At-home pregnancy tests

So you missed your period.

Or maybe you’ve been feeling off, having some early pregnancy symptoms that could mean nothing except your body just being a normal hormonal body, or maybe it means you are actually pregnant.

That means it’s time for a pregnancy test. But what’s the best kind to use? When can you start taking them and see accurate results?

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First, you can always come to our clinic for a free pregnancy test. But it’s not uncommon for women to take their own test(s) at home first to get some answers and avoid the waiting game.

So let’s talk about pregnancy tests you can take at home.

You’ll use a sample of your urine with these tests to measure the levels of hCG, which is a hormone created after a fertilized egg implants to your uterus, and those hormone levels double every two to three days. Some at-home pregnancy tests can detect the levels even before your missed period, but there are several factors that can play a role in whether you see a positive or negative result.

A positive result: You’re pregnant.

It is very rare to receive a false positive test, so if you see a result that indicates positive (be it a plus sign, or a pink line—see your test instructions to know what to look for in yours) you should expect that you are, in fact, pregnant. No matter how faint that positive result may look, that still means you’re pregnant.

A negative result: Well, it could be a few things.

First of all, it could mean that you are not pregnant. However, it could also mean that you tested very early on in the pregnancy and your hCG levels just aren’t high enough to register on the test. If you drank a lot of water before taking the test, your urine could also be too diluted. That’s one reason why it’s recommended to take your at-home pregnancy test early in the morning when your urine is most concentrated.

If you receive a negative pregnancy test but you are still missing your period a week later, consider taking another test to see if the first one was just too early on in the pregnancy.

What’s the best test to use?

There’s no real “best.” There are certainly tests that are more expensive than others, such as the digital tests that should detect hCG up to four days before your missed period, but those pregnancy tests you see for $1 at Walmart or discount stores? They still work. They may require a higher level of hCG to detect, and may not show a positive pregnancy test as early as the more expensive digital tests, but they are accurate.

Here’s a breakdown of some different pregnancy test options that are available on the market.