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Signs You Should Take A Pregnancy Test; How To Use And Can Pregnancy Test Kit Results Go Wrong?

Waiting to know whether you are entering a new phase of your life will be exciting and, at the same time, stressful. When there are theories that give you information about when to take a pregnancy test, doctors add that every woman is different. The time of ovulation, fertilisation and implantation may differ among women.

Experts state that a woman should take a test from the first day of her missed period. If she is uncertain of the due date of the next period, she can do a pregnancy test within three weeks, that is, 21 days, after unprotected sex [1].

Most women prefer to do a home pregnancy test, which is easier and economical. Another factor that makes women choose home pregnancy kits is the privacy offered by the test as it can be done in your room. But, to get a reliable result, you should know how to take the home pregnancy test [2].

Here, we will discuss those indications of your body that will let you know when to take a pregnancy test.

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Signs That You Should Take A Pregnancy Test

Women who expect pregnancy will be naturally observing any physical changes and wonder if it is time to take a pregnancy test. There are some early signs that your body will give you if you are pregnant.

1. Missed Periods

Most women think of doing a pregnancy test when they notice that they missed their period. You can do a home pregnancy test as soon as you miss your period. If you have had sex around your ovulation day, the chances of you being pregnant are high [3]. Keep in mind that a missed period can be due to stress, improper diet, lack of sleep and lack of physical activity. Consider taking a pregnancy test if it's been more than a month since your last period [4].

2. Tummy Cramps And Spotting

This may make it difficult for you to differentiate whether it is your period or an implantation bleeding. But remember, implantation bleeding will generally be not more than spotting. Implantation pain is similar to menstrual cramps. This sudden cramps in the lower abdomen without a period appearing is an indication for the woman to take a test. And if you are spotting around 6-12 days after your ovulation, take a pregnancy test [5].

3. Sensitive Breasts

Knowing when to take a pregnancy test is very important to get an accurate result. Breast tenderness is a common sign of pregnancy that will take you near a positive pregnancy result.

Sore and sensitive breasts are a common sign of pregnancy [6]. The woman's body begins to produce more of the oestrogen and progesterone hormones, which help support the foetus growth.

4. Nausea And Vomiting

These are part of your early morning sickness. If you experience these signs, chances are more for you to be pregnant. Stop thinking about when to take a pregnancy test and get a home pregnancy kit immediately.

5. Food Cravings Or Aversion

The hormonal changes associated with pregnancy will result in food cravings or aversions. If you doubt when to take a pregnancy test, you should not avoid this symptom. As the weeks progress, these symptoms may get stronger before your HCG levels [7].

6. Body Feels Different

Exhaustion, frequent urination, food aversions are some of the changes which take place in the body when a woman is expecting. If the woman sees these drastic changes within those 21 days, she should take a pregnancy test.

7. Contraceptive Failure

Condoms, birth control pills are some of the contraceptives used to prevent pregnancy. These contraceptives are not 100 per cent safe, and when it fails to serve its purpose, that is when a woman needs to take a pregnancy test [8].

In certain cases, if you test soon after missing a period, you may not get a positive result. This may be due to late ovulation or a decreased HCG concentration in urine. In such cases, wait for one more week and repeat the test if you still haven't got your period.

Note: You may receive an inaccurate result if the test is taken too early in your cycle.

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Types Of Pregnancy Test Kit

There are two types of kits: one set that detects pregnancy before a missed period and the other after a missed period. To be more accurate with the result, it is wiser to choose the kit of the second type. This is because the presence of the needed hCG hormone is assured after a missed period, i.e., after implantation, if pregnant, and hence the test result is reliable [9].

So, the first point to note is that it is advisable to test after a missed period even though it is possible to take up a test 7 to 10 days after ovulation.

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How To Use A Pregnancy Test Kit?

Here are the steps to use a pregnancy test [10]:

  • First, remove the plastic cap so that the absorbent window can be seen.
  • Point the absorbent tip (with five small openings) directly into the urine stream (collect in a cup, or you may directly pee into it - read the instructions carefully).
  • If you are peeing directly into the testing device, keep it for at least 7-10 seconds to ensure that an adequate sample is collected.
  • If you are using a container, collect the urine into a clean container and dip half of the absorbent pad for at least 10 seconds.
  • Re-cap the device and place it horizontally on a flat surface.
  • Wait 5 minutes for the test to finish processing.
  • Depending on the type of pregnancy test kit, it'll show changes such as a change in colour,
  • a line, a symbol such as plus or minus, or the words "pregnant" or "not pregnant."
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How Does A Pregnancy Test Kit Function?

The kit detects pregnancy in urine. The urine has to contain the hormone called human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG), generally referred to as the 'pregnancy hormone'. It is the presence of hCG in the urine that confirms pregnancy [11].

This is what the pregnancy kit looks for - high levels of the hCG hormone. hCG is lower than five mIU/ml in a normal woman, and it doubles every 48-72 hours when pregnant. The hCG is produced only after implantation.

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Can Pregnancy Test Kit Results Go Wrong?

Around 95-99 per cent of pregnancy test kit results are correct, provided the instructions are followed correctly. However, there are instances when the result can be a false positive [12]. Some of the instances where one can get a false positive and false negative are as follows:

Instances of false positives

  • Consumption of medicines containing hCG
  • Menopause
  • Protein or blood in the urine
  • Ovarian cysts or an ectopic pregnancy
  • Instances of false negatives

    • Diluted urine (concentrated one must be used for test - should be done immediately after waking up)
    • Wrong usage of the test kit
    • The test has passed the expiry date
    • Taking the test much earlier
    • Caution: Urine samples and used test devices could be infectious, so please keep them away. And proper handling, hand washing, and immediate disposal are recommended.

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On A Final Note…

Doctors advise that you do the home pregnancy test three weeks after having unprotected sex or a missed period. Gynaecologists suggest this as the best time to do the test as a very minimal possibility of a wrong result.