Pregnancy tests have come a long way from ancient times, when women used wheat and barley seeds. If the wheat seeds sprouted, she was having a girl, and if the barley seeds did, then she was having a boy. No sprouting meant she wasn’t pregnant. Thankfully, today’s tests are a lot easier, and you don’t have to wait for days.
Types of Pregnancy Tests
There are three different types of pregnancy tests, and while you will likely get an accurate result one day after a missed period, it’s generally recommended that you wait a week. Waiting allows the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) to build up in your system, and it is this hormone that two types of tests rely on—home pregnancy tests and clinical urine tests.
The placenta produces the hormone hCG after the embryo attaches to the uterine lining and it starts building up in your system quickly. It is a very good way to test as there is no other reason for that hormone to be present other than pregnancy. It’s this rapid increase in hormones that are responsible for majority of your pregnancy symptoms.
The third type of pregnancy test is a blood test. Those are done at your doctor’s office and are not available for home use.
How Do They Work?
Urine tests can be done both at home or at a clinic or doctor’s office. They can also be performed two different ways. One is to catch urine in a cup and then dip the “stick” into it or put urine into a special container with an eyedropper. The other way is to hold the end of the stick in the urine stream.
The testing kit is a slender plastic piece roughly seven inches long with a window or two halfway down and a couple of inches of exposed, usually white, stiff material. It is this exposed material that is dipped into a cup or catches urine midstream.
Once the stick has been soaked with the urine, a provided cap can be snapped on for cleanliness, and it can take up to 10 minutes for the result, depending on the brand of test used.
Reading the Results
When reading the results, it’s generally made quite obvious for you. Some tests will display a “pregnant” or “not pregnant”, while others will show a plus sign for pregnant and a minus sign for not pregnant or two lines versus one line or even a change in color. Read the packaging your test comes in so you know what type of result you are to look for with that particular test.
Most manufacturers recommend taking home pregnancy tests twice, and it makes sense to wait a few days before taking the second test, just in case you took the first one too early.
Home tests are said to be quite accurate. However, if your period doesn’t come a few days after a second negative test result, check with your doctor.
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