If we go back a few years in time, let’s make that decades, women had no option but to wait for a missed period to test for pregnancy.  A missed period was considered the first indication of pregnancy. However, today with the advancement medical sciences testing for pregnancy is not so much a nerve racking process. Early pregnancy tests allow early detection of pregnancy with the added bonus of testing in the privacy of your own home.

Early pregnancy tests are truly advantageous. However, there is a big question on their accuracy. Women often ask if they could rely on home pregnancy test results as there have been numerous instances of false positives and negatives.

Home pregnancy tests that claim to detect early pregnancies are 98%- 99% accurate when conducted according to manufacturer’s instructions. In addition to this, there are several other factors that decide whether an early pregnancy test will be accurate or not. We shall cover these factors in the article below.

What are they and how do they work?

An early pregnancy test is a testing device that resembles a pen. It contains a dipstick, the tip of which is immersed in the urine sample (either collected or a stream of urine) when testing. The chemicals present in the absorbent strip reacts with the urine and display color changes to indicate the presence or absence of the pregnancy hormone called Human Chorionic Gonadotropin. If you use the regular pregnancy test kit, a plus sign or two pink lines and for a positive result while a minus sign or one pink line stands for a negative result. Go to faint pink positive pregnancy test for more details. On the other hand, if you work with a digital pregnancy test, the words “Pregnant” or “Yes” stand for a positive result while “Not Pregnant” or “No” implies a negative result.

Why do Tests go wrong?

We mentioned above and we mention it again that, early pregnancy tests are not 100% accurate. The cause for this is not a technical or design fault. It has to do with the levels of HCG in a woman’s system.

Human Chorionic Gonadotropinis produced and released by the placenta shortly after implantation of the embryo has occurred. Implantation can occur anytime between 6-12 days of ovulation. The initial stages of pregnancy are characterized by low levels of the pregnancy hormone. It increases rapidly as the pregnancy progresses.

There are several brands of early pregnancy tests that claim to detect pregnancy within very few days of ovulation. Some assert that they can accurately detect pregnancy before you miss a period, on the day of the period and there are also those that ask you to wait for one week after you have missed a period to test. It depends upon the sensitivity of the test. Sensitivity levels refer to the level of HCG it can detect in urine. Highly sensitive tests can detect as low as 20mIUs while those with low sensitivity require HCG in between 50mIUs and 100mIUs. The former are able to detect pregnancy accurately even before you miss a period. However, if you use the low sensitivity pregnancy kits at the same time duration it will give you inaccurate results.

When speaking about early pregnancy tests, we often take into consideration only one perspective that is the urine tests. Pregnancy can also be detected using blood tests. In fact, blood tests are more sensitive and are capable of detecting very low levels of HCG hormone. One can also expect to get accurate results after 7 days of ovulation when using a blood test. This is because HCG is released into the blood stream earlier and in larger quantities. The only drawback is it has to be performed in a doctor’s office.