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Advice on the Use of Over The Counter Pregnacny Tests

Jun 17, 2008
An over the counter pregnancy test is the first thing a woman should try if she believes she might be pregnant. Pregnancy tests are available in many different brands, with single or multiple tests per package. Most of them require the user to urinate on a stick or in a cup, but a few test with a drop of blood instead. Some have a digital readout, and others will show a plus sign or double line in the event that it detects enough pregnancy hormone to determine a pregnancy.

Some pregnancy tests are 'early' pregnancy tests. That means that they are designed to detect a small enough amount of the pregnancy hormone to determine if a woman is pregnant as early as the first day of a missed period, or even a day or two before the period is due. The fine print on the boxes will tell you that 65% of pregnant women had a positive result when tested two days before the period was due, and the percentage increased with each passing day. These are usually accurate, but the most accurate results are achieved after the period was expected. There has to be enough of the pregnancy hormone present for the result to be confirmed positive else a false result may be the outcome.

The highest level of pregnancy hormone is found in first-morning urine. That is the best time to use a pregnancy test strip. Most of the kind a woman urinates on need to be saturated with urine in order to work properly. The pregnacy test stick does have to be immersed in urine for at least 3 seconds to capture a good sample.

It takes about 5 minutes for the urine to travel down the strip and the results to be indicated. The stick must be read within 10 minutes, or it may indicate a positive result after 10 minutes, even if the result is actually negative. Positive results that show up within the first 10 minutes may be very faint. This would happen if it is early, and the pregnancy hormone is just barely detected. Even a faint result is a positive result. The woman can confirm the positive by taking another test a day or two later to see a darker line appear.

Historically the use of an over the counter pregancy test is quite accurate. But, remember, they must be used at the right time of the month. Too early, and a false negative result will occur, due to the need for the pregnancy hormone to be present in a high enough quantity for the stick to measure. If the menstrual period is two weeks late, and the pregnancy test is still negative, an appointment with the doctor might be indicated.

Verification of a pregancy should always be carried out via your doctor. It is usually after the first trimester that the baby's heartbeat can be heard.
About the Author
Vanessa Herremans writes for The Crystal Scene , this article is posted on Everything Books
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