A few weeks ago I had a little surprise. I didn’t think I could possibly be pregnant, but as I waited for the lines on my at home test to show, I have to admit that my stomach filled with butterflies at the thought of having been given another blessing. I was too nervous to look at the results so had turned away until about a minute had passed. When I couldn’t wait any longer I took a deep breath and looked down. A little pink positive stared proudly back at me. Our life was about to change and this home pregnancy test had made a question into a reality.
Of course after I had a positive result I couldn’t totally trust it. I mean it was an old test I had had for over year. What if it had expired? What if it was just wrong? I ran to the store to pick up a few more and each one gave me the same news, we were having another baby. To anyone who is newly pregnant you probably had the same questioning reaction, was the test right? After taking a few of them it probably sunk in. But if you are still wondering how exactly two little pink lines can know what you didn’t here are the quick facts on at home pregnancy tests.
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin What?
Well if you had a positive result on your test it is because the Human Chorionic Gonadotropin hormone or hCG was found in your urine. This is a hormone that is only present in pregnancy. The pregnancy test doesn’t have any special psychic powers it does however have the ability to read hCG. Your hCG levels rise throughout pregnancy once you have missed your monthly cycle there is enough HCG to be properly read by an at home test. Some pregnancy tests can detect hCG about a week before your first missed period, but most practitioners only encourage taking test once you are late, otherwise you may get a negative result when you are in fact pregnant.
Can I Trust the Results?
As long as you correctly took the test you can rest assured that if you get a positive then you are pregnant. You can have a doctor confirm this through a blood test.
Some Prescription drugs can give a false positive, if your medicine has hCG, such as birth control or some fertility drugs, then you may have inaccurate results. To be sure schedule an appointment with your OB or Midwife to confirm the pregnancy.
Negatives can occur either when the test is taken too early, or in some cases too late. The Hook Effect may give a false negative to women who are further along in pregnancy because their levels of hCG and the Beta hCG rise to a degree that they cancel each other out. This makes the hCG not register on the test thus resulting in a negative. Some women have tested later in their pregnancies and have noticed that the lines on a test will appear lighter than when they first took a pregnancy test even though their hCG has risen. This can be explained by the Hook Effect.
Ovulation Tests at Home Pregnancy Tests
Some people have learned accurate pregnancy information by using an ovulation test or OPK as a pregnancy test. These tests detect a rise in LH (luteinizing hormone). An OPK can detect pregnancy, but a HPT cannot detect LH. Because of this discrepancy it is best to use a test designed for pregnancy results. If you do choose to use an OPK it is only positive when both lines (control line and results line) are equally dark.
If you have recently taken a test or are considering taking one read the directions. It seems pretty simple but if you take the test incorrectly you could end up with differing results. Once you have a positive result schedule an appointment with your health care provider so that you can confirm the pregnancy and start prenatal care. And if you aren’t already begin taking prenatal vitamins even before becoming pregnant to help ready your body for the tough task ahead.
(Photos courtsesy of peestickcrazy.piczo.com 2011)