We always hear home pregnancy test brands boast of their accuracy. Some even claim they can give results before a missed period. But is this always true? In a perfect world, these tests would be as accurate as they claim to be, but there are a lot of factors that could impact your result. Here is a look at what can, and cannot affect your at-home pregnancy test.
Birth control cannot give you a false positive or a false negative. At home pregnancy tests rely on a hormone called hCG to detect pregnancy. This hormone is not a component of any common birth control methods including the pill or IUD. While the most reliable contraceptives on the market today are hormone based, the hormones in these methods are usually estrogen and progesterone. Neither estrogen or progesterone impact pregnancy tests.
Taking a pregnancy test at the wrong time can absolutely cause a false negative. While many tests claim they can reveal a pregnancy before a missed period, this is not the case for all women. The body produces hCG in very low levels at the beginning of pregnancy, and these levels are not yet high enough to be found during a home pregnancy test.
As your pregnancy progresses, hCG levels will double every 48 to 72 hours. The higher they become the more likely you are to get a positive result. Testing before your hCG rises to a detectable level is a sure way to get a false negative.
Pregnancy tests need an adequate concentration of the hCG hormone to detect pregnancy, which means diluted urine can give you a false negative. Avoid drinking too much water when you plan on testing, and never test your urine once it has been in the toilet. To get the highest concentration of hCG, try to test first thing in the morning before you have had anything to drink.
When it comes to medications some drugs may cause false positives. Common drugs like over the counter medications and antibiotics will not affect your pregnancy test, however many fertility drugs like Profasi, and Pregnyl can. These medications help women get pregnant and contain conception stimulating hormones which can give inaccurate results. If you are taking any medications that contain hormones associated with conception or pregnancy, speak to your doctor before testing.
Following the exact instructions that come with your pregnancy test is the best way to ensure accuracy. If you have any concerns about what your pregnancy test is telling you, it is best to speak with your doctor. When in doubt, they may recommend performing a pregnancy test on your blood. This is done in their office quickly and easily, and it provides the most accurate results possible.