You have tried everything to prevent pregnancy, but you suspect the worst. Alternatively, you have been working hard to get a child, but you seem to be taking too long to attain pregnancy.
What do you do to know if indeed you are pregnant?
Since fertilization takes only one sperm meeting an egg, you ought to find out if your suspicions are right.
If you never wanted to get pregnant, you might be jolted into reality when the monthly periods delay or you start having symptoms you suspect to be pregnancy-related. Perhaps you even forgot to use contraception, or you think the method you have adopted isn’t working.
For mothers who have been praying for a child, anxiety could drive you to take the test too early. You are not sure if you should wait until you see a delay in your periods.
Whether you are hoping got negative pregnancy results, it is important to note that the best time to take a pregnancy test is at least eight days after ovulation.
The reason for that is to ensure you do it after implantation has taken place.
On average, implantation happens between 8 to 10 days after ovulation. However, this can delay for up to 12 days. It is only after implantation that the human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) hormone becomes present in a pregnant woman’s urine.
How Soon Should You Take A Pregnancy Test?
Say you have just missed your periods.
The best time to take a test is a week later. If you do it earlier, you may end up getting inaccurate results. Some women may not be patient enough to way until they miss their periods.
If you are one of them, give yourself at least 14 days from the time you had sex. It is after a fortnight that your body will start to develop HCG in amounts that are detectable by the testing kits.
It wouldn’t be after 12 days since implantation that there would be significant traces of HCG in your blood. Take the test too early, and you will get confusing results.
Take a pregnancy test when you begin to have any of the following signs:
1. You Have Missed Your Periods
Did you know that the time to take a test is after you notice a delay in your periods?
When you wait for long enough, you will be able to avoid false positive or negative pregnancy tests.
Since you will be sure that the fertilized egg has now been implanted, you will avoid early miscarriage, especially if you have been looking forward to pregnancy.
You should take one if it has been more than 28 days and you are yet to get your periods.
But avoid expecting 100 percent success given the fact that delayed periods could be due to other reasons such as exercise, diet, stress or disease.
Women with irregular periods or those who do not keep a chart should avoid taking a pregnancy test until the longest cycle has passed.
Say your periods come after 29 to 35 days. The best time to take a test for you is on the 36th day or more. It is also possible that you cannot tell when your periods are late.
Estimated by the FDA that 10 to 20 women out of 100 may not get positive results after a test even when they think their periods have delayed. It doesn’t matter if they are really pregnant or not.
2. You Have Cramps in Your Abdomen
In the early stages of your pregnancy, you will feel the same way you do when you have menstrual cramps. You wait for your periods, but
The chances are that you are pregnant. But you can only know the truth after doing a pregnancy test.
3. Hurting Breasts
Pregnancy causes the production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. As the levels of these hormones increase in your body, you will begin to experience changes geared towards promoting the baby’s growth.
With time, your breasts start to feel tender and look bigger due to the increased flow of blood. It is also possible that the veins may look darker even as your nipples feel more painful.
The symptoms affecting the breasts may turn out to be confusing given that women tend to feel the same when in the build-up to the periods.
4. You Feel Different
Apart from painful breasts and cramps, pregnant women may also complain of frequent urination, exhaustion, food aversion, and nausea.
These symptoms usually come due to the high levels of HCG in the body. As you go through the first trimester, the HCG levels start dipping and the uncomfortable symptoms lessening.
5. You Used Contraception, but It Failed
There are different types of contraception methods including condoms, birth control pills, and intra-uterine devices (UIDs) may all fail.
After all, none of them has been certified to be 100 percent foolproof. Pregnancy can happen even to the most careful user of the birth control methods.
If you used a contraceptive and you have any of the signs listed above, you should take one as soon as you possibly can.
Your birth control method could be defective, or you could become a victim of your human error. If you are using birth control pills, it may not be possible to remember to take them every day.
Besides, you have to adhere to stringent guidelines for the medicines to help you to avoid getting pregnant.
If you don’t, you may end up among the 9 percent of women who get pregnant for failing to take the pills as directed.
Condoms too can break, tear or get worn incorrectly.
With over 18 percent of women who depend on condoms as contraceptives getting pregnant annually, it is clear that things can go wrong.
Perhaps you may want to try the IUD, which is considered the safest contraception with an error of only 1 percent.
How a Pregnancy Test Works
It is important to know how the test works to understand when to try it.
The standard over-the-counter (OTC) test works by detecting HCG in urine. This hormone is released soon after the fertilized egg gets implanted in the uterine wall.
Before you carry out a pregnancy test, you should first collect the urine.
- Collect urine in a cup and then dip into it the testing stick.
- Collect urine in a cup and scoop a small amount using an eyedropper. Pour the sample urine unto a special container before dipping into it the testing kit.
- To have the testing kit catch the urine midstream, place it in a position through which the urine will flow.
It is possible that your urine contains HCG even with negative pregnancy results. After all, the pregnancy test only tests the levels of the hormone in the urine.
While high levels of HCG indicate positive pregnancy results, low levels show that you are not pregnant.
The accuracylevels are up to 99 percent where a woman has missed monthly periods. The OTC test works very well, given that you can do it right inside your home.
Once you have opened the test, go through the instructions, and wait for the prescribed length of time. Expect the results to be displayed in any of the following ways:
- A line
- Change in color
- A symbol (plus or minus)
- Words such as ‘pregnant’ or ‘not pregnant.’
Ways to Avoid a False Positive Pregnancy Test
- Avoid testing earlier than 12 to 14 days following ovulation.
- After several days, repeat the test. If the first test turned out negative, it could be that the levels of HCG haven’t risen high enough to be detected by the test. Where you had a positive test the first time, do a second test to rule out an extremely early pregnancy loss or Chemical pregnancy.
What Are The Causes Of A False Positive Pregnancy Test?
- Testing during an LH-peak. During an LH-peak, the pituitary glands may release HCG. A test done at this time is likely to turn out as a false positive.
- Chemical pregnancy. Early pregnancy is highly likely to be miscarried way before the next monthly period. A test that’s done too early may detect an unviable pregnancy. In technical terms, you were pregnant but actually lost the baby.
- Perimenopausal effects. Women at the perimenopausal stage usually have high levels of HCG circulating in their body, regardless of whether they are pregnant. This could be the cause of a false positive.
- Infertility treatment. You are likely to have a false positive pregnancy test if you test at most 10 days after your last HCG treatment injection. That is why you are advised to wait until you have missed your periods to carry out the test.
What Are The Possible Causes Of A False Negative Pregnancy Test?
- Testing earlier than you should. When the pregnancy is still in its early stages, some women tend to produce very low amounts of HCG. The pregnancy test cannot pick it up. That’s why you should only adhere to the best time to take.
- Using an insensitive test. Early tests should only be done using highly sensitive test kits. Any other test would give false negative results.
- Diluted urine. Drinking too much liquid just before you do the test could end up giving you false negative results. This is due to the dilution of the urine to the extent that there is too little HCG to be detected.
- Waiting too long before you test the urine. If you leave the urine to sit around for at least 30 minutes before doing the test, you will end up getting false negative results.
What Is The Best Time Of The Day To Take A Pregnancy Test?
Generally, the time of the day to take shouldn’t be such a big issue. Since the likelihood of getting accurate results is high in the morning, this is the best time to take a test.
This holds true for women who are yet to get late periods or have been delayed for two or so days.
The reason for the accurate test in the morning is that your urine is likely to be more concentrated.
That’s unless you keep taking fluids in the night or you wake up regularly to urinate. In the morning, your urine contains high concentrations of HCG which would lead to a positive result where you are indeed pregnant.
But that doesn’t mean that you cannot take the test during the day or at night.
It is just that you will be exposing yourself to the likelihood of getting a false negative, where your periods haven’t delayed enough. If you are drinking too many fluids, that could also be the case.
What’s The Best Pregnancy Test?
Pregnancy tests work depending on how early or late they are taken. If you are doing it only a day after you missed your periods, you can use any of the commercially available tests to great effect.
If anything most of the tests on the market are thought to be accurate up to 99 percent of the time. If you are doing the test much earlier, then you need a testing kit with a higher level of accuracy.
Thus pregnancy tests with the highest sensitivity are more likely to produce exact positive results when used before a woman misses her periods.
Such tests may also fall victim to returning an increased number of false positive results.
Why Do A Pregnancy Test?
If you are a sexually active woman in the prime of your reproductive years, you risk becoming pregnant almost monthly, unless you already are.
It matters not if you are using protection. For you to get trusted results from the pregnancy test, you should look out for the subtle signs indicating it is time you had one.
For more believable results, you are advised to take after you realized you have just missed your periods.
You are more likely to have accurate results when you do your test early in the morning when the concentration of HCG in urine is thought to be the highest. Since the test measures the levels of HCG, you stand a high chance of getting accurate results.
The earlier you know you are pregnant, the better you will be able to take care of yourself. If anything, you will be able to give the unborn baby better prenatal care.
As soon as you get positive pregnancy results, it is important that you contact your doctor to discuss the measure you could take going forward.