If you’ve seen any number of TV Shows or movies that feature a pregnant character, you know this scenario all too well: A nervous woman paces and picks up a pregnancy test off the counter, reads the results and almost instantly experiences a life change.
While being pregnant certainly is life changing, determining pregnancy in real life is way different than in the movies. At-home pregnancy tests that you can buy drug store are a good first indicator. However, it’s important to be realistic about the process. At-home tests are now incredibly accurate, but can still provide incorrect results. If you believe you might be pregnant, the most reliable way to find out the truth is through a lab grade pregnancy test and ultrasound.
How the Home Test Works
Every home pregnancy test is designed to detect a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) that your body releases as soon as a fertilized egg implants in the uterus. At-home pregnancy tests pick up on the amount of hCG in your urine. If your urine contains hCG in a certain concentration, you’ll get a positive result.
Each test is different – some have different color lines, some a plus symbol or a happy face, and other tests will even say the words “pregnant” or “not pregnant”.
Why Results Can Vary
Regardless of the test you take, you can get a false positive (or false negative result) if:
- The test absorbed too much or too little urine
- You’ve had too much water – if you drink lots of water in preparation for the test, you may dilute your urine to the point where the hormone is difficult to detect. For best results, take the test as soon as you wake up in the morning.
- You took the test too early – If the egg has only recently implanted, you may still be pregnant although the hCG hasn’t had time to accumulate in your system
- The test is read incorrectly – Sometimes evaporation lines can show up on the test, the lines may be faint or otherwise be confusing.
If you have a positive result, visit a clinic or physician that can confirm your pregnancy. If you are pregnant, it’s important to establish that you are healthy and not experiencing early complications.
Options Medical Clinic provides free pregnancy tests. No matter your result, we can provide resources that will help your situation. We are proud to provide women who come to Options Medical Clinic guidance without judgement.