Have you missed your period and think you may be pregnant? A home pregnancy test will help determine whether you’re pregnant or not. According to Cleveland Clinic, ‘most tests are 99 percent effective if taken after a missed period.’
If you’ve never used a home pregnancy test before and have no idea what to do, don’t worry. We’ll explain the steps in this article.
How a home pregnancy test works
A home pregnancy test identifies the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) – known as the ‘pregnancy hormone’ – in your urine. Home pregnancy tests are available at the majority of pharmacies.
When to take the test
It’s recommended that you wait a day after your missed period before you take the test; however, waiting a week will give you the most accurate result – the reason being that hCG levels rise very quickly in a pregnant woman.
It’s best to do the test first thing in the morning, when your urine is most concentrated and hCG levels are highest. Pregnancy test kits must be stored in the refrigerator before using. Avoid any form of liquid intake before testing for pregnancy.
Once you’ve bought the pregnancy test, follow these steps to ensure that you get an accurate result.
Step 1: Sit down on the toilet and urinate either on the stick or in the cup provided (the method will depend on the brand you’ve purchased.) For an optimal result, collect a sample during midstream of urination (urinate a bit first before obtaining a sample.)
Step 2: If you’ve used the plastic cup method, use the supplied dropper and drop a small amount of urine on the indicated area. Some brands may require you to place the absorbent area into the collected urine; hold it in for the amount of time as per the instructions.
Step 3: It usually takes between 5 – 10 minutes before the result will appear; check this on the instructions.
Step 4: After the recommended waiting time has passed, the test will display your results in one of the following ways:
- A change in colour
- A line
- A symbol, such as plus or minus
- The words “pregnant” or “not pregnant”
If the result is positive: You should make an appointment with your doctor to have the pregnancy confirmed.
If the result is negative: False negatives are fairly common due to a number of factors: you may have timed your ovulation period incorrectly or took the test too soon. If you haven’t started your period in a week, take another test. If you’re worried, speak to your doctor.
How Marie Stopes can help you
If you do have an unplanned pregnancy, MSSA offers a safe abortion service should you choose to terminate the pregnancy. Book an appointment at one of our conveniently-located centres. If you decide to keep the baby, we also offer a comprehensive pregnancy care service to assist you throughout your pregnancy.