Updated: Jun 20
You’ve been feeling a little off lately. You’re nauseous, tired and craving foods you never even cared for. Of course, you haven’t gotten your period yet. So you’re thinking, “am I pregnant?”
There’s only one way to know for sure and that’s through a pregnancy test. But before you make a run for the nearest drugstore, here’s what you should know first:
1. How do pregnancy tests work?
Taking a pregnancy test is easy. You pee on a stick and wait for a few minutes to see if two red lines appear indicating that you’re pregnant. But how does it get to that? Pregnancy tests contain antibodies that detect the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone in your urine.
2. Are pregnancy test kits accurate?
If used properly, pregnancy tests that you can buy from a drugstore are 99% accurate. They only become inaccurate when they’re expired, not stored properly or just used the wrong way. So before you buy, make sure to check the expiration date on the package and read the directions properly to avoid making mistakes in using the test.
3. What’s the difference between a digital and non-digital pregnancy test?
You’ll most likely see two types of pregnancy test kits in the drugstore, a digital and non-digital one. These two products are essentially the same in that they can detect hCG in the urine.
The only difference is that digital pregnancy tests are sensitive enough to pick up hCG before you even miss your period or as early as 10 days after ovulation. Non-digital test kits, on the other hand, can only detect hCG if it’s at around 40 mIU/ml or after you missed your period.
4. When is the best time to take a pregnancy test?
Although there are test kits sensitive enough to detect pregnancy before you miss your period, experts suggest that it’s best to wait until two weeks after you ovulate before you take the test. This depends on your menstrual cycle, of course, but if your period varies only by a few days, you can subtract 15 days from the usual number of days between your period and that would be your ovulation day.
If you have very irregular menstrual periods, however, it’s best to seek the assistance of a physician in determining your ovulation date.
5. Why are there false-positive results?
Although pregnancy tests are highly reliable in determining pregnancy, there are still women who get false-positive results, which is why pregnancy test results are considered non-conclusive until after the doctor confirms the pregnancy.
A false-positive result usually happens for two reasons: the test kits didn’t function properly due to some factors or there is a presence of hCG in your body because you’re taking fertility drugs that contain hCG and you took a test too soon or you have an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage.
So if your test comes out positive, it’s best to visit a doctor or midwife right away to fully confirm if you’re really pregnant. This will also help you prepare your body for the pregnancy by getting the right advice from experts.