How to Use a Pregnancy Test
Using a home pregnancy test is a fairly straightforward process. Still, when it comes to finding out whether or not you’ve been able to get pregnant, you want to make sure you’re doing it right. While the directions on the packaging are, of course, your best source of instruction, there are some other important steps and points you need to keep in mind:
- Check the expiration date. If you bought a stash of home pregnancy tests during your first pregnancy and now you’re trying for baby number three, chances are pretty good that stash may have lost its effectiveness. The test strip chemicals do deteriorate over time. Even if it’s not expired, if you’ve kept it someplace warm and moist, chances are it will deteriorate, as well.
- You should use a home pregnancy test in the morning. When you first get up, your urine is the most concentrated it will be all day.
- Collect your urine per the instructions. Some tests can be placed directly in the urine stream, while others will require you to collect a urine sample in a cup and either apply the urine to the test via a dropper or even dip the test into the urine.
- Carefully read how to interpret the home pregnancy test results. Tests can vary quite a bit about how they indicate pregnancy. Some have a plus or minus sign, some change color.
- Be aware of the control indicator. In many cases, pregnancy tests have a second symbol or line that will help indicate if the test is faulty. If that indicator doesn’t show up, then the test results may not be reliable and you should check with the manufacturer about a replacement.
- If you get only a feint line, wait a few days and try again (if your period hasn’t returned). That will help you get a more definitive answer.
- Don’t assume that a negative result means you’re not pregnant. It can take some time for the hCG levels to build up in your system and be measured. Usually, however, a test will indicate a positive once you’ve completely missed your period if you are pregnant.