Wondering if you're pregnant can make even the most patient person squirm with anticipation. In order to know for certain that you have a bun in the oven, however, you need to know how to take a pregnancy test to ensure the most accurate results.
These days, you don't have to wait for an appointment with your doctor to find out if you have a baby on board. All it takes it a quick trip to the pharmacy, and you have a wide array of home pregnancy tests to choose from. Although the choices may seem overwhelming at first, just remember that each test is ultimately looking for the same thing. As Parenting magazine explained, "the chemical strip on the dipstick detects human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which the body starts producing after an embryo implants." And the longer after that implantation happens, the more hCG your body will produce, meaning an accurate reading has a great deal to do with when you take the test, according to Today's Parent magazine. Unfortunately, user error can often result in an incorrect reading.
To avoid getting a false positive or an inaccurate read on a pregnancy test, be sure to follow these five guidelines for a correct result.
1. Time It Right
As OB-GYN Dr. Teresa Hoffman told Parenting magazine, taking a pregnancy test too early "may pick up a chemical pregnancy, where the hormones started but the pregnancy didn’t take." To yield the most accurate results, Hoffman suggests you wait one week after your missed period. Getting the timing right means a stronger reading on the test.
2. Rise, Shine, Pee
Aside from the timing in your menstrual cycle, you want to consider the time of day you take a pregnancy test as well. According to Parents magazine, first thing in the morning is the best time to pee on the stick.
3. Check The Expiration Date
You don't know how long that box has been sitting on the store shelf, so make sure to check for an expiration date on your pregnancy test, as Pregnancy and Baby suggested. An expired test may not give you an accurate reading, so find one that is fresh and ready to use.
4. Read The Directions
Each home pregnancy test and brand is unique, so be sure to read the included instructions before you use the test, according to Very Well. Improper use increases your chances of an inaccurate result.
5. Be Patient
Tossing that test before it's fully done means you may have missed the right reading. As Dan Nayot, a fertility specialist at the Toronto Centre for Advanced Reproductive Technology told Today's Parent magazine, "some people do a pregnancy test, wait a couple of minutes, don’t see a positive and throw it in the garbage when they should have waited longer.” Giving the test the proper amount of time to do it's thing makes a difference in results.