Am I Pregnant?

Whether it's a broken condom or a planned event, the pregnancy question is raised by all of us at some point in our lifetime. How do you know if it's the right time to start to worry? Check out our guide.

Positive and Negative Pregnancy Tests

Consider before taking the test

Walking through the pregnancy aisle at the local drug store can be a daunting, nerve-wracking task. A woman wants to choose the right test to ease her anxieties about her future, but there are so many questions to ask—what kind of test, which product, when to take it? Before making your purchase, there are several elements to consider. Dr. Craig Richard, assistant professor in biopharmaceutical studies at Shenandoah University gives some insight into the human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG (the pregnancy hormone) that may answer some of these questions.

How long after sex will hCG show?

The rate at which fertilization and implantation of an egg occurs can be crucial to the accuracy of the results of a home urine test. Assuming that the fertilization happened immediately after sex followed by implantation five or six days after—a home test can detect hCG as soon as nine days after sex, according to Richard.

However, fertilization and implantation can take much longer, and a home test can take up to 20 days after sex to detect hCG. Richards says, "The variability of hCG detection in home tests can result in false negatives if home users are not aware that a pregnancy can take this long to be detected by a home test. A home pregnancy test can detect about 90 percent of pregnancies at about the time of the first missed period."

How accurate are early detection tests?


If you don't know what to look for in a pregnancy test, research will show that some products have better track records than others with accuracy and consistency. With all of these chances of your body delaying the detection of hCG, you might wonder about early detection home tests.

Richards says that First Response Early Result has proved the most accurate and consistent in controlled studies. However, many inaccurate results come from misuse of the home-tests. He emphasizes that no matter which product you choose, it is imperative that you do not use it too soon, follow the directions, and follow with a blood test for your clinician.

Digital vs. line test


The latest development in technology among home pregnancy tests is the new digital indicators as an alternative to the traditional line test. The question at hand becomes if these tests are more or less accurate than their predecessors. According to Richards, "There may be some potential advantages but currently they are not the most reliable, the easiest, or the most inexpensive to use."

Melissa Martin, group product manager at First Response says that they chose to make the development based on consumer desire. User-friend words like, "Yes" and "No" are easy for the consumer to interpret. Also, they developed a test indicator that reveals if the test is properly functioning in order to obtain the most accurate results; however, these new developments do not make these tests more accurate than their line tests.

More SheKnows pregnancy articles:

SheKnows Pregnancy and Baby

Comments

Comments on "Four tips to consider before taking a home pregnancy test"

ailleen July 15, 2013 | 1:23 AM

I took a pregnancy test and what it shows is the second stick which is the - and +.does that mean im pregnant??

Jessica February 21, 2011 | 10:04 AM

The positive sign is the pregnant one (cross and line in test window) and the one with just two lines (no cross) is negative. I have the exact same tests sitting in front of me. #4 is due at the end of October 2011. Yay lol. I have a 4 year old, 2 year old and 9 month old.

kristen February 07, 2011 | 4:26 PM

Whitch is positive or are they both positive?

kristen February 07, 2011 | 4:26 PM

Whitch is positive or are they both positive?

Karen599 February 01, 2011 | 7:21 AM

I think clear blue easy is the best. If you see any lines it means it's positive

Mariette February 01, 2011 | 7:18 AM

My lines showed up the second my pee hit the stick!

Leonna45 February 01, 2011 | 7:17 AM

I think if you can see ANY lines it means you're pregnant.

Jemiah January 31, 2011 | 10:47 PM

what happen to my response i havent gotten one yet to my question

Jemiah January 31, 2011 | 10:42 PM

I WOULD LIKE TO REALLY KNOW WHICH PREGNANCY TEST IN THE PICTURE AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE IS POSTIVE AND WHICH TEST IS NEGATIVE CAUSE I TOKE A PREGNANCY TEST LAST WEEK AND IT SHOWED UP TWO LINES AND ALL OF A SUDDDEN I START A PERIOD AT THIS MONTH SO WHAT SHOULD I DO. SHOULD I TAKE ANOTHER PREGNANCY TEST JUST TO MAKE SURE OR SHOULD I JUST WAIT

Jemiah January 21, 2011 | 1:48 PM

so you telling me if its showing two lines on the pregnancy test its means im not pregnant or it means i am. I'm very confused

Jemiah Finney January 21, 2011 | 1:42 PM

what if i just two lines on the pregnancy test what that means

m2resolved June 06, 2010 | 10:55 PM

To those who are missing periods--> This can be due to a number of things. Stress will do it. Working out too much will do it. Plain old Mother Nature will do it every now and then just to keep you on your toes (thanks, mama...). If it happens more than once or twice in a row, definitely get it checked out by your doc. Could be a bigger problem or you may simply be one of those girls who needs a little help having a regular, natural period (see: birth control). It happens! No worries:) To those of you who are getting a "+" that is very faint...a + is a +, no matter how faint. What causes the result is a chemical called HCG. If it is very early on in your pregnancy, you will not have a lot of this chemical in your body yet, causing a lighter, but still definitely positive, result. Still, I'd recommend going for round two a few days later if this is your result!

SUSANA March 31, 2010 | 8:56 PM

ok i took a pregnancy test and it cam out like this (-) then next to it a small line like this I no + sign so what does that mean i havent gotten my period in like 2 months now!? HELP

Andi March 06, 2010 | 3:21 PM

The second window (the one furthest from the Pee Stick) is the control box. That one should get a line in it, even if you wet the pee stick with water. That box is to let you know that your pee got to the end of the stick and that it passed through the test part. If it dosnt, you need to retake the test. The test window (the part with the + or - is the part we are interested in. When your pee goes through it, the - should ALWAYS show up, even if its very faint; its negetive. The | line is what detects hCG. that is the line you need to be looking for. It will chemically react with the pregnancy hormone in your pee so NO MATTER HOW FAINT the | is, YOU NEED TO SEE A DR. This is the line that turns the negetive (-) line into a positive sign (+).

julio February 03, 2010 | 1:28 PM

my girl took a test it looks like the one in the bottom but one of the lines is slightly weak not to dark what does it meen

layna July 12, 2009 | 11:42 AM

which one is pos.???

Hil June 21, 2009 | 1:32 PM

ok so the one with the + sign is positive and the one with the - sign is negative!!!

kirby June 20, 2009 | 7:00 AM

ok i took this test but it dosent look like the pics u have up thrs nothin in the 1st box n in the big one thrs a line - not a + just a - line so i need help wat dose that mean did i ot do it right ?

janness June 16, 2009 | 7:56 PM

Which is the positive result? I assume one with the plus sign, is that right?

Faith June 06, 2009 | 9:49 PM

Which one is positive and which one is negative.

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