Some home pregnancy tests are easier to use and
read than others. Be sure to follow the instructions exactly for accurate
Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) can be found in the
blood before it can be found in the urine. A blood test can confirm a pregnancy
about 6 days after the fertilized egg implants into the uterus (even before a
missed menstrual period). To learn more, see the topic
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG).
women are able to tell if they are pregnant simply by knowing their body has
changed. A missed menstrual period, breast tenderness, morning nausea, and
fatigue may be early signs of pregnancy. But a home pregnancy test can
confirm pregnancy when a menstrual period is late.
professionals may want to do another pregnancy test in their labs to
confirm the pregnancy before beginning prenatal care.
If you are
thinking of becoming pregnant, think about making changes in your nutrition
(such as avoiding alcohol and taking a vitamin containing
folic acid) to lower the chance of birth defects. Good
nutrition before and during your pregnancy helps your health and the health of
If you are thinking of becoming pregnant, try to find
your most fertile time (ovulation). This can be checked in several ways. To learn more, see the topic
Fertility Awareness. Ovulation test kits may help you
know your most fertile time. These are available without a prescription in
supermarkets and pharmacies.
Confirming your pregnancy early can be
very useful. It allows you to start prenatal care during the first month of
pregnancy. Or, if the pregnancy is unplanned, you can talk with your health
professional about other choices.
Common questions about home pregnancy tests
Why did I see a faint positive line an hour
after I did the test? You may be pregnant but your hCG level may not be high
enough in your urine. Take another test in a few days or talk to your health
professional about a blood test.
Why was my test positive right
before I started my menstrual cycle? You need to have a blood hCG test to check
for other causes of a high hCG level.
Can I be pregnant but get a
negative test? Yes, most women will get a positive test within a few days of
missing their menstrual period but some women may get a negative test early in
Can alcohol or drugs change the test? Most test
results are not affected by alcohol or drugs, but you should not use these
substances if you want to become pregnant or think you may be pregnant.
Other Works Consulted
Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.