Home pregnancy tests are urine tests that check if there is human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (HCG) present in the urine. If there is, it usually means you are pregnant.
Pregnancy tests come in varying varieties.
The most basic type of pregnancy test is a simple strip of paper that you dip into a sample of urine. The strip of paper then changes color if you are pregnant. Some HCG strips have a one line result if you aren’t pregnant and a two line result if you are. These types of tests are the cheapest available and you can buy them in bulk packs from online pharmacies for as little as a few cents each. If you are on a budget this is an ideal option.
These are test strips encased in a plastic cover and have two result windows. You put the test stick into the urine stream while you are emptying your bladder and after a minute or two a line appears in one window to show the test is working. If you are pregnant, a second line will appear in the second window.
Cassette pregnancy tests are HCG strips encased in a cassette shaped plastic cover with two result windows and a sample window. The test comes with a pipette to drop a tiny sample of urine into the sample window. If you are pregnant, two lines will appear, one to show the test is working and another to confirm pregnancy.
Some tests show a cross for pregnancy instead of two lines. The lines may be pink or blue depending on the brand.
Digital Pregnancy Tests
These are the most expensive pregnancy tests but also the easiest to understand. Instead of having lines or crosses to diagnose pregnancy, the words and ‘Pregnant’ or ‘Not Pregnant’ will appear in the result window. If you are pregnant, some digital tests can also inform you how long ago you conceived by showing 1-2 for one to two weeks ago, 2-3 for two to three weeks ago and 3+ for more than three weeks ago.
Early Pregnancy Tests
These urine tests can detect levels of HCG lower than 10miu, associated with very early pregnancy and so can sometimes identify a pregnancy before other tests can. Some tests can diagnose pregnancy six days before the woman’s period is due so it is not always necessary to wait until your period is late if you are worried about the possibility of pregnancy or excited about having a baby. The downside of these tests is they can sometimes be inaccurate. If you test too soon it may give you a false negative (a result of not pregnant when you are), so you may have to repeat the test at a later date.
Pregnancy tests are available from supermarkets, chemists, family planning clinics, online pharmacies or your doctor.
Clearblue Digital with Conception Indicator, Clearblue. Web. 25 August 2011. http://www.clearblue.com/uk/new-clearblue-digital-pregnancy-test-with-conception-indicator.php
Home Pregnancy Tests, Accurate Pregnancy Tests. Web. 25 August 2011. http://accuratepregnancytests.com/home_pregnancy_tests.html
Access Diagnostics, Advanced Ultra Home Pregnancy Tests. Web. 25 August 2011. http://www.accessdiagnostics.co.uk/acatalog/Ultra_Home_Pregnancy_Test.html
Joanna is a freelance health writer for The Mother magazine and Suite 101 with a column on infertility, http://infertility.suite101.com/. She is author of the book, 'Breast Milk: A Natural Immunisation,' and co-author of an educational resource on disabled parenting. She is a mother of five who practised drug-free home birth, delayed cord clamping, full term breast feeding, co-sleeping, home schooling and flexi schooling and is an advocate of raising children on organic food.
Reviewed on August 25, 2011
by Maryann Gromisch
Edited by Jody Smith