Buying a home pregnancy test is almost as exciting as buying that first pack of nappies, ready for your baby’s birth. And seeing the positive result appear is a moment you’ll never forget. Home pregnancy tests work by detecting a hormone called human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) in your urine. Provided you use them properly, they are very accurate. In this section you’ll find everything you need to know about your pregnancy test – how soon you can test and how to make sure you get an accurate result. We’ve also got some useful tips if your periods are irregular and you’re not sure when to test. Or are you convinced you’re pregnant despite a negative result? We’ve got some possible answers. Once you’ve got a positive result you can have a go at calculating when your baby’s due using our Due Date Calculator. And why not share your amazing news with other excited mums-to-be in the Bounty community?
Home pregnancy tests can detect even tiny amounts of the pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) in your urine. Even in the early weeks of pregnancy, the amount of HCG in your body increases hugely.
Most home pregnancy tests work from the day your period is due – so in theory, around two weeks after conception. The best time to take one is first thing in the morning, as the hormone will be more concentrated in your urine, though you can take one at any time of the day. Try not to drink much fluid before a test, as it can dilute the HCG in your urine.
Start by reading the instructions carefully, as brands differ. Make sure, in particular, that you know what the stick should look like if you are pregnant or not. Some have a blue line, others say whether you’re pregnant or not with words.
Place the end of the stick in a urine sample, either by collecting it in a pot and placing the stick in it, or by allowing your urine to run over it as you go to the loo. Then there will be an agonizing wait of a few minutes before the answer is shown! Best not to peek, as you may mistake the reading if you look while it is working.
Not usually, as home kits are now every bit as good as the ones doctors use. If they think it necessary, a doctor may give you a blood test to confirm the pregnancy.
Home test kits have become extremely reliable over the past couple of decades, so if it tells you that you are pregnant, then you almost certainly are. However, it is possible to still get a positive result if you have recently had a miscarriage, as the levels of HCG hormone in your blood will not have returned to normal.
It is possible to get a negative result if you test really early on – so if you’re anxiously counting days and working out when you have ovulated, you may test too soon for the levels of the HCG hormone to have risen to a level that can be tested. Be patient and try again a few days after your period would have been due.
At most pharmacies and in some larger supermarkets, too. Some GPs also offer free tests.