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Home Pregnancy Tests

Are home pregnancy tests really accurate?


Updated May 16, 2014

Looking pregnancy test.
Peter Cade/The Image Bank/Getty Images

In today's society, when we want something, we want it now! And with pregnancy, it is no different.

You can see ads for pregnancy tests everywhere! Each ad claims to be easier and more accurate than the next pregnancy test. How do you sort through all of the information?

Let's begin with the basics.

There are two basic types of pregnancy tests. Blood pregnancy tests and urine pregnancy tests. They are both used to test for the presence of Human Chorionic Gonadotropic (hCG). hCG is secreted in your urine and detected in your blood beginning at different times during pregnancy.

Blood test are the more accurate of the two types of testing. They cannot only tell you if hCG is present, but a quantitative hCG can tell you how much hCG is present. This can be helpful in dating a pregnancy, or watching the levels to observe the well-being of the pregnancy. (hCG usually doubles about every two days during the first few weeks of pregnancy.).

Urine tests are accurate for what they detect the presence of hCG. However, the amounts of hCG detectable by home pregnancy tests and lab urine pregnancy test varies.

The most sensitive test that I have found measures about 25 mIU/ml of hCG in the urine. While this information is not printed on the box, you can always call the toll-free advice line on the back of the box, or look at some of the lists that have been compiled.

Home tests are accurate enough if you follow the instructions. This means reading all of the instructions before you start the testing.

If you choose to use a home pregnancy test (urine), you should use the following advice to help make the test more accurate:

  • If you are not using first morning urine, make sure that your urine has been in your bladder for four hours.
  • Do not drink excessive amounts of fluid in an attempt to increase the volume of urine, this can dilute the urine, making hCG not as detectable.
  • If you are taking any medications, including fertility drugs, read the package inserts before testing to see if your medications will affect the results of your home pregnancy test.

If your pregnancy test is positive make sure that you seek prenatal care from a qualified doctor or midwife.

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  6. Are home pregnancy tests really accurate?

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