A Guide to using Home Pregnancy Test Kits

If you’ve missed your periods and are eager to find out if you’re pregnant or not, the best way to confirm it is through the home pregnancy kit which will help you find an answer.

How does the home pregnancy kit work?

The test kit uses the levels of pregnancy hormone – human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) – in your body as an indicator to determine pregnancy.

This hCG hormone is manufactured only after the fertilized egg implants itself inside of the uterus wall. This hormone is also responsible for stimulating the production of estrogen and progesterone.
As pregnancy progresses, the levels of hCG surge rapidly in the first few months.

This hormone is found in the urine and the blood and hence urine and blood tests are conducted to detect pregnancy.

  • Urine tests can be done at home using a home pregnancy test kit. However, the accuracy of the results depends on the following the instructions to a ‘T’ on the package.
  • Bloods tests can only be done by your practitioner. It is done to re-confirm the results (if you’ve already carried out a test at home). Blood tests are of two types:

–  Qualitative hCG test  – this will only check the presence of the hCG hormone. and just gives yes or no as an answer
–  Quantitative hCG test – this finds out the exact amount of hCG in the blood. This test is used to rule out an ectopic pregnancy

A few cues before carrying out the Home Pregnancy Test

The best time to test: Timing your test is important. Even if you’re experiencing pregnancy symptoms, doing an early test may not fetch you the proper results, because the test kit will not be able to detect the hCG in your body.

Most tests can tell you if you’re pregnant or not, just a day after you’ve missed your period. This is approximately about two weeks after ovulation.
A few brands of tests, which are more sensitive, will be able to detect the low levels of hCG a few days before your period is due.

By reading the package you will be able to find out the sensitivity level of the test. The concentration of hCG ranges from10mIU/ml (milli-International Unit per milliliter) to 40 mlU/ml. The lower the concentration, the more sensitive the test.

Though you can test anytime of the day, testing with the first urine in the morning is considered to give you the best results. The reason being, the concentration of hCG in your urine is highest in the morning. It is best to avoid drinking any fluids before taking the test as it could dilute the hCG levels in the urine,

If you get a negative result:
Some reasons why the results have turned out negative

  • Your hCG levels were too low for the pregnancy test
  • You probably are not pregnant and having delayed periods
  • You may have consumed water and diluted the levels of hCG in your urine
  • You haven’t waited long enough. It usually takes about 3-5 minutes before you can see the results. So don’t expect results in a hurry.

How to use the pregnancy kits

You have probably purchased the kit with the intention of carrying the test right away. In case you’re planning to store it and use it later, make sure not to delay it by too long. Storing a kit for a long time, in a warm or damp place can affect the results.

Before doing the test:
a) Read the instructions thoroughly: Most kits available in the market are similar, but may vary slightly in their specifications of urine collection and time span needed to show results
b) Wash your hands thoroughly – with soap and dry them properly

During the test:
i) If cup method: Collect urine in the cup and using the dropper, put drops of the urine into the small well provided on the stick.
Some brands may require you to dip the absorbent end of the stick into the urine for a specific period of time
ii) If strip: Hold the one end of the strip or dipstick in a stream of urine. Once the hCG is detected, one end of the strip will change colour, confirming positive pregnancy

Reading the results

If you have timed your test properly and followed instructions on the kit, you are most likely to get accurate results.

a) Single band denotes – Negative
b) Two bands – Positive
c) No band or one faint band – inconclusive

False positive:
This is when you get a positive reading but you are actually are not pregnant. This happens when:

  • If you’re on fertility treatment drugs that contain hCG
    It’s a chemical pregnancy: This is a kind of miscarriage which happens when a fertilized embryo implants itself briefly in the uterus, before regular menstruation occurs. In this case, a positive result is followed by a negative results

Faint Positive:
Even a faint positive line is an indication that are pregnant. The reason for a faint line could be:

  • The hCG levels in your urine may be low and you have tested too soon
  • Your urine may be diluted

False Negative:
False negative results are fairly common. It happens when you are pregnant and the test shows negative. If this happens, you will have to redo the test after a few days.

Things to keep in mind when buying home pregnancy test kits

A variety of pregnancy tests kits are available in the market today. While buying your kit, keep these in mind.

· Choose a well known brand
· Make sure the packaging is intact
· Check the expiry date
· There are kits available that come with two sticks in the box. If you’re planning on doing an early test, this will help you to do the test twice, in case of a negative result the first time.

How accurate are home pregnancy tests?

Most home pregnancy tests claim to be fool-proof. However, the accuracy of the results depends on the concentration of the hCG in the urine. Sensitive kits can detect hCG levels at 20 to 25 MIU/ml. The level doubles in 48-72 hours – during which time, results will be more accurate.

Pregnancy Test Kits Available in India

Name of Pregnancy Kit Company Refrigeration prior use Type of kit Ideal time to conduct test Reaction time Cost
PREGA NEWS
PREGA NEWS
Mankind Pharmaceuticals yes Card with dropper First day of missed period 2-3 minutes Rs.75
A pack of 3@Rs.300/-
VELOCITVELOCIT Dr.Reddy’s yes Card with dropper First day of missed period 2-3 minutes Rs.70
ACUTEST ACUTEST Cadila Protein First day of missed period 2-3 minutes Rs.40
I-Canican Piramal Enterprises Card with dropper First day of missed period 2-5 minutes Rs.140

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