Taking a pregnancy test at home can feel overwhelming, but it's the easiest and quickest way to know whether or not you're pregnant. Here are some key things to keep in mind before and after you purchase a test from your local pharmacy.
There are two types of at-home pregnancy tests: digital and non-digital. With digital tests, there is no guess work—there's no wondering Is that a line? or Is that a color?. A digital at-home test will simply say "pregnant" or "not pregnant." However, these tests tend to be a little bit more expensive, so it's important to keep that in mind if you think you may be testing regularly.
Don't forget to check the pregnancy test's expiration date before you purchase it. If it is expired, it may not work properly.
Many tests claim to be able to give you results as early as four days before your menstrual period, but pregnancy tests are looking for a specific hormone (human chorionic gonadotropin) that becomes increasingly easier to detect over time. This means that the chances of you getting a negative result when you really are pregnant are higher if you test before your missed period.
On the other hand, the accuracy of a home pregnancy test is 97 percent if you test after your period is due, according to Sean Daneshmand, M.D., an ob-gyn based in San Diego and the founder of the nonprofit organization Miracle Babies.
Many doctors recommend taking the test first thing in the morning, as the concentration of hCG in your urine is usually highest then.
If your test says that you're pregnant, you probably are pregnant—false positives are rare. If you get a positive result, the next step is to call your doctor: Your ob-gyn will likely schedule an appointment about eight weeks after your last period to confirm your pregnancy with a transvaginal ultrasound. For many women, a pregnancy blood test is not needed.
Each pregnancy test is a little bit different than the next. Make sure you're using the one you purchased correctly with our instructional videos for the following brands: