Finding out that you’re expecting is one of the most exciting moments anyone could hope for; but for many women, there’s a certain amount of anxiety over the result of a home pregnancy test. Is it definitive? Should I trust it? What are the changes of a false positive? Do I have to take a blood test before I can be sure?
Home pregnancy tests are incredibly common and surprisingly accurate. As long as you’re using a trusted brand, and you follow the instructions exactly, there is a very high chance that your test result is accurate. So how do home pregnancy tests actually work from a scientific point of view?
The explanation is very simple (and we’ll review it here just in case). When a fertilized egg is attached to the wall of a woman’s uterus, her body produces a specific hormone called gonadotropin, or hCG. This hormone is detectable in urine and blood, and this is what home pregnancy tests look for. When you see the plus sign, it means your home pregnancy kit has detected the presence of hCG in the urine stream.
While many home pregnancy tests claim to be 99% accurate, it’s worth noting that in the early stages of pregnancy, the amount of hCG produced by the body increases exponentially. This means that in the very early stages (for example, the day after a woman has missed her period), the body may not produce enough hCG to be detected in a home pregnancy test. There are many cases of home pregnancy tests returning a negative result in the first days after a missed period, when the patient actually is pregnant. Reputable sources like the Mayo Clinic recommend waiting up to one week after a missed period, in order to take a home pregnancy test with accurate results.
If you test positive on a home pregnancy test, congratulations – but the result still needs to be confirmed in a clinical setting. The chance of a false positive is statistically low, but it can happen. That’s why your next step is to have the result confirmed by a blood test with your doctor. This is an important step in beginning the journey of your pregnancy, with all of the planning and health monitoring that comes along with it. For many women, the moment of having your pregnancy confirmed by a doctor is important, because it means that your result is definitive.
Preparing for your pregnancy test at urgent care
The nice thing about urgent care is that there’s nothing you need to do in order to prepare. No appointment is necessary, and the wait times are generally very short. Urgent care is great option for fast and reliable confirmation of your home pregnancy test – of if you believe you’re pregnant and want to skip past the home testing stage, urgent care provides a convenient way to get a definitive result quickly.