Before You Pee On That Stick, Here Are Some Important Facts About Pregnancy Tests

Had unprotected sex or the condom broke? You might want to get a pregnancy test ASAP to rule out pregnancy. Before you do, you need to read these 13 facts about pregnancy tests.

  1. You have to take a pregnancy test in the morning. The best time to take a pregnancy test is when you urinate first thing in the morning. This is because pregnancy tests measure levels of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), a hormone that’s found in urine when you’re pregnant, and it’s most concentrated in urine first thing in the morning.
  2. The best time of the month to take a pregnancy test is after ovulation. Yes, it’s really tough to wait to take a test when you really want to know if you’re pregnant, but the wait will give you the best results. Sit tight until two weeks after your usual ovulation. So, if your period is pretty regular, take the average amount of days that you have between periods and subtract 15 from this number. This’ll give you the day in your cycle on which you ovulate.
  3. How effective are they? It might surprise you to know that pregnancy tests are between 97-99% effective. Yup, it’s that high!
  4. They have a “best before” date. If you’re whipping out an old pregnancy test from your bedside table that you bought years ago, check its expiry date before you use it. Otherwise, it might not be able to properly detect hCG, giving you a false reading.
  5. You don’t have to buy an expensive one. When looking at pregnancy tests at the pharmacy, you might lean towards buying the more expensive one, thinking it’ll be more effective. But if you’re buying a non-digital pregnancy test, it doesn’t matter how much it costs because they all work in the same way, so it’s fine to choose the cheaper one. A digital pregnancy kit, on the other hand, is a bit more expensive but it can be more effective than a non-digital test.
  6. There’s a huge benefit to using digital pregnancy tests. They have greater technology to pick up a pregnancy before you’ve missed your period. Non-digital pregnancy kits can only detect hCG if it’s at a high enough level, which is around 40 mIU/mL. Digital tests can pick up levels that are really low, around the 15 mIU/mL mark.
  7. Choose the type of pregnancy test method that’s easiest for you. Although pregnancy tests work in the same way, they have different methods for testing. For instance, some require that you hold the stick under your urine, while others say you need to pop the stick into a cup of urine. Always read the instructions so you know which method to use. IMHO, the one that you use while you pee is just so much easier, especially if you’re in a hurry.
  8. Choose pink or blue. The lines on a non-digital pregnancy test are usually pink or blue, and when they both show up they’re indicating that you’re pregnant. It’s better to choose tests with the blue lines as these show up easier than the pink ones which might make it difficult to tell if the test is giving you a negative or positive result, and you don’t need more stress in your life. If you’ve taken a test and the lines are showing up but not clearly enough, take another test in two or three days.
  9. Digital pregnancy tests are easier to read. Basically, these tests will use the words “pregnant” or “not pregnant” as a test result, or they’ll make use of a “+” sign for a pregnancy, and a “-” sign for a negative result. It can’t be simpler, and you don’t have to wait for lines to show up.
  10. False results are rare AF. You might think that a positive result is probably false, but don’t be so sure. Falsies are rare, and when they happen there’s a good reason for them. Common ones are that you’ve experienced a surge of hormones or you’re undergoing fertility treatments. Some fertility treatments contain hCG, which can lead to a false positive in a pregnancy test.
  11. You might get a negative result but still be pregnant. The key is to check for when your period’s due. If it doesn’t come, then wait a few days and take another pregnancy test. A reason for the negative result could be that your body wasn’t producing enough hCG to detect a pregnancy.
  12. There are two types of blood tests for pregnancy. Once you’ve self-tested for a pregnancy, your doctor will likely order a blood test. It’s the most reliable way to check for, or confirm, a pregnancy, and there are two types of blood tests. A qualitative hCG test checks for hCG, and this can be administered by your doctor approximately 10 days after you missed your period. A quantitative beta hCG test can determine if you’re pregnant based on lower levels of hCG hormone, and this test has the bonus of detecting any problems during pregnancy.
  13. You can’t find out your baby’s gender with a pregnancy test. It’s a total myth that urine pregnancy tests can reveal the gender of your baby. There are no sex hormones in urine, and hCG hormones increase for baby boys and girls in the same way. Don’t believe the BS. You’ll need an ultrasound when you’re four or five months pregnant to reveal your baby’s gender.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.