregnancy but aren’t actually pregnant. The symptoms can be very dramatic – abdominal enlargement, breast changes, fetal movement, and even labor pains. No one knows why this happens. Pseudocyesis seems to be more common in women who are married, who have been pregnant before, or who are in their second marriage. Women diagnosed with the condition seem to improve with counseling and support from family and friends.
Chances are you don’t have pseudocyesis; you’re probably just going through normal premenstrual changes. Monthly symptoms can vary significantly from person to person, both with pregnancy and with regular periods. Unfortunately, some women experience debilitating cramping, bloating, pelvic pain, or nausea and vomiting with their periods, to the extent that they have to miss work or school several days each month – but they’re not pregnant. Many researchers believe that it’s the fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone (the two main hormones produced during the menstrual cycle) in the bloodstream that create these side effects.
If you weren’t trying to get pregnant and wanted to alleviate any menstrual symptoms, you could try taking a birth control pill. Because the pills regulate the amount of hormones in your body, this often reduces dramatic fluctuations in your cycle. Other simple things that can help: reducing your caffeine intake and exercising regularly throughout the month.