Pregnancy tests are one of the easiest ways to check if you are pregnant even if you aren’t showing yet.
Any sexually active woman may need to take these tests at some point, even if they are on birth control. Whether you and your partner are trying for a baby, or if you simply want to put your mind at ease if you’re not, these little disposable tests can give you the answers that you need.
You can buy home pregnancy tests from any drug store these days, and there are many different brands to choose from. These tests use urine samples that detect certain hormones in your body that are only produced while you are pregnant.
While pregnancy tests are easy to use, there are a few things that you should keep in mind:
Tests that are more expensive aren’t necessarily more accurate
When choosing a pregnancy test, know that expensive tests aren’t necessarily more accurate than expensive ones. Pregnancy tests in the Philippines range from just 50 pesos to 200 pesos depending on the brand that you choose. Some women’s clinics even give them out for free.
The only difference between the expensive tests and the cheap ones is that it is possible to take the expensive tests a little earlier than the cheap ones, though this isn’t always the case. Some only consist of a thin paper strip, while others are encased in a plastic cassette. Occasionally, you can even find tests with digital displays, though those are rare in the Philippine market.
Pregnancy tests all function in the same way – they detect a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin, or HCG, in your urine, which is formed in the cells of the placenta once embryo implants in the uterus.
Most tests have an accuracy of 99% regardless of their price point – so don’t worry about buying the cheapest ones. Remember that you will have to check with your doctor anyway if you do get a positive result.
Never take it too early
One of the most confusing things about pregnancy tests is figuring out when you should actually take it. Most doctors recommend that you take the test after a missed period, though some tests give more accurate results if you take them at least a week after a missed period.
Alternatively, you can take the test two to three weeks after you have intercourse. Fertilization and implantation can take up 6 to 10 days after sex, which is why it is better to wait a while before you take the test. Never take it too early, as it could give you inaccurate results.
False positives are extremely rare, but false negatives are common
False positives are extremely rare and may occur only if you are taking certain medications or if you have certain medical conditions. False negatives, however, are much more common. They can occur because you took the test too early, or if you made a mistake during the testing period.
To minimize your chances of getting a false negative, take the test multiple times, at least a few days apart so that you can be sure.
Avoid contamination for the best results
To get the best possible results, you want to make sure that you take all the necessary precautions to prevent sample contamination. The best urine sample is the very first one of the morning, right after you wake up – early morning urine has a higher concentration of HCG compared to urine samples taken from later on in the day.
When collecting a sample, try to catch your urine mid-stream – this ensures that any external substances, such as soaps or powders, have already been flushed away. If you are using a cup and dropper (which are already provided in some brands of pregnancy test), be sure to avoid touching the inside of the cup or the tip of the dropper. Taking these precautions ensure an accurate result.
Pregnancy tests expire
Finally, remember that pregnancy tests expire. Always check your test’s expiration date on the package, and keep it away from heat and direct sunlight to prevent damaging its components.
Be sure to keep these things in mind the next time you are taking a pregnancy test – remember that pregnancy tests are great tools for getting answers, whether you are on birth control or not.