What Are The Most Accurate Pregnancy Tests

Home pregnancy tests: What you need to know

What Are The Most Accurate Pregnancy Tests

Home pregnancy tests should really be called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) tests, said David Grenache, a clinical chemist who specializes in diagnostic testing. The tests can detect the presence of hCG, a hormone that’s measurable in urine after a fertilized egg burrows into the uterine wall. But they don’t truly tell you that you’re carrying a viable pregnancy. There are also rare medical conditions or medical treatments that make hCG detectable in the urine. So even though it’s a good indicator for pregnancy, a positive result doesn’t always mean you’re pregnant.

Normally, this burrowing event takes place six to twelve days after ovulation, which is the time when a fertilized egg first leaves the ovary. Between days 12 and 16, or the menstrual cycle, which starts on the first day of a person’s period, ovulation takes place. The first day of a person’s last period is day 1 of the cycle, which is when healthcare professionals start measuring pregnancy. Therefore, even though the fertilized egg has only recently implanted, a pregnancy may already be three or four weeks along by the time hCG is present at measurable levels (between day 18 and 28).

For the first eight to nine weeks of pregnancy, the amount of hCG in the blood and urine roughly doubles every two or three days once the body starts producing more of it. After implantation, a person may have 5 to 50 mIU/mL of hCG (milli-International Units per milliliter, a standardized unit) in their urine.

Some researchers have estimated that 25 mIU/mL is the lowest amount of hCG a test must be able to measure in order to identify 99% of true positives on the day of an expected period or later A test’s accuracy is a measure of how frequently it correctly distinguishes a positive or negative result.

Accuracy changes depending on what day you use the test. A test that claims to be 99% accurate on the day of an expected period may claim just 50% accuracy a few days earlier Almost all pregnancy tests come with a chart on the packaging or instructions outlining these numbers. Many tests, which can be deceptive, show their purported accuracies in relation to the day of a “missed period,” as you may have noticed. Actually, this means the day following your anticipated period.

Naturally, all of this is presuming that your cycle lasts an average amount of time and that you always ovulate exactly two weeks after your period. In truth, among other factors, test accuracy is influenced by the lengths of various menstrual cycle phases, the potential time of an egg’s fertilization, and the time it took for a fertilized egg to reach the uterus. A test%E2%80%99s accuracy is different from its sensitivity, which is defined as the lowest amount of hCG a test can detect 99% of the time This value ranges from around 25 mIU/mL for the majority of tests to as low as 10 mIU/mL for some. By using standardized samples with known concentrations of purified hCG, manufacturers can make this determination. Only about half of at-home tests, such as the First Response Early Result test we advise, can detect hCG levels as low as 6 mIU/mL. Due to the fact that each person has a unique combination of hCG forms in their urine, the sensitivity of a given test can also vary from person to person.

All pregnancy tests detect whole hCG, which has an alpha and a beta region. As hCG degrades, other varieties appear in the urine, including the alpha and beta region on their own and a variant called the beta core fragment. There’s also hyperglycosylated hCG (hCG-H). Some research has suggested that detecting hCG-H could allow a pregnancy test to work earlier. But, Grenache explained, by the time hCG-H appears in urine, regular hCG is already present at measurable levels. Some tests detect several of these variants, but it’s not clear whether that makes them more sensitive.

The best pregnancy test strips (that you can buy in bulk)

Although hCG test strips occasionally receive a bad rap, they are extremely popular among those trying to conceive. You can indulge your impatience and use them daily (or more frequently) if you buy a large package of individually wrapped strips for 25 to 50 cents each. Although some people might see positive results earlier, the majority—if not all—strips are made and tested to find pregnancy-related levels of hCG at the day of an anticipated period or later, so for the majority, this won’t end up being much of an advantage.

If you want to make sure that a pregnancy has ended, testing with strips may also be helpful. Dr. Although this isn’t necessary—doctors occasionally have their patients take just one test at the suggested time after a loss or termination—Bavan suggested that it might be convenient to have extra tests on hand to use while you’re waiting.

More questions from patients:

When a home pregnancy test yields a positive result but you are not actually pregnant, this is known as a false positive pregnancy test.

A false positive pregnancy test result indicates that your urine contained the hormone hCG. If this occurred, either the test wasn’t accurate or you had hCG in your system as a result of another condition. These could include:

  • taking the test too soon after taking fertility drugs that contain the hormone hCG
  • having an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage
  • Visit your physician, midwife, or nearby Planned Parenthood health center if you have a positive pregnancy test. They can help you with the next steps and determine whether you are truly pregnant.

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