Peeing on a stick: How to make sure your pregnancy test is as accurate as possible
We've probably all heard the stories - somebody takes a pregnancy test... only to discover a couple of weeks (or longer!) later that the result wasn't correct.
In short, however, this 'incorrect' result is more likely to be caused by simply taking the test at the wrong time.
The good news is that these days pregnancy tests are incredibly accurate. Still, no one wants the emotional rollercoaster of getting a misleading positive or negative.
So here's a quick-fire guide to getting it right:
1) Know how it all works:
They all work the same way - by detecting pregnancy hormones in your urine: a chemical strip on the test detects human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which the body starts producing after an embryo implants. Some tests also detect hyperglycosylated hCG (H-hCG), which starts being released some time after fertilisation - and can be detected before hCG.
2) Be patient:
When you think you may be pregnant holding out is agonising. But the fact is that the earlier you take the test, the less accurate it is. In fact, it's possible to get a 'not pregnant' result when you're actually three or four weeks' gone. To be safe, wait until the day you're due your period. The most accurate result will actually be the week after your period is due.
3) Time it well:
Take the test when you go to the toilet first thing in the morning - when your hormone levels are at their highest.
4) Read carefully:
Actually read the instructions! Different manufacturers have different techniques and it's really important that you understand what's being asked. Also, make sure the test hasn't expired, since that may affect the accuracy of the result.
5) Faint results?
If you see even the smallest hint of a line or a plus sign - you might be confused. In all likelihood - you are pregnant... but it's best to wait a few days and retest when the result should be stronger and clearer.