What Can Cause Pregnancy Tests To Be Wrong
Each type of pregnancy test is designed to detect a set minimum level of hCG. This is why pregnancy test manufacturers advertise the way they do: Know four days sooner, or Accurate up to six days before a missed period. However, while home pregnancy tests are quite accurate many boast a 99 percent detection rate based on laboratory testing results marketing claims can be misleading. For example, a 99 percent detection rate means a test can detect hCG 99 percent of the time on the day a woman misses her period. These statistics also assume that women are testing at the optimal time, following all instructions, and fully understanding how to interpret the results.
In reality, its not that easy. Some studies suggest that up to 1 in 4 tests could be misinterpreted, which has led some companies to switch from using the presence of lines or colors to indicate a positive result to using actual words such as yes, no, pregnant, or not pregnant for clarity.
When a test result is inaccurate, its either a false negative or a false positive . Several factors can cause false negative results:
Having too dilute urine after drinking a lot of water or testing later in the day.
Testing too soon when there has not been enough time for an early pregnancy to implant and start producing hCG.
Using a pregnancy test that doesnt detect lower levels of hCG. You can check the package insert for more information about the level at which the test will be positive.
How Early Can Home Pregnancy Tests Show Positive Results
In the Aerosmith song Sweet Emotion, Steven Tylers lyric the rabbit done died refers to the original way a pregnancy test was performed one that literally killed rabbits. Urine from a woman who thought she might be pregnant was injected into a rabbit, which would then be surgically opened so its ovaries could be inspected. If the woman was pregnant, the rabbits ovaries would undergo noticeable changes due to the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin that develops early in gestation. The rabbit unfortunately didnt survive.
Thankfully, pregnancy tests have evolved substantially since the 20th century. Women now have access to advanced tests that can detect a pregnancy days before a missed period. In fact, a CBS News article outlined the best home pregnancy tests according to research from Consumer Reports, based on ease of use, ease of reading results, and effectiveness. Many tests today are marketed as simple and effective, but getting accurate results comes down to when the test is taken.
What Is The Best Way To Confirm Pregnancy
The best way to confirm pregnancy is to do a blood test measuring the human chorionic gonadotropin hormone. Women can also take a home pregnancy test. Home pregnancy tests are fairly reliable but may occasionally be a false-positive. This can occur for a number of reasons, including having a chemical or ectopic pregnancy or even taking certain medications. Following a positive home pregnancy test with a doctors visit for a urine or blood test to confirm the pregnancy is the best way to confirm a pregnancy.
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False Positive Results Of Blood Pregnancy Test
False positive results of pregnancy blood tests are rare, but they do happen. Some conditions can lead to a result of pregnancy when the woman is, in fact, not pregnant.
Because blood tests detect the presence of the hormone hCG, any level of hCGâeven if it is there for another reasonâcould lead to a false positive test result. Some non-pregnancy reasons for hCG to be in the blood are:
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2. Notice breast changes: The breasts will become tender during the first few weeks of pregnancy. This change often signals to the woman that their period is coming unless they are trying to get pregnant.
3. Feeling tired:Fatigue is one of the first signs of pregnancy. If you are feeling unusually tired, but have few other symptoms you may be pregnant.
4. Nausea and vomiting:For women who do not watch their period cycle closely, nausea and vomiting are often the reason they go to the doctor in the first place. Morning sickness is a great sign that you are pregnant.
5. Spotting and/or cramping:Many women do not believe they are pregnant because of the cramping and spotting that occurs. This spotting has nothing to do with a period. When the egg implants in the uterus some spotting and cramping can occur. This is what the woman is feeling.
6. Frequent trips to the bathroom:In very early pregnancy, the frequent trips to the bathroom have nothing to do with the weight of the fetus on the bladder. It does, however, have to do with the body preparing for pregnancy by increasing the fluid in the body.
9. Take a home pregnancy test:The home pregnancy test measures the level of hCG in the urine. Commonly, if the urine tests about 20 mlU/ml the test will be positive.
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What About Early Pregnancy Tests
Early pregnancy test manufacturers market to your desire to get answers as early as possible. It is not hard to see the advertising on the box and read the claims of 99% accuracy along with the ability to detect pregnancy six days before your missed period.
But let us take a closer look, so you do not test too early for pregnancy. The first thing to consider is that the percentage provided on the front of the package is only accurate when you take the test on the day of your expected period and in a laboratory setting by professionals. The same goes for the the instructions printed inside the pregnancy test kit the claims of accuracy are elevated because they do not reflect real-life testing in real-life situations. The results from a University of New Mexico study reveal the chances you can anticipate getting the right answer from an early home pregnancy test:
- One day past your expected period: 100% of pregnancies detected
- On the day of your expected period: 96% of pregnancies detected
- On the day before your expected period: 93% of pregnancies detected
- Two days before your expected period: 81% of pregnancies detected
- Three days before your expected period: 68% of pregnancies detected
- Four days before your expected period: 42% of pregnancies detected
- Five days before your expected period: 33% of pregnancies detected
- Six days before your expected period: 25% of pregnancies detected
Causes Of Female Infertility
Female infertility is a factor for about one-third of couples who are trying to conceive.
The most common cause is a problem with ovulation. If you dont ovulate, you wont release an egg to be fertilized.
Ovulation problems can be caused by:
- surgery for an ectopic pregnancy
A problem with the uterus can also make it harder to get pregnant. This may be due to an abnormal structure, or due to growths like fibroids.
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Metallic Taste In Mouth
The experience of constantly having a metallic taste in your mouth is a pregnancy sign that I am familiar with. It’s difficult to describe, but your mouth feels like you have been sucking on a coin.
It’s a pregnancy symptom that is very common and is unmistakable
You may also experience other strange flavors in your mouth, like saltiness, rancidness, or just a bad taste in general.8
Higher Hcg Than Expected
A higher than normal level of hCG may indicate:
- Infection or malignant tumors of the uterus
- More than one fetus
- Non-cancerous tumors of the uterus
- Ovarian cancer
- Sometimes, just an indication of a normal pregnancy, farther along in gestation
- Testicular cancer
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How To Improve The Accuracy Of Your Home Pregnancy Test
- Wait until your period is one week late
- Read the instructions carefully and follow them to the letter
- Take the urine test in the morning, with your very first urine of the day
- Dont drink large amounts of liquids before the test
- Pee into a clean cup and put the test stick into it for 15 minutes
- Store your test in a cool dry place. Extreme temperatures can damage the test.
- Check the expiration date of the test
Pregnancy Testing At The Doctors Office
When should I visit the doctor for a pregnancy test?
More often, you may take a home pregnancy test to quickly determine pregnancy. If a home pregnancy test is positive and you have decided to continue with the pregnancy, you should call an obstetrician as soon as possible. The doctor can use a more sensitive test such as blood testing along with a pelvic exam to make sure you are pregnant. Seeing the doctor early in your pregnancy will help you and your baby to stay healthy.
If a home pregnancy test is positive and you have decided not to continue with the pregnancy, you should call a clinic as soon as possible. The doctor will do another urine pregnancy testing for their records and a sonogram to determine how far your pregnancy has progressed and discuss termination options that best suit your circumstances. Click here for help in choosing a clinic.
How do urine pregnancy tests work at the doctors office?
All pregnancy tests, whether it is EPT, First Response, ClearBlue or at your local doctors office, work by detecting a particular hormone in the urine that is only there when a woman is pregnant. This hormone is called human chorionic gonadotropin , or hCG, also called the pregnancy hormone.
The question often arises what is the difference between a home pregnancy test done at home and a urine pregnancy test performed at a doctors office? The difference is not in the test itself but in the ability of the person who reads the test confidently.
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How Soon Can You Find Out If Youre Pregnant
The symptoms of pregnancy explained above are the most common ones but often the signs and symptoms experienced are very mild and easily attributed to other reasons.
If you frequently experience headaches and can confidently chalk your mood swings up to, say, a social media article that just set you off, looking for stronger indicators like morning sickness and changes in discharge would be a good start.
If you do notice a cluster of symptoms, following up with a home pregnancy test is your best next move.
When Can You Get A Positive Pregnancy Test Result
Home pregnancy tests look for human chorionic gonadotrophin in your urine. This is produced after the egg implants, but not at detectable levels until 6 to 14 days after fertilization. Your most reliable results will be starting on the day of your missed period, since all cycles are unique.
You can purchase a test at supermarkets, drugstores, or online. Follow all instructions and follow up with your doctor if you have a positive result or if you have a negative result but your period does not start.
In some cases, you may want to go in and have a blood draw, which can detect lower levels of the pregnancy hormone hCG.
To recap, the following things need to happen to achieve pregnancy:
Above all else, you can increase your chances of pregnancy each month by gaining a better understanding of the menstrual cycle and pinpointing your fertile window. You can have sex a million times, but if youre not in the right part of your cycle, it wont result in pregnancy.
Sex as early as 5 days before ovulation can lead to conception, but the chances are highest with sex the day immediately before the egg is released.
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How Pregnancy Tests Work
Think you might be pregnant?
Even with the most effective birth control methods, theres always a chance for error. After all, it takes just one sperm to fertilize the egg. Finding out whether or not thats happened is as easy as taking an over-the-counter pregnancy test.
OTC pregnancy tests typically test your urine for a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin . HCG is only present if youre pregnant. The hormone is only released if a fertilized egg attaches outside the uterus or to your uterine lining.
There are different ways to collect your urine for the test. Depending on the test you choose, you may have to:
- collect your urine in a cup and dip a testing stick into the liquid
- collect your urine in a cup and use an eyedropper to move a small amount of fluid into a special container
- place the testing stick into the area of your expected urine stream so that it will catch your urine midstream
According to Cleveland Clinic, most tests are 99 percent effective if taken after a missed period. The best part is that you can do it in the privacy of your own home. Simply open the test, follow the instructions, and wait for the recommended amount of time to view the results.
After the recommended waiting time has passed, the tests will display your results in one of the following ways:
- a change in color
Can Pregnancy Symptoms Start Before Implantation
To ensure successful implantation progesterone rises when the ovum fertilizes, so sensitive women may notice very mild pregnancy symptoms before implantation that feels much like pre-menstrual symptoms.
But it has to be said that this is uncommon.
It usually takes a few weeks for progesterone and hCG levels to get high enough to start experiencing symptoms.
We hope weve answered all your questions about finding out how soon you can tell if youre pregnant. If you have any more let us know and well do our utmost to answer them.
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How Long Do You Have To Wait For The Results Of A Blood Test
So you’ve gone to the doctor’s office, waited to be seen, and had your blood drawn. Of course, it’s not over.
Your blood has to be sent to a lab to be analyzed. How long it takes for them to give you the results varies from lab to lab. It could take an hour or several days. A couple of days is a typical waiting period for lab results.
Efficacy Of Urine Vs Blood Pregnancy Tests
Urine tests are low-cost, painless, easy-to-use, can be done in the privacy of one’s home, and are very accurate , which is why they are the standard test used for most pregnancies.
A blood pregnancy test is warranted due to complicating factors. These tests are also very accurate, providing quick results that can give doctors more detailed information about your pregnancy.
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How Accurate Are Blood Pregnancy Tests
The blood test for hCG is the most accurate to detect a pregnancy, says Dr. Mark Trolice.
Blood tests have a 99% accuracy rate, so they are almost always accurate. The main reason for this is that the quantitative test can detect even the smallest traces of the pregnancy hormone hCG. However, hormone levels can vary from one woman to another.
“The range of normal beta hCG levels is very wide,” says Dr. Serena Chen, a fertility expert at the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey, “so it’s important to have the help of your doctor to interpret test results.”
When Is It Too Early To Test For Pregnancy
If you take a pregnancy test before you have missed your period, you increase your chances of getting a false negative result. This means the test will read negative when you actually are pregnant, so experts recommend waiting until you have already missed your period to prevent false-negative test results.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Pregnancy Tests
If I get a positive result on a home pregnancy test, does that mean I am pregnant?
A positive result from a home pregnancy test shows the presence of the hormone hCG in your system. When an egg is implanted in a womans uterine lining, hCG hormones begin to develop and multiply. This is a sign that you have become pregnant.
If I get a negative result on a home pregnancy test, does that mean I am not pregnant?
A negative result can mean that you are not pregnant, you took the test too early, or you took the test wrong. Pregnancy tests vary in their sensitivity , and you may not have given your body enough time to produce enough hCG hormones that will show up on the test.
Also, if you let a test sit for too long , the test is invalid. It is best to follow the instructions and wait until you have missed a period before taking the test. Most pregnancy tests come with two in a box, and it is a good idea to take both.