How Accurate Are Home Pregnancy Tests?
Perhaps you’ve seen one of the telltale “lines” on your home pregnancy test, but you’re still a bit doubtful. After all, how accurate are home pregnancy tests anyway? Should you confirm the results with a doctor? And if so, when?
“We understand that often, home pregnancy tests can present many questions as well as answers,” said Dr. Hardison. “The most important aspect of any pregnancy test is to confirm the results with us so that, if you are pregnant, we can immediately begin your care, whether that be obstetric care or other supportive measures. We want to best address your needs right from the start.”
Home Pregnancy Tests: Are the Results Accurate?
Actually, home pregnancy tests are pretty accurate. However, there are some caveats. Some aren’t able to accurately diagnose pregnancy when you’ve only recently missed a period. This can result in a false negative.
If your test tells you that you’re not pregnant, but you have a feeling that you are, repeat the test a week later.
Pregnancy tests may not be accurate if you’re on fertility drugs or certain medications.
If you’re showing signs of pregnancy, you should schedule an appointment with us so we can confirm the results. Then we can outline your plan of care.
When You Take a Home Pregnancy Test Makes a Big Difference
The most accurate results—regardless of what the home pregnancy test claims—will be if you wait until the day after your first missed period. The reason behind this logic lies within how the fertilized egg produces hormones.
When the fertilized egg implants into your uterine lining, the placenta begins to form. The placenta produces a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). This is what home pregnancy tests detect to determine if you’re pregnant.
HCG increases rapidly when you first get pregnant. In fact, it can double every two days. Therefore, if you take the pregnancy test too early, you may not get reliable results.
If you have an irregular period, this can also affect when you will get the most accurate results.
There are a few other things that can affect the results. For example, some women check the test results too soon – give the test enough time to process, typically four minutes. Make sure you follow all the instructions on the package. You should also take your test when your urine is most concentrated, which is typically the first thing in the morning.
How Soon Can I Take a Home Pregnancy Test?
We recommend waiting until after you’ve missed your period. Remember that while some tests claim they can be accurate four to five days before your scheduled period, there may not be enough HCG in your bloodstream to get the correct results.
Why We Want to See You After Your Home Pregnancy Test
First, we want to ensure that you are, in fact, pregnant, and you didn’t receive a false positive from the test.
Second, we want to start you on a course of care. This can include establishing your due date, determining when to get an ultrasound, reviewing medications, and addressing any questions or worries you may have. We’ll also discuss what to expect during your next visits.
For your convenience, we’ve compiled a complete guide to your appointments for you to help you be an active partner in your healthcare. We are currently following an adjusted schedule as recommended by ACOG. This schedule is meant to help patients adhere to COVID-19 guidelines.
In addition, we want to be sure you have access to the information you need.
Chapel Hill OBGYN: See Why We’re the Best in the Triangle
First and foremost, our focus is on your health. We work with women through all stages of their lives, from having their first gynecological exam to helping them with the challenges of menopause. We also love working with our moms to help ensure a healthy labor and delivery experience.
We’re also thrilled to have earned several “Best of the Triangle” awards, including:
• Best Women’s Health Practice in Durham County.
• Best Women’s Practice Orange and Chatham counties.
• Best Women’s Health Practitioner Durham County – Melinda Everett, WHCNP.
• Best Women’s Health Practitioner in Orange and Chatham county-Melinda Everett, WHCNP
These awards are a testimony to the dedication of our entire staff, from physicians to nurses to nurse midwives.
We’d consider it a privilege to be your health care home. Contact us to schedule an appointment.