The accuracy of home pregnancy tests varies by brand. Pregnancy tests work by detecting human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in a woman’s urine. Some tests are more sensitive to hCG and can give more accurate responses.
False negatives are more common than false positives. Testing too early can cause a false negative. Some brands of home pregnancy tests claim to be accurate before a woman misses her period. For the most accurate results, a pregnancy test should be taken no sooner than the day after a woman misses her period but preferably a week after a missed period.
False positives are rare, but they do occur. Women who become pregnant but miscarry can still receive a positive result on a home pregnancy test. Other things that might cause a false positive home pregnancy test result are certain medications, ovary issues, menopause or even taking a test too soon after an abortion.
While most home pregnancy tests are relatively easy to perform and have clear instructions, there are some ways that a woman can misuse the tests and increase the chances of a false response. Avoid these common user errors when using a home pregnancy test:
- Do not take a home pregnancy test too early. Wait until you have missed your period and test 1-7 days later. If your period is irregular, it can be harder to know when to test. In that case, test 21 days after you had sex.
- Do not read a pregnancy test after the packaging instructions say. Pregnancy tests can develop evaporation lines within 10 minutes. An evaporation line occurs as the urine evaporates from the test and can sometimes be over the test window, so it can be mistaken for a positive result.
- Don’t get the test too wet. Too much urine on the pregnancy test can also create an evaporation line that can be mistaken for a positive result.
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Ivy Women’s Center offers free lab-grade pregnancy testing and ultrasounds to confirm your pregnancy. Contact us today to schedule a free appointment, and let us know how we can help.