When should you take a self-pregnancy test? Here are the details

The urine test can be conducted at home with a home pregnancy test. This type of test is available over the counter and in a variety of price ranges.

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Pregnant woman holding a pregnancy test. (Image Credits: Pixabay)

Panicking over missed periods? Anxious after unprotected sex? Many people often undergo massive stress over when to take a pregnancy test. Sometimes, people are concerned when they want to get pregnant, and sometimes when they don’t.

According to doctors, taking an early test will help in understanding whether you are pregnant or not right away.

What is a pregnancy test?

A pregnancy test is conducted to determine if you are pregnant or not. If the pregnancy test is positive, it means you are not pregnant and if the test is negative, it means you are not pregnant. A pregnancy checks the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), a hormone your body makes when you’re pregnant.

If you’re pregnant, your body starts to produce more HCG. According to experts, your HCG levels increase once the fertilised egg implants in your uterus — about six to 10 days after conception.

There are two main types of pregnancy tests — urine tests and blood tests. The urine test can be conducted at home with a home pregnancy test. This type of test is available over the counter and in a variety of price ranges.

Blood tests to check for pregnancy involve giving a sample of your blood. The other way to confirm a pregnancy is by using an ultrasound.

When to take a pregnancy test?

Dr. Kinjal Shah, DNB (Obstetrics & Gynecology), Consultant Bhatia Hospital Mumbai told Financial that a self-pregnancy test is to be done after you miss your periods. Many times, women have shorter or longer menstrual cycles, and these are the cases where false negative results are seen, Dr. Shah said.

“If a woman is undergoing any treatment for infertility, then we advise a self-urine pregnancy test after she misses her periods but more accurate is the beta HCG levels. A urine pregnancy test needs to be evaluated in the first one minute of doing the test…many times there are false positive results seen if evaluated later,” Dr. Shah told Financial

In many cases, you might get a positive result from an at-home test as early as 10 days after conception.

According to doctors, for a more accurate result, wait until after you’ve missed your period to take a test. Remember, if you take a test too soon, it could be negative even if you’re pregnant. If you get a negative test and then miss your period, take another test.

Dr. Indrani Rahul Salunkhe, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Wockhardt Hospitals, Mumbai Central told Financial that if you have messed up taking your birth control pills and if you have a medical procedure or have to start a new medication which could be complicated by pregnancy, you should take a pregnancy test.

Dr. Salunkhe also emphasised that a home pregnancy kit is 99 percent accurate in detecting pregnancy.

“It is advised to do the test at least 21 days after your last incident of unprotected intercourse if you are unsure of when your next period will start. Pregnancy tests are about 99% accurate when used correctly and taken on or after the day of your expected period. It’s possible to get false negative results (when you’re actually pregnant but the test says you aren’t). The most common cause of a false negative result is taking the test too early, but it can also happen if you don’t follow instructions. A home pregnancy test can detect elevated levels of hCG 12 to 14 days after conception,” Dr. Varini N – Senior Consultant – Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Milann Fertility & Birthing Hospital, Kumarapark, Bangalore told Financial

How to take a self-pregnancy test?

Here are the steps to take a self-pregnancy test:

  • Pass urine in a clean cup.Place one to 3 drops of your urine on the strip.
  • Wait for 10 minutes to read the result

Advantages of the home test

  • They are inexpensive
  • Easy to use.
  • Results are provided quickly.
  • Make sure the test kit is not expired and use it at the correct time.
  • If you get a negative result but still suspect that you might be pregnant, wait a few days and take another test.
  • If you get a positive result, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible to confirm the pregnancy and start prenatal care.
  • Staying calm and seeking medical advice if you have any concerns about your pregnancy is important.
  • Do not drink too much water before taking the test.

False results of pregnancy test: False negative results may occur if you are testing too early.

Myths around self-pregnancy test

According to Dr. Shah, a myth that is associated with the urine pregnancy test, is that it has to be done with the first-morning urine sample, which is not correct.

“It can be done anytime during the day. In case of any doubt regarding the evaluation of the self-urine pregnancy test, needs to be confirmed by a Beta HCG test and consulted by a Gynecologist,” Dr. Shah told Financial

Dr Padmapriya Jadcherla, Consultant Obstetrics & Gynecology, Citizens Specialty Hospital told Financial that prevention of pregnancy is through proper contraception; primary prevention is better than termination of pregnancy.

Methods include:

  • Temporary contraception
  • Permanent sterilization
  • Temporary contraception:
  • Barrier contraception – condoms
  • Oral contraceptive pills
  • Intra uterine devices
  • Injectables
  • Implants
  • Emergency contraception
  • Permanent sterilization is by tubal ligation by either mini laparotomy or laparoscopy
  • Patients should discuss with the gynecologist regarding the pros and cons of each method and make a decision.

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First published on: 30-03-2023 at 15:55 IST