Missed your periods and wonder if you are pregnant? Is the suspense killing you? If yes, then you may want to test yourself at home first with the help of home pregnancy test kits. Before you get confused further, here is everything you need to know about home pregnancy test kits right from what it means to how to use it and when to use it.
What Is A Home Pregnancy Test Kit?
As the name suggests, home pregnancy test kits let you know if you are pregnant or not with a simple test done at home. These kits are easily available at any chemist shop near you or online. You can buy these test kits without prescription (hence known as over the counter pregnancy test kits) and test yourself for pregnancy at the comfort of your place.
These home kits measure the presence of a hormone known as human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in the urine. Unlike the laboratory test for pregnancy confirmation, these tests are a qualitative test, which only measures the presence of the hormone and reveal the test results are positive or negative.
Types Of Home Pregnancy Test Kits
There is a wide range of pregnancy kits available in India, which can be broadly divided into 2 major types – test strips and test sticks. These tests are available in the market in a price range of Rs 50 to Rs 100. You don’t need to spend more than you have to on pregnancy strips since you are anyways going to throw it away after a single-use.
1. Pregnancy test strips
These test kits are the most commonly available and used home test kits to detect pregnancy. Some of the brands that sell pregnancy test strips are Prega News, Velocit quick pregnancy test and I can.
How To Use It: A packet of the pregnancy test strip contains a test cassette and a dropper. To test yourself, collect your urine in a disposable cup. With the help of a dropper, put a few drops of it in the well of the strip and wait for 3-5 mins before reading the result.
2. Pregnancy test sticks
These are not as commonly available as test strips but you can easily find them online. Some of the brands that sell pregnancy test sticks are Prega News Advance and Velocit Eazy.
How To Use It: A packet of pregnancy test stick contains a stick with one end to hold the test and the other on which you can urinate. To test yourself, remove the cap from the absorbent side of the stick. Hold the test firmly from the other end. Let the first few drops of your urine fall and then hold the device in the midstream. However, if you feel uncomfortable to do hold the stick and pee on it, you can collect the urine in a cup and dip the stick in it for a few minutes for the results to appear.
Note: Always buy 2 pregnancy strips at once because if you get a false negative result you can take the 2nd test around 2-3 days after your first test to verify.
How To Check Pregnancy Test Kit Results?
No matter which pregnancy test kit you buy always test yourself with the first urine after you wake up in the morning. The reason being it is the most concentrated one and the chances of getting a positive result are high when you take the test at this time. The test results are displayed in the middle of the stick/strip and here is what it means.
If a single pink line shows up, it means the result is negative and you are not pregnant.
If both the pink lines show up, the result is positive and it indicates you are pregnant. This holds true even when the 2nd line is faint.
In case there is no line, it means that your test is invalid and you need to take the test again. An invalid test can be due to various reasons like the wrong technique, the kit has expired, dropping too little urine or just because the test was faulty. Retake the test with another kit in such a case.
If you get a faint 2nd line on your test, it could mean you are pregnant. A faint line can be due to a low hormone level because you are early in your pregnancy. Wait for a few days and take the test again. If you still have a doubt, consult a doctor and get a blood test done to be on the safer side.
Home Pregnancy Test Kit: Tips To Keep In Mind
Taking a pregnancy test may look quite easy but there are some of the most common mistakes we all make while doing that. Here are some of the common mistakes we make while taking a pregnancy test at home and how to avoid it.
Taking the test too early: The home pregnancy tests can show positive results only when you take the test around 2 weeks after you conceive. Taking a test too early will give you negative results. So if you have regular periods, then the best time to take the test is one day after missing your period. However, if you have irregular periods, then the best time is to take the test is three weeks after your sexual intercourse.
Taking the test later in the day: Pregnancy tests should always be done first thing in the morning with the first urine of the day. This is because your first urine is the most concentrated. As you proceed with your day your urine becomes diluted increasing the chance of getting a false negative.
Waiting for less time for the results to appear: Wait for at least 5 minutes before reading the results. That’s how long it takes for the hormones in your urine to react with the test strip. Reading the test too early can give you a false negative result.
Taking the test after taking certain medications: Certain fertility treatments cause elevated hormone levels. Taking a test while you are on these medications can result in a false-positive test. Consult your doctor before taking the test to know if your treatment can affect the test.
Not following up after the home test: Always follow up on your pregnancy test. If you got a negative result, make sure you repeat the test after 3-4 days to know the status. If you get a positive test, follow up with your doctor for a blood test to confirm your pregnancy.
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)