Are Pregnancy Tests Always Accurate or Sometimes Wrong?
Until the late 1970s, it wasn’t possible to use the home pregnancy tests that are all over today.
In 1976, the FDA approved the use of the first home pregnancy test kit- the e.p.t. And up until, every woman who wishes to take control of their fertility rely on the pregnancy tests.
Knowing your pregnancy status in time can help you seek the necessary care for your pregnancy (or at times, pregnancy termination).
But do the pregnancy tests give us the accurate results?
We have heard cases of women who used these tests to check whether they’re pregnant, got a negative result. And the later in realized they were pregnant! Weird?
Such scenarios have led to doubts about the reliability of the tests.
Join me in the discussion as I set to uncover why such situations occur and whether these tests are always reliable…
How do pregnancy tests work?
First, we get to understand how they work to give you the results:
All the pregnancy tests work by establishing the presence of a particular hormone in the blood or urine. This is the HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) hormone which only shows up in your body when you’re pregnant. It’s also referred to as pregnancy hormone.
The HCG usually occurs when the fertilized eggs implant on the uterus, around 6-10 days after the sperm and egg merge. Initially, the hormone is available in a small amount. In a thriving pregnancy, its levels double after every 48 hours.
Take Note: Sometimes you might use a test that does not detect small amounts of the HCG hormone, and you end up getting a negative result (which is false).
This brings to our next subtopic…
When is the best time to take a pregnancy test?
Most brands that produce the pregnancy test advertise that their products can detect a pregnancy on the first of missed period.
How true is this?
To confirm the accuracy of these claims, a study was conducted in August 2011 .From the results, the researcher noted that one particular brand- Fast Response was able to detect HCG amounts as little as 5.5mIU/ml in urine. The other two brands involved in the test- Clear Blue manual and EPT manual- could detect 22mIU/ml.
In general, a test conducted by the doctor should detect around 22 units of HCG or more.
Another study that focused on the implantation process found out that 10% of the viable pregnancies were yet to be implanted by the first missed period.
With all the above information in mind, we can safely say that taking your test twice can help clear all the doubts you might have. Take the first test when you encounter a missed period (97% of pregnancies would have undergone implantation process by then) if you used a test from a less sensitive brand, then you can take the second test later on to enhance your accuracy.
Additional facts you need to know about pregnancy tests
- You can never get a “False Positive,” except for cases where you’re on other medications like tranquilizers, fertility drugs or anticonvulsants.
- Getting a false doesn’t always mean you’re not pregnant. This is particularly the case if you take a test too early. That’s why we recommended taking two tests.
- Pregnancy tests can expire- and when they do, they lose their effectiveness and give you misleading results. So, don’t use the test you stashed in your cupboard a year ago to take the test. Just buy a new one and confirm it’s not out of date.
- Some medical conditions can interfere with the results of your test. If you’re taking medicine containing HCG, it will give you a false positive. Such medications are usually administered via injections, and your GYN should guide you on how long they’ll last in your body.
From our discussion above, it’s clear that a pregnancy test can give you correct or false. However, you can enhance the security of your test by taking it twice. Using tests from highly sensitive brands can also increase your accuracy.
Above all, always ensure you fully understand how to use a pregnancy test kit. Go through the instructions to ensure you take them correctly; else you’ll end up with the wrong results.