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What Do These Lines Mean? 9 Little-Known Facts About the Home Pregnancy Test

home pregnancy test

Marc Kaplan |

One hundred twenty-three million women become pregnant per year. Most of them find out by taking a home pregnancy test. 

Pregnancy tests are such a regular part of our lives, lining the shelves of stores almost everywhere. But where did the pregnancy test come from? They haven't been around forever!

Keep reading to find out more about this exciting and convenient device!

What is A Home Pregnancy Test

When a woman becomes pregnant, her body will start producing a hormone called a human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This hormone is detected in the blood and the urine and is only produced during pregnancy because it is given off by the early developing placenta. 

Doctors can confirm pregnancy by initiating a blood test to check for hCG. However, this requires a doctor's visit and may take a few days to get the results. 

A home pregnancy test gives you results in as little as a few minutes. This is because it measures the hCG levels within your urine. You don't need to pay to visit a doctor to find out if you're pregnant!

You can purchase a pregnancy test almost anywhere, even an online store

9 Facts About Home Pregnancy Tests

Want to know more about home pregnancy tests? Here are some intriguing facts you may not know!

1. Test Early

If you think you're pregnant, you can test as early as a few days before your period. Some pregnancy tests very sensitive and claims you can see results a week or so before your period. Even low levels of hCG can be detected ten days after ovulation. 

Testing early may or may not give you a positive reading, though.

One way to ensure you get the best results is to follow the directions exactly in the test package. 

2. Faint Lines

Sometimes the levels of hCG in your urine are still high enough to produce a positive test, though the lines might not show clearly. Unclear lines should not be taken as a negative result, because even faint lines can indicate a pregnancy.

Not all home tests show lines. Some have become more user-friendly by using the words, 'Pregnant' or 'Not Pregnant' to give the user a more definite answer. 

3. You Can Test Again

Getting a false reading on your pregnancy test can be frustrating, especially if you're certain your pregnant. The reality is that it's possible you've tested too early, or the amount of hCG in your urine isn't detectable through the test yet. 

You can always test again in a few days or another week when the levels are higher. Even if you get a positive result, most doctors recommend you test again to be sure. 

4. False Positive

A false positive is when a test shows you're pregnant, but you're not. There are many reasons for this, but it could be due to certain medications, an ectopic pregnancy, other medical conditions, miscarriage, or misusing the test. 

If you do receive what you think is a false positive, test again. Another positive result usually means you are pregnant, but visit a doctor to get a blood test for a precise diagnosis. 

5. Best Time to Test

Typically, doctors will tell you that the best time to test is in the morning. This is because the levels of hCG will be higher due to not urinating for several hours. 

Of course, you can always test any time of the day, but early morning urine will likely give you the best results when followed correctly. 

6. The Ancient World Tested, Too

Did you know that ancient people like the Egyptians had their form of home pregnancy tests? It's true!

The Egyptians, for example, would have women urinate on wheat and barely seeds. If the grain showed growth, this meant she was having a girl, but if the barely sprouted, a boy was on the way. No increase in either seed meant not pregnant. 

Centuries later, many people believed looking at or 'reading' urine like you read a crystal ball, would let you know if you were pregnant. In the late 1920s, physicians discovered that injecting an animal, like a rabbit, with the urine of pregnant women resulted in its death, indicating a pregnancy. 

7. How Accurate Are Home Pregnancy Tests?

Most pregnancy tests are incredibly accurate, boasting a 99% accuracy rating. Your method of taking the test has much to do with the result. Following the directions exactly, step-by-step produces the most accurate reading. 

8. You Still Need to See A Doctor

While home pregnancy tests are usually positive, it's still essential to follow up with your doctor or OB/GYN. You'll need this appointment to check up and confirm the pregnancy via a blood test or ultrasound. Your doctor will want to see you every few weeks to continue watching the growth of you and your baby, and based on the last date of your menstrual period, they'll give you a due date. 

9. Tests Do Expire

Most pregnancy tests have a shelf-life of about two years. If you receive a false positive, and still think you're pregnant, check the expiration date on the packaging. There's a good chance the test might be expired and won't work correctly. 

Home Pregnancy Tests: Good Devices For Good News

Home pregnancy tests are easy enough to use and make discovering one of the most critical moments of your life incredibly easy. They're economical and readily available at almost any store, either physically or online. 

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