9 things to know before you use a home pregnancy test kit

Remember those old Hindi movies where the heroine threw up once and everyone knew she was pregnant? It doesn’t work like that! Most often, you don’t know you are pregnant until a few weeks, and vomiting starts much later. But thank god for at-home pregnancy test kits! These kits make it easy to detect pregnancy really early! But there are things you need to know before you use a home pregnancy kit.

1. Buy a pregnancy test kit, not an ovulation kit

The pregnancy test kits and ovulation test kits look very similar and are also often from the same brand. For example, Piramal Healthcare makes the i-can test kit for pregnancy and the i-know kit for ovulation. The strips look similar and even the packaging is similar. It is easy to buy the wrong kit and it will show you the wrong result. So take a minute to check if you have really bought a pregnancy test kit and not an ovulation test kit.

2. Expensive doesn’t mean effective

There are multiple pregnancy test kits available, and the prices range from Rs. 49 to Rs. 1452. But in this case, an expensive kit does not necessarily mean it is more effective or accurate. All the strips are reagents that detect the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (pregnancy hormone HCG) in the urine. But please check for expiry date because the reagents have a shelf life. It’s really when and how you use it that can make the difference, not the price.

3. Test in the morning

If the HCG hormone is present in the body, you will get a positive result on the pregnancy test kit. HCG doubles every 48 hours. But this is only an average and different women have different levels of HCG. So if you are checking for pregnancy one or two days after your last missed period, definitely test first thing in the morning when your urine is most concentrated. The kit booklet will also tell you this. We get that the temptation is to test for pregnancy the moment you buy the kit, but if you are testing that early after a missed period, you want to be absolutely sure that you are testing correctly.

4. Wait for 2 minutes

If the test kit tells you to wait for two minutes, wait. Wait for five minutes if it tells you to. Test kits have different reagents and the concentration of HCG in the urine may also vary so if you are checking the kit within two seconds after passing it through your urine stream, you may get a wrong result. To be absolutely sure, wait for the required time to check if there are two clear lines that indicate positive pregnancy.

5. There aren’t really false positives

If you are pregnant, you are pregnant. You can’t test positive on one stick and negative on another. However, if you took the pregnancy test very early after missing your periods, and then take another test within a week or two, you might see a different result. The first result might be positive because the egg and sperm were together, but the second might be negative because the implantation did not hold. Don’t worry, it is a very common thing to happen. Check with a doctor if this happens.

6. A faint line proves nothing

If you are negative, there will be one line in the test window. If you are positive there will be two lines. One of the lines might be a little more faint than the other one. The purpose of the pregnancy test kit is to tell you if you are pregnant, and it can do it by those two lines. It depends on the reagent and other factors if both lines will be prominent. If one line is faint and you still get two lines, you are pregnant. If both lines are faint, the test is invalid and you have to try with another strip.

7. Learn how to read the strip

On the test strip, there are two markings, one is “C” that is control and “T” means test. Put three drops of your urine on the strip. Wait for 5 minutes to obtain the results. If you find two pink colored lines along ‘T’ and ‘C’, it indicates that your pregnancy test is positive. If you see one pink colored line along “C”, it indicates that your pregnancy test is negative. If you do not find any colored line on the strip, it indicates an invalid test.

8. Don’t mishandle the test kit

To ensure a correct reading of the pregnancy test kit, you need to handle it with care. Don’t keep it open, exposed to the air for too long. Open the packet right before you take the test only. Check the booklet to see the method suggested for testing, and if it says to use a dropper, use it. Don’t touch the test membrane because that may cause dents which may give an inaccurate test result.

9. See your doctor

If the test is positive, definitely see your doctor. You need to start getting medical care the moment you know you are pregnant. If the test is negative but you have missed your periods, test again in a week and if you don’t menstruate by then and the test is still negative, see your doctor as soon as you can. This could be indicative of another medical condition or even an ectopic pregnancy that may not be detected by these strips.

Feature Image: Healthline