Home Pregnancy Tests
Why It Is Done
home pregnancy test is done to detect pregnancy by
detecting human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine.
How To Prepare
You can buy home pregnancy test kits
at the drugstore or grocery store. You don't need a prescription.
test kits generally have plastic dipsticks or test strips and instructions that
explain how to do the test. Some kits have a urine collection cup and a
dipstick that you dip in urine. Midstream kits have a test strip that you hold
in your stream of urine for several seconds. All kits tell you to wait a
specific amount of time before reading the results.
When to test
Home pregnancy kits can be used on
the first day of a missed menstrual period. But the test results are more
accurate if you wait a few days longer. If you do the test as soon as you have
missed a period and the results show you are not pregnant (negative results),
repeat the test in 1 week if your menstrual period has not started, or have a
pregnancy test done at your doctor's office or a clinic.
For any home test, you should
follow some general guidelines:
- Check the expiration date on the package. Do
not use a test kit after its expiration date—the chemicals in the kit may not
work correctly after that date.
- Store the test kits as directed.
Many kits need to be stored in a refrigerator or cool place.
the instructions that come with your test carefully and thoroughly before doing
the test. Look for any special preparations you need to take before doing the
test, such as avoiding certain foods or limiting your physical
- Follow the directions exactly. Do all the steps, in
order, without skipping any of them.
- If a step in the test needs to
be timed, use a clock. Do not guess at the timing.
- Many home kits
show color changes on a test strip. If you are color blind or have trouble
seeing different colors, have someone else read the test results for
- Record the results of the test so you can discuss them with
your health professional.