Myths and Facts About At-Home Pregnancy Testing

Myths and Facts About At-Home Pregnancy Testing

You run into your pharmacy to pick up a pregnancy test kit, and you wonder just how accurate these tests are and whether there’s a large margin for error. After all, you’re relying on something that costs under $20 to deliver some potentially life-changing news.

To help, Dr. David Foulk and our team of pregnancy experts here at Marion Ob/Gyn decided to present a few facts and debunk a few myths about at-home pregnancy testing.

Solid track record for accuracy

All over-the-counter pregnancy kits test for pregnancy in the same way: They detect the presence of the pregnancy-related hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine. 

When a fertilized egg implants in your uterus, it quickly forms a placenta, which produces hCG. The production of this hormone doubles every two to three days during early pregnancy and enters your bloodstream and urine.

Most tests boast 99% accuracy, and this is generally true, as the presence of hCG typically only means one thing — you're pregnant.

Conditions that may affect your results

While at-home pregnancy testing is generally accurate, there are times when your results may not be accurate. For example, if you’re taking any fertility treatments or medications that contain hCG, you might test positive for hCG and not be pregnant. 

Some women can test false positive if they have an early pregnancy loss or they have an ectopic pregnancy, though these situations are relatively rare.

You can also test negative if you test too early, which is why we recommend that you test twice, a week apart.

DIY at-home pregnancy testing

If you’ve read about do-it-yourself pregnancy kits, such as using shampoo, sugar, bleach, or toothpaste, we strongly advise against this practice. Some claim that if you mix one of these substances with your urine, it can detect hCG by fizzing or changing color. 

This is false and any reactions are likely due to mixing the acid in your urine with ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate, which is what makes many household products foam.

Better time of day for testing?

You may have heard that you should test at a certain time of the day, and there is some truth to this. If you test in the morning, your urine isn’t as diluted. This isn’t to say that testing at other times of the day isn’t going to work, but to boost the accuracy a little, we recommend morning testing.

The answer is all you need

You test at home, find out you’re pregnant, and you figure you’ll just let Mother Nature run its course. But your pregnancy test should be your first step, so as soon as you receive your positive results, make an appointment to come see us.

During this all-important first visit, we confirm your pregnancy, create a timeline, review your health, and create the best prenatal plan moving forward to support your pregnancy.

While we hesitate to use scare tactics, the Office on Women’s Health reports that if you don’t get prenatal care, your baby is three times more likely to have a low birth weight and five times more likely to die than if you do get prenatal care.

To schedule your prenatal appointment or if you have more questions about at-home pregnancy testing, please contact our office in Marion, Ohio.

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