How to take a pregnancy test

Sep 15, 2011 at 6:05 p.m. ET

It might be common knowledge that if you want to find out if you’re pregnant, you can’t rip open a home pregnancy test and pee on a stick immediately after doing the deed.

how to take a pregnancy test

But when can you take the test? With so much information out there, it can be confusing to get the answers to the most commonly asked pregnancy test questions, like: How soon is too soon to take a home pregnancy test? Can you trust the results? Is there such a thing as a false-positive? If you're on the hunt for these answers, here's a quick course in pregnancy test 101.


    So when can you take a home pregnancy test to determine if you're pregnant? Most experts agree that you'll get the most accurate results if you take the test at least the day after you've missed your period. But for an even more accurate result, wait one week. This is because the levels of the hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) that is produced after the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall will be high enough to be detected. If you can't wait until after you've missed your period, you can try as early as fourteen days after you believe you've conceived. But even if you see one of those little blue lines to indicate you're pregnant, you'll still need to go to your OB-GYN'S office and take a blood or urine test to confirm this.


      Most home pregnancy tests claim to be between 97%-99% accurate if taken one week after a missed period. It is also recommended to take the test again in a few days to make sure the result is accurate. This is in case you took the test incorrectly.


        Wait until at least the day after you've missed your period and take the test first thing in the morning when your urine is the most concentrated. Also be sure to follow the directions very closely and to never use a test that's past its expiration date. Also be aware that certain medications, such as antihistamines can affect your results.


          It's very rare, but you can get a false-positive if you've recently been pregnant, you're taking a fertility drug that contains HCG, you're taking drugs such as tranquilizers or you have protein or blood in your urine.


          You can get a negative result if you take your pregnancy test too early because there hasn't been enough time for the HCG to show up in your urine. This can also happen if you drink too many fluids before the test and your urine is too diluted.

            The bottom line is that home pregnancy tests are a great way to get information about your pregnancy. Just remember that even if you get a positive result, you need to go to your OB-GYN to confirm your pregnancy and to start your pre-natal care.


            More on pregnancy:

            5 Early signs of pregnancy

            5 Things to know when you're trying to get pregnant

            Is your relationship ready for another baby?