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Pregnancy Tests

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Is it expensive or hard to do a home pregnancy test (HPT)?

You can buy a home pregnancy test in a drugstore without a prescription. The cost depends on the brand. But most tests are relatively inexpensive -- from $8 to $20.

Home pregnancy tests are quick and easy to use. They are also very accurate if you carefully follow directions. These pregnancy tests all work in a similar way. You test the urine in one of these ways:

  • Hold the test's stick in your urine stream.
  • Collect urine in a cup and then dip the test's stick into it.
  • Collect urine in a cup and use a dropper to put urine into another container.

With all of these techniques, you need to wait a few minutes before seeing the results. Results may show up as a line, a color, or a symbol such as a "+" or "-" sign. Digital tests produce the words "pregnant" or "not pregnant."

If you have any questions about the pregnancy test or the results, call your doctor or the telephone number listed with the home pregnancy test.

What do the pregnancy test results mean?

It's important to know what a positive or negative result means.

If you get a positive result, you are pregnant. This is true no matter how faint the line, color, or sign is. If you get a positive result, you may want to call your doctor to talk about what comes next.

In very rare cases, you can have a false-positive result. This means you're not pregnant but the test says you are. You could have a false-positive result if blood or protein is present in your urine. And certain drugs, such as tranquilizers, anti-convulsants, or hypnotics, may also cause false-positive results.

If you get a negative result, you are likely not pregnant. However, you may still be pregnant if:

  • The test is past its expiration date.
  • You took the test the wrong way.
  • You tested too soon.
  • Your urine is too diluted because you consumed large amounts of fluid right before the test.
  • You are taking certain medications, such as diuretics or antihistamines.

If you get a negative pregnancy test result, try retesting within about a week to double-check. Some home pregnancy tests suggest doing this regardless of your results. 

What if you get two different results? Call your doctor. A blood test is a good idea to confirm results.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Trina Pagano, MD on June 23, 2012
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