How accurate are home pregnancy tests?

Home pregnancy tests are extremely accurate if they are carried out properly. Most tests guarantee a 99 percent success rate if you follow the instructions carefully but many tests may not be able to confirm pregnancy very early on, even when they claim to be accurate from the day of your missed period. When used properly home pregnancy tests are as accurate and reliable as those carried out by health professionals.

The factors which determine the accuracy of the results are outlined below:

  • Using the test properly: it is important to use the test properly and follow the instructions carefully; this will increase the likelihood of a reliable result. Instructions will tell you how to carry out the test and how long to wait before you check the results.
  • When the test is taken: test results are more accurate around a week after you miss your period; many tests do not detect the pregnancy hormone HCG very soon after conception. Doctors advise taking the test in the morning, as the urine is more concentrated at this time of day.
  • Individual differences: everyone is different and some women have a larger amount of HCG in their urine than other women; some women may not have enough HCG to show up on a test until around a week after a missed period, while others will be able to get an accurate result on the first day after a missed period.
  • Storage: make sure you keep your test at room temperature as extreme changes in temperature can affect the accuracy of the test.
  • Drinking: try not to drink a lot before you take your test, as this can affect the concentration of the pregnancy hormone in the urine.
  • Expiration date: make sure your test is not past its expiration date.

Most women find it beneficial to take two tests to make sure their result is accurate; many brands now sell packs of two tests, which are more cost-effective.

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