Shelly Mack — That time of month has come and gone, and yet your little visitor failed to make her regular appearance. Your heart skips a beat; could you be carrying a child? Whether you are thrilled at the idea or quivering in tears and wondering how you will respond, you need an answer to that question as quickly as possible. Here is what you need to know about over-the-counter pregnancy tests.
How they work
All pregnancy tests work the same. When pregnant, your body starts producing a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG. It begins about six days after the egg and sperm combine, and it grows rapidly with every passing day. According to Womenshealth.gov, the home pregnancy tests are extremely accurate. They can determine if you are pregnant within a week of missing your menses.
However, the quantative blood tests available in a doctor’s office are more advanced and can detect the smallest traces of hCG. They can detect pregnancy even before a missed period, and they can measure exactly how much hCG is present. If you have already missed a cycle and taken a home test, then the doctor may administer a simple urine test to confirm the results.
Get the two-pack
Home pregnancy tests are extremely affordable these days, and many of them even offer more than one test in the box. This is because women often worry that they’re reading it wrong or they may be a mistake. It’s wise to purchase the test that comes with an extra free one because you’re probably going to want to take a second one just to be sure. This isn’t necessary, but many women will still do it to confirm the results they are seeing.
A full bladder works better
Test manufacturers recommend using first morning urine because it has been in the bladder longer. This ensures that you have enough urine to test and that the hormones in your body will be present in the urine. However, you don’t have to wait until the next day to take your test. If you cannot wait for a good night’s sleep to discover if you are with child or not, then make sure you wait until your bladder is full. Hold your urine for at least four hours before taking the test to ensure accurate results. However, you should not drink more water to force the issue. Let nature take its course to avoid diluting your urine and skewing the results.
Make the doctor’s appointment
If the test is negative, then you should wait a few more days to be sure your period starts. If your period still has not started after a few days, then you should go see the doctor. It is possible that you are pregnant, but you are not far enough along for the hCG to register on the home test. If you are not pregnant, then you might be dealing with another problem that should be addressed.
If you are pregnant, then you should go visit your doctor to begin prenatal care. The doctor will administer another test to confirm the results and talk to you about your options. He or she can prescribe prenatal vitamins to help you baby grow, and you can get a referral to a good obstetrician in your area.
Whether you have been praying for a little bundle of joy or you are hoping that your period is just a few days late, a home pregnancy test can answer the burning question. These tests are incredibly effective, safe, and affordable. If you are pregnant, you should make an appointment to see your doctor immediately to begin prenatal care. You should also see the family doctor if you are pregnant and your period still does not start after a few days.