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How to Use a Home Pregnancy Test

Using a home pregnancy test is fairly straightforward. While each manufacturer will have specific instructions on how to achieve optimal results with their particular test, there are some common steps that you can take when using any home pregnancy test.

First, purchase your home pregnancy test in a store with regular turn over. Always check the expiration date on the package and look the package over for damage. Once you have the test at home, open the outer box and read the accompanying literature carefully. The test will be sealed in a separate wrapper; don’t open the test wrapper until you’re ready to take the test.

To use a home pregnancy test, you need a urine sample. Older tests required your first morning urine, but newer tests are more sensitive and can be used at any time during the day. However, for best results, you may still wish to hold your urine for about four hours before testing. In addition, you shouldn’t drink excessive amounts of liquid before the test, as this may dilute the amount of pregnancy hormone in your urine.

Next, you apply the urine to the absorbent tip of the test, either by holding the absorbent tip in your urine stream or by collecting your urine in a clean cup and soaking the tip in the urine. Your test instructions will tell you exactly how long to hold the tip in your urine stream or to keep it submerged in the cup.

After the absorbent tip is saturated, you can usually place a covering over the tip. Most tests will ask you to then lay the test flat on the counter, although some specify that the absorbent tip should be held pointing downward. Again, follow your manufacturer's directions precisely for best results.

The directions will also tell you when to read the test results. Generally this is about three to five minutes after applying the urine. Most tests give you two possible lines – the first line is a control line where enzymes in the test react to the presence of urine to indicate that the test was performed and is working correctly. The second line contains an enzyme that reacts in the presence of hCG – more commonly known as the pregnancy hormone. If the enzymes react, hCG is present and you are pregnant. If the enzymes don’t react, then either hCG isn’t present or is present in amounts too small for the test to detect. The type of display you’ll see depends on the test you’re taking – check the instructions to determine what constitutes a positive and negative result.

If you have a positive test result, you should contact your doctor to arrange for an appointment to confirm pregnancy and begin prenatal care. Or, if you have a negative result, your period should begin within a few days. If it doesn’t, consider taking a second test. If you have several negative tests, but your period is still late, contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Using a home pregnancy test is a simple and easy way to confirm whether or not you’re pregnant. The tests are inexpensive to use, but can provide you with some very valuable information.

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