|Pregnancy Week (Select):|
When Is The Best Time To Take A Pregnancy Test?
Firstly, I will explain how a pregnancy test works, so you can get the best results from the test.
From the very beginning of your pregnancy, the foetus produces a hormone called hCG, or, human Chorionic Gondotrophin. This hormone is present in your urine if you are pregnant and increases as your pregnancy progresses, peaking at around 8-11 weeks, before dropping to a lower level at 12 and 16 weeks. Some pregnancy test kits can detect hCG levels as low as 10 or 25mIU/ml. If pregnant, at 10DPO (days past ovulation) you may be able to detect around 25mIU, at 12DPO 50mIU and 14DPO 100mIU.
Are Pregnancy Tests Accurate?
HPT’s have been shown to be over 99% accurate in lab tests. It is more likely you will get a false negative than a false positive if there was an error with the test.
When Is The Best Time To Take The Test?
As mentioned above, pregnancy test kits are designed to detect levels of hCG produced by your body if you are pregnant. Your body may be producing hCG before your period is due, however it is ideal to test on the first day of your missed period. If you were to test earlier than the first day of your missed period, the result may be incorrect. It may show a negative result if your hCG levels are not yet high enough to detect the pregnancy, or it may show a positive result and not develop into a true pregnancy due to the incidence of spontaneous abortions, which can occur before your period is due.
Is It True That It’s Best To Test In The Morning?
The pregnancy hormone hCG is usually at it’s highest levels early in the morning, so especially if you are early in your pregnancy, this is when it is the best time to test. It is important to note that excessive fluid intake before taking the pregnancy test can actually dilute hCG and this can make the result hard to read.
It’s always best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions included with the test, as the procedure can vary and affect your result if not done properly.
As soon as you have taken the test out of the packet, avoid touching the absorbent pad. There are normally two ways you can perform the test, midstream or in a cup. If you prefer to test midstream, all you need to do is hold the test almost vertically and pass it through a weak stream of urine, making sure you avoid water or urine being splashed on the device before starting the test.
If you prefer to use the cup method, urinate into a clean, dry container and dip the absorbent pad into the urine for 3-5 seconds. You do not completely immerse the absorbent pad, 1cm is sufficient.
I Am Taking Medication; Will This Have Any Affect On The Results?
If you are taking antibiotics, the contraceptive pill, or painkillers, this should not affect the result of the test. If you are on any fertility medication which contain hCG, you may receive a false positive. Speak to your pharmacist or carer for more info. Clomid does not produce false positives for pregnancy tests, but it can on ovulation tests.
What Does a Positive Pregnancy Test Look Like?
A positive pregnancy test will show a control line that was present before you took the test (usually quite dark) and a second line will appear after the urine passes through the window. Some tests now have two individual windows where lines need to show in each window. Other tests are designed to have a cross to show a pregnant test, so they can vary – just read the packet to find out what to look for.
The positive result line does not have to be as dark as the control line, but if you have a second line appear during the time frame specified on the packet – no matter how dark or faint – then congratulations – you are pregnant!
What Does a Negative Pregnancy Test Look Like?
A negative pregnancy test will only display the original control line; nothing else will show up at all after the urine has passed through the window. Sometimes you can have a very faint line come up after the designated time frame specified on the packet – it will tell you to wait a certain amount of minutes to show a result. After this time, the test should be discarded.
If The Test Result Is Faint or Hard to Read, Does That Mean I Am Not Pregnant?
It’s normal for the result on the pregnancy test to be either fainter or darker than the control line. The reason it may be fainter could be due to less hCG in your urine, especially very early in your pregnancy. It may be darker if your pregnancy is more progressed. Occasionally the test may display a ‘shadow’ line when the positive result should be, disregard this if you cannot see it when holding the test at arms length away from you and test the next morning.
How Long Should The Test Take to Work?
The test result should be read from 5 minutes and no later than 10 minutes. If any lines do appear after 10 minutes, it is still a negative result and must be disregarded. If you read the test sooner than 5 minutes, it may also be inaccurate as it has not had enough time to work.
What If There Are No Lines Visible At All On The Pregnancy Test?
It is unlikely that this will happen, but if it does, disregard the test. It may be faulty or due to not enough urine on the absorbent pad, too much urine on the absorbent pad or the test was not held correctly in the stream of urine. Repeat the test, carefully following the instructions as in the above question on how to use the test.
Should I Repeat The Test and If So, When?
If the result of your test was negative and your period still hasn’t started after a few days, test again. You may have miscalculated your cycle dates and / or the hCG level may be too low to detect. If you still receive a negative result after the second test and still have no period, consult your doctor. Some women find that they do not get a positive result as soon as others and some have only been able to detect pregnancy with a blood test. Everyone is different; however if you are concerned, do see your doctor.
What Should I Do If I Am Pregnant?
You should start considering options for pre-natal care, be it a midwife, Obstetrician, GP or combined care if you haven’t already. If you wish to see an Obstetrician you will need a referral from your GP. Many midwives, birth centres and Obstetricians do book out very quickly these days so be sure to make researching your options a priority. BellyBelly has some articles to help, Who Cares? Choosing a Model of Maternity Care, and Public, Private, Birth Centre or Home?.
What Can I Do If I Am Trying To Get Pregnant But Haven’t Been Able To?
It is normal for a couple to conceive anytime in the first twelve months of trying. You can try charting your cycle and/or using OPK’s (ovulation prediction kits), which work in the same way as pregnancy test kits – by measuring hormone in your urine. They can help you to identify your most fertile period by detecting LH which signals likely ovulation in the next 24-36 hours.
The BellyBelly Forums also offer great support for those trying to conceive over short and long periods of time, including assisted conception.
Where Can I Get More Help and Support?
BellyBelly has a section in the Forums dedicated to HPT’s and OPK’s. You can read others questions or post your own in our pregnancy test discussion forum. Alternately you can call the advice line numbers found on most pregnancy test kit packets or their information leaflets.
Kelly Winder is a doula (aka doula), the creator of BellyBelly and mum to three beautiful children. become a fan of BellyBelly on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. Please note that all of my suggestions and advice are of a generalised nature only and are not intended to replace advice from a qualified professional. BellyBelly.com.au – The Thinking Woman’s Website For Conception, Pregnancy, Birth and Baby.
More Pregnancy Articles
- “Help! I Drank Alcohol Before I Found Out I Was Pregnant!”
- 10 Big Pregnancy Blunders You Should Avoid
- 10 Things Your Mother Didn’t Tell You About Pregnancy
- 10 Ways Pregnancy Is Totally Overrated
- 11 Things Every Pregnant Mamma Must Do Before Giving Birth
- 11 Things You Should NOT Say To A Pregnant Woman
- 11 Things You Swore You Wouldn’t Do During Pregnancy (But Do Anyway)
- 14 Things That Get Harder When You’re Pregnant
- 15 Common Side Effects During Pregnancy
- 16 Things Pregnant Women Want Their Partners To Know
- 36 Awesome Things About Being Pregnant
- 40 Reasons To Give Baby 40 Weeks Of Pregnancy
- 8 Reasons Not To Find Out The Sex Of Your Baby
- 9 BIG Reasons Why Independent Birth Education Gets Better Results
- Acne And Pregnancy – How To Deal With Acne In Pregnancy
- Alcohol During Pregnancy – Is It Safe To Drink Alcohol While Pregnant?
- Amniocentesis – What Is An Amniocentesis?
- Are You Prepared for Breastfeeding? Tips To Prepare For Success
- Awkward Pregnancy Photos – 28 Cringeworthy Photos!
- Baby Boy Names – Names For Boys
- Baby Formula – What Baby Formula Makers Wont Tell You
- Baby Girl Names – Names For Girls
- Baby Shower Games – 9 Fun and Enteraining Games
- Baby Shower Ideas – 9 Awesome Baby Shower Ideas
- Bedrest In Pregnancy – 14 Survival Tips For Pregnant Mammas
- Bleeding After Sex During Pregnancy
- Bleeding During Pregnancy – 6 Causes of Bleeding
- Blessingway – What Is A Blessingway?
- Bonding During Pregnancy – 12 Ways To Bond With Your Baby
- Boy or Girl? 20 Old Wives Tales Gender Predictions
- Breakthrough Bleeding – What Is Breakthrough Bleeding?
- Breast Changes During Pregnancy – 7 Different Changes
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Carpal Tunnel During Pregnancy
- Chemical Pregnancy – Symptoms Of A Chemical Pregnancy
- Coffee and Pregnancy – Can You Drink Coffee During Pregnancy?
- Colouring Your Hair During Pregnancy: Is It Safe To Colour Your Hair?
- Constipation During Pregnancy – 11 Tips To Beat Constipation
- CVS (Chorionic Villus Sampling)
- Depression and Pregnancy – Depression In Pregnancy
- Doesn’t Feel Right? Speaking Up and How To Do It
- Doula – What Is a Doula And Why Do So Many Women Want One?
- Down Syndrome – Expecting a Baby With Down Syndrome
- Early Signs Of Pregnancy – The Very First Signs
- Ectopic Pregnancy – Signs and Symptoms of Ectopic Pregnancy
- Essential Oils In Pregnancy – Which Essential Oils Are Safe To Use?
- Exercise And Pregnancy – Can I Exercise In Pregnancy?
- Flu Vaccine When Pregnant – Should I Get The Flu Vaccine?
- Flying When Pregnant – Tips for Flying When Pregnant
- Gas During Pregnancy – A Windy Problem
- Gender Dilemmas – Wanting a Boy – or a Girl
- Gender Disappointment – Tips For Coping With Gender Disappointment
- Gender Reveal Party Ideas – 16 Cool Gender Reveal Ideas!
- Genital Herpes – Giving Birth With Genital Herpes
- Gestational Diabetes – Treating Gestational Diabetes
- Haemorrhoids – Treating Haemorrhoids in Pregnancy
- Hiring a Birth Attendant or Doula – Questions to Ask
- How Many Weeks Pregnant Am I?
- How To Get Rid Of Stretch Marks
- Internal Exam In Pregnancy and Labour – Are They Necessary?
- Irritable Uterus – What Is An Irritable Uterus In Pregnancy?
- Listeria and Pregnancy – What You Need To Know About Listeria
- Low Lying Placenta – What It Means To Have Low Lying Placenta
- Maternity Hospital Tours: 15 Questions To Ask
- Miscarriage – What Is A Miscarriage And Why Do They Occur?
- Mocktail Recipes – Yummy Mocktails For Pregnancy
- MTHFR – Is The MTHFR Gene Mutation Affecting Your Pregnancy?
- Mucus Plug (Show) – What Is The Mucus Plug?
- No Period / Missed Period – Could I Be Pregnant?
- Not Enjoying Being Pregnant? 8 Helpful Tips
- Nursing Bras – When Should I Get A Nursing Bra?
- Nutrition in Pregnancy
- Obstetrician For Birth – 11 Questions To Ask An Obstetrician
- Optimal Fetal Positioning – How It Helps You Have An Easier Birth
- Osteopathy and Pregnancy – How Osteopathy Helps
- Paid Parental Leave – How Much Is Paid Parental?
- Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) in Pregnancy
- Pets and Your New Baby – 6 Tips To Prepare Your Pet
- Placenta Previa – What Is Placenta Previa?
- Post Natal Depression – 8 Ways To Help Prevent PND
- Postnatal Depression – Prevention & Treatment With Chinese Medicine
- Preeclampsia and Symptoms of Preeclampsia
- Pregnancy Books – 4 Best Pregnancy Books
- Pregnancy Calculator – Try BellyBelly’s Pregnancy Calculator
- Pregnancy Fatigue – 14 Tips To Combat Fatigue In Pregnancy
- Pregnancy Myths – 10 Big Pregnancy Myths: Busted
- Pregnancy Photography – 10 Great Reasons To Have Pregnancy Photography
- Pregnancy Stages – The Three Pregnancy Stages
- Pregnancy Stress – 10 Tips For Dealing With Stress In Pregnancy
- Pregnancy Symptoms – 16 Noticeable Pregnancy Symptoms
- Pregnancy Tickers – Countdown to Baby With A Pregnancy Ticker!
- Pregnancy Week By Week – Your Pregnancy Week By Week
- Pregnancy Weight Gain – How Much Weight Is Normal?
- Pregnancy Yoga – Benefits of Prenatal Yoga
- Pregnant Belly Painting: 25 Gorgeous Painted Pregnant Bellies
- Prenatal Testing & Screening – What You Need To Know
- Private Health Funds Covering Midwifery and Homebirth
- Public, Private, Birth Centre or Home?
- Red Raspberry Leaf Tea In Pregnancy – Benefits of Raspberry Leaf
- Rhesus Negative Factor in Pregnancy – Rh- Blood
- Sciatica – Treatment Of Sciatica in Pregnancy
- Seeing the Dentist in Pregnancy – FAQ’s
- Sex Toys During Pregnancy – Is It Safe?
- Shortness of Breath In Pregnancy – Are You Short Of Breath?
- Sleeping Position In Pregnancy – Which Side Is Safer?
- Smoking And Pregnancy – Myths & How To Stop Smoking During Pregnancy
- Sore Ribs During Pregnancy – Relief for Rib Pain While Pregnant
- Tea During Pregnancy – Teas To Drink And Teas To Avoid
- Thrush During Pregnancy – 9 Vaginal Thrush Self Help Tips
- Unplanned Pregnancy – When Your Pregnancy Is More Shock Than Surprise
- Waxing During Pregnancy – Can You Wax While Pregnant?
- When Do You Start To Look Pregnant?
- When Does Morning Sickness Start? Morning Sickness FAQ’s
- Who Cares? Choosing a Model of Maternity Care
- Will Your Baby Be Born in a Baby Friendly Hospital?