You think you may be pregnant. Now what? Do you jump for joy, or freak out in fear? Or both? Probably the safest and simplest thing to do before you construct the crib and pick out baby names is to take a home pregnancy test. Home pregnancy tests are inexpensive compared to a doctor's visit, are highly accurate and allow you to determine your true pregnancy status in the privacy of your own home. While each test comes with its own instructions, which you should follow carefully, the basics are typically similar.
- Remove from packaging.
- Remove the cap.
- If applicable, insert a test strip into the holder. Some kits come with the strips already inserted, while others do not.
- Place the absorbent tip under your urine stream for the amount of time mentioned in the instructions (usually around seven seconds). Many tests also offer you the option of urinating into a cup and dipping the test strip into the cup.
- Lay the test stick on a flat surface and wait for the amount of time indicated in the instructions.
- Read the results promptly. Depending on the home pregnancy test you purchase, you will see a control window, which shows that your test is working, and a results window. The results window may show a line, a plus sign, or perhaps even the words "yes," "no," or "pregnant."
Most of the leading pregnancy tests are extremely accurate as early as the first day of your missed period. However, many tests claim to provide accurate results as early as seven days after you ovulate. While true, the degree of accuracy is greatly diminished; your body needs time to produce enough of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) for the test to work, and not everyone produces the hormone at the same rate. Taking the test as early as 6 to 10 days after ovulation can lower the accuracy rate from 99 percent to 90 percent on the average home pregnancy test.
If you receive a negative test result but feel the home pregnancy test is wrong -- if your period does not start, for example -- then wait a few days and take another test, or consult your doctor. Additionally, there are several medical conditions and medications that can fool your body into showing symptoms of pregnancy when you are not pregnant.
If you receive a positive test result, schedule a visit with your doctor. The sooner you begin receiving prenatal care, the better the odds are that you will give birth to a healthy baby.