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How to Take an Early Pregnancy Test

Gone are the days when women who wanted to confirm their pregnancy had to make an appointment with their doctor or wait until the physical symptoms were obvious. Today, you can find out if you’re pregnant by taking an early pregnancy test –some tests can even be taken before you’ve missed a period.

The most commonly used home pregnancy tests are urine tests. The test consists of an absorbent strip in a plastic casing, which is impregnated with certain reactive enzymes. These enzymes will react to your urine – to determine that the test is working correctly – and to a hormone known as hCG, which is only produced in the bodies of pregnant women.

When you purchase an early pregnancy test, be sure to check the expiration date and check the box for signs of wear or damage. When you open the outer box, remove the literature and test, but don’t remove the test itself from its protective wrapper. The test should remain safely sealed until you’re ready to use it.

Take your time to thoroughly read through the instructions for using the test. Among the things you should note are:

  • The optimal time for taking the test – can it be used before you miss your period, or is it better used after you miss your period?
  • Whether or not you need your first morning urine or if you can test at any time during the day.
  • How the urine and absorbent tip of the test should come together and for how long – you may need to hold the test stick in your urine stream or collect a urine sample in a clean cup and hold the absorbent tip in that urine. Some tests can use either method. Be sure to note how long each application method requires the stick and urine to be in contact.
  • When the test should be read – this will usually be three to five minutes after the urine has been applied, although some tests are ready sooner.
  • What a positive and negative result will look like.
  • What kinds of results could indicate a problem with the test.
  • Whether or not there’s a customer service number you can call if you have questions or concerns.

Once you have this information, you can proceed to open and take the pregnancy test according to the instructions you’ve read.

Home pregnancy tests are generally very reliable and are based on the same technology that’s used in tests performed in medical laboratories. However, the chief difference is that when tests are performed in laboratories, regular controls are run to make sure the tests are giving accurate results.

In addition, there are some conditions under which a test can give a false negative result, and a few conditions that can cause a false positive result. The former is more common, so if you receive a result that seems inconsistent with your physical symptoms, try testing again in about a week or talk with your doctor about running a more conclusive test.

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