Women who are trying to conceive may often rely on a urine test to find out if they have successfully conceived. While a blood test can give more accurate results, a urine test is more affordable, convenient, and protect privacy (since it can be done at home too). This is why urine pregnancy tests are more popular than blood tests.
Urine Pregnancy Test at Home
Home urine pregnancy tests are based on the fact that the placenta developing in a pregnant woman produces a hormone called HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) also known as the pregnancy hormone. A home pregnancy test if done at the right time and in the right way can detect the presence of this hormone in the urine thereby confirming the pregnancy.
When to Do Urine Pregnancy Test
You might wonder when to take a urine pregnancy test. Doctors usually recommend a waiting period of almost two weeks after missing a period before doing the urine pregnancy test. However, a few tests are more powerful as compared to others and may not require a two weeks waiting period.
What Does the Test Show
The test confirms the presence of the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in a woman’s urine. The test is qualitative and does not indicate the amount of the hormone in the urine which can only be determined by a blood test. The occurrence of hormone hCG in the urine is a positive indication of pregnancy.
Steps to Follow to Perform Urine Pregnancy Test with Accuracy
Most home urine pregnancy test kits come with a set of detailed instructions. Please follow the instructions carefully to achieve accurate results. Some of the steps may include:
1. Calculate the missed period date
Take note of the first day of the last period you had. From there, count forward to 28 or 35 days (based on your usual cycle duration). The resulting date is the probable date your period should have started. This is your missed period date.
2. Know when to perform the test
Calculate 2 weeks forward from your missed period date. This should be the day when you take the test. Remember that testing prematurely may produce a false negative test.
3. Select the right test
Go for a home pregnancy test which is most reputable. Also, check the expiry date of the home pregnancy urine test kit while buying one. The more recent the date of manufacturing, the more accurate the results will be. Examine the condition of the pregnancy kit for any damage.
4. Carefully open the test
Take extra care not to touch the sensitive activation tab while opening the test kit. Wearing a pair of gloves may be a good idea.
5. Test using the morning urine
Using the morning urine for the test is more likely to yield correct results. The first urine of the day which is the morning urine is more concentrated and likely to have higher levels of hormone hCG.
6. Stream test or Dip test
Some test may involve placing the pregnancy test stick underneath the urine stream for a few seconds until it soaks fully. Some urine testing kits may require collecting the urine sample in a cup and dipping the activation end of the stick into the urine. Other may come with a dropper to put few drops of collected urine on the stick.
7. Different time requirements
Different brands of pregnancy test kits may have varying specifications for the waiting period of the result or the symbols used to define the results. Familiarize yourself with the instructions carefully to understand the results better. Reading a test after the lapse of the maximum time mentioned may not give an accurate picture as it can generate a false positive evaporation streak.
Most pregnancy tests are digital these days and indicate result as positive and negative leaving less scope for misreading the test result. In case the test result is demonstrating a faint line, it is wise to take the test again with the next first-morning urine, probably after a couple of days
9. Validate with a blood test
You may like to verify the positive result of a home pregnancy test by running a blood test at a clinic. An additional benefit of a blood test is that it may also let you know the gestational age of the foetus, in case the test was positive. In case the pregnancy test result is negative but your periods don’t start within a week, taking a blood test can help eliminate the possibility of a pregnancy.
10. Mentally prepare yourself
Testing for pregnancy can prompt many mixed feelings. A first timer is likely to be nervous whereas one may be disappointed if the test results are not as expected. Preparing yourself mentally and engaging the support of your partner and family at such a time may prove crucial.
What Do Pregnancy Urine Test Results Mean
It is imperative to know how to read the pregnancy urine test results properly.
1. If Urine Pregnancy Test is Positive
While different brands may have diverse symbols, the appearance of a second line, however faint, on the pregnancy test stick (after the first line appears) indicates that the result is positive. In case you feel that the line is too light and cannot be considered conclusive you may take a retest the following morning. Next, you may like to fix an appointment with the doctor. The doctor may suggest a blood test to verify the urine test results.
2. If Urine Pregnancy Test is Negative
In case the urine pregnancy test is negative despite missing your periods it is desirable to wait for some time and take a retest. Many times, a false negative may show up due to miscalculation of ovulation date or performing the test earlier than specified.
Are Home Pregnancy Tests 100% Accurate
Usually, urine pregnancy test accuracy is not questionable though home pregnancy tests may not be 100% accurate. They claim to be almost 99% accurate if done correctly, and at the right time since your missed period date. The accuracy of the home pregnancy tests depends on how carefully and systematically the mentioned instructions were followed. But there is always a scope for human error which may put a question mark on 100% accuracy of these tests.
Causes of False Positive Result
Some of the causes of false positive result can be:
1. Early miscarriage
In an instance of an early miscarriage where a woman may have conceived but lost her baby immediately after its implantation, it can lead to a false positive result.
2. Delayed reaction time
Sometimes interpreting the results after the lapse of the recommended time can produce a wrong result. Reading the result after too long a delay can become a cause of a false positive.
In some cases, women undergoing certain medical treatments like that for fertility which includes additional shots of hCG may confuse the results. It is vital to allow your system enough time to clear the effect of any hCG shot before taking the pregnancy test.
4. Evaporation line
At times a deceptive line in a different colour may appear on the stick. It may seem quite like the positive line which may result in a false positive result.
Causes of False Negative Result
Likely causes of false negative result can be:
1. Testing hastily
Undertaking the pregnancy test hurriedly or taking it immediately after missed periods is likely to trigger a false negative result.
2. Less sensitivity
There is a possibility that the pregnancy test strip may be low in sensitivity due to which it errs while sensing the hCG levels. Low sensitivity can be owing to a manufacturing defect.
3. Diluted urine
In case you use a diluted sample of the urine for the test, it can increase the chances of obscure or a false negative result.
Urine Test at Gynaecologist’s Clinic
It is common for doctors to recommend a urinalysis in pregnancy. At the time of your first prenatal visit to the doctor, a urine test may be carried out to substantiate the results of the home pregnancy test and also to detect any probable anomalies. You may be required to take periodic urine tests during your subsequent prenatal schedules.
Why is Urine Test Done at Clinic
A clinical urine test is commonly done to:
- A urine test may be recommended by your doctor as a routine pregnancy check-up for ruling out the possibility of certain disorders like liver issues and diabetes.
- A urine test may be needed to establish your medical condition and find out the reason for likely problems like abdominal pain, back pain, pain during urination.
- Urinalysis may be conducted as part of regular treatment to monitor a woman’s medical ailments like urinary disorders or other irregularities relating to the kidney.
How is Clinical Urine Test Evaluated
A woman taking a urine test may wish to know can urine pregnancy test be wrong. The answer is this is highly unlikely. A urine test report for pregnancy is usually prepared after careful evaluation in three ways:
1. Visual Examination
The pathologist may examine the colour of your urine to check if it is cloudy or clear. Any unfamiliar odour or unusual colour may be indicative of an infection. At times, consumption of certain foods like rhubarb or beets can affect the colour of your urine giving it a red hue.
2. Dipstick Test
Dipsticks are thin plastic strips that may be dipped in a urine sample to evaluate certain indicators like pH acidity, sugar quantity, ketones, protein levels, the presence of bilirubin, blood.
3. Microscopic Examination
A urine sample may be observed through a microscope to assess the red blood cells, the incidence of cast-tube-shaped proteins, white blood cells, yeast or bacteria, crystals to determine any possible irregularities.
There can be several issues influencing the correctness of a urine pregnancy test results done at home. So, pregnant women need to understand the best likely way and time to execute a urine pregnancy test at home to prevent any false positive or negative results. A home pregnancy test may be followed by a clinical urine test to authenticate the outcome of a home pregnancy test.