When you experience symptoms and signs of pregnancy, you can either decide to go to the hospital to have a pregnancy test done or you can do a self home pregnancy test. It is simple, reliable, cheap, easy, convenient and saves you a lot of time when it is done at home. You might have read, watched, or heard about a lot of unorthodox home pregnancy tests using various materials. You might have even used one of these methods in the past or you are already contemplating about it. Well, that is not the purpose of this article, rather, I will be discussing the scientifically proven methods of testing for pregnancy, which could be done with blood or using your urine. The self-home pregnancy test using your urine is what I will be talking about. There are different pregnancy test strips in your local drug stores to choose from however, bear in mind that the sensitivity of the various strips varies. The procedure for using these strips or test kits might slightly differ. So, do well to read the instruction that comes with the kit or strip you buy.
HOW DOES A SELF HOME PREGNANCY TEST WORK?
This test detects in your urine the presence of the pregnancy hormone called β-human chorionic gonadotrophin (β-HCG) produced by the developing placenta. As early as 20 to 21 days from your last menses the β-HCG can be detected in the blood and from 28 days from your last menses it can be detected in the urine. It levels rises to a maximum at about the 10th week of pregnancy and begins to fall from the 12th week. At about 3 to 4 weeks after delivery or pregnancy loss the level drop to normal both in the blood and urine.
HOW TO DO A HOME PREGNANCY TEST
This is done using your urine at any random time because, the β-HCG is not released in the urine more at some time of the day than at other times. However, it is proposed that the early morning urine be used because the first urine is expected to be more concentrated with the β-HCG. Based on the type of strip or kit that might be available to you, your urine sample can be introduced to the test strip or kit using either of the following;
- You may have to collect your urine into a clean bowl and dip the strip for a few seconds taking care not to dip it above the area on the strip marked as ‘max’
- Some kits come with a pipette to help withdraw a little quantity of urine into a chamber of the kit.
- While for some kits, you just have to keep it in the direction of your urine flow to make contact with it while urinating.
HOW IS THE RESULT DISPLAYED?
The result might take some few minutes to be displayed and what is displayed also depends on the type of kit or strip used. Some test kits or strips that display result as red line might have some parts labelled ‘test or T’ and ‘control or C’, these also help in result interpretation. You can have either of the following results;
- POSITIVE RESULT; might display with a single plus sign (+), two red lines (=), ‘PREGNANT’ or with a ‘YES’
- NEGATIVE RESULT; will display a negative sign (-), a single red line at the ‘control’, ‘NOT PREGNANT’ or a ‘NO’
- INVALID RESULT; will display nothing, a single red line at the ‘test’.
An invalid result might be because the kit is not functional or there was not enough urine contact time with the test kit. When you have an invalid result, you should repeat the test with either the same strip brand or best a different brand.
CAN YOU BE PREGNANT WITH A NEGATIVE HOME PREGNANCY TEST RESULT?
Yes, it is very possible in any of these circumstances;
- A test taken too early when pregnancy is suspected and too early for β-HCG to appear in the urine.
- When the concentration of β-HCG is too high beyond which the kit can detect. This is found in a disease called gestational trophoblastic disease.
- When the sensitivity of the test kit is low.
CAN YOU HAVE A POSITIVE RESULT AND NOT BE PREGNANT?
Possible in the following circumstances;
- The pregnancy was lost soon after implantation; this is called a chemical pregnancy.
- HCG secretion from a tumour.
- Fertility treatment with HCG within 2 weeks of taking the test.
- A genetic disorder called familial HCG syndrome.
HAVE A POSITIVE RESULT? WHAT TO DO NEXT
Congratulations if your result is truly positive, the next thing to do is to confirm the location and viability of the pregnancy by ultrasound scan. If it is in the womb and it is viable, that is great. You will be counselled by your health provider on some lifestyle changes to protect the baby, if you did not have a preconception counselling and care clinic visit.
If it is outside the womb I am sorry to say it is not good, this is called an ectopic pregnancy. You will be adequately counselled by your health care provider of the danger at hand and the various treatment options available to you to avert it. ECTOPIC PREGNANCY IS A GYNECOLOGICAL EMERGENCY.
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