So, you’re trying to conceive. You’re doing everything right from your diet and fitness to perfectly mapping out your ovulation cycle. You finally get to the point where you think all the trying may have paid off, so you unwrap that at home pregnancy test, get down to business, wait the excruciatingly long 3 minutes, then BOOM – “Umm what am I looking at here? Does that look like a plus sign to you? Are we supposed to be seeing blue? It’s really faint. What do you think that means?”
This happens so often, to so many of my clients that I’ve decided to come up with a quick little guide on how to accurately read a pregnancy test. After all, this is one of the most pivotal moments of your life, don’t you want to be sure?
Step 1: Ensuring you get the most accurate results
The general rule for taking an at home pregnancy test is to wait at least a week after your missed period to increase the chances of more accurate results. It’s also a good idea to take the test in the morning when the urine is at its most potent. If you’re really eager and just can’t wait, there are certain brands that are more sensitive and can be taken closer to your missed period but still do it with your early morning pee-as soon as you get out of bed and after the sun is up.
Step 2: Following instructions
Now, you’d think I wouldn’t have to say this, but when taking an at home pregnancy test, make sure to read the directions carefully and follow them exactly. There are many different brands of tests and some of their methods differ slightly. For example, some tests may want you to urinate directly on the felt stick. Others may want you to pee in a cup and leave the test submerged in the urine. No matter the instructions, just be sure to follow them to a T!
Step 3: Reading your results
The importance of reading the instructions comes into play here also. Each different test has its own special indicator to let you know whether or not you’re pregnant. Some may be digital and flat out say “Pregnant” or “Not Pregnant”. Others may have different symbols that you’re meant to decipher from the test instructions (one or two vertical lines; + vs. – symbols etc.). Either way, it’s important to know what you’re looking for.
Pregnancy tests measure hCG (Human chorionic gonadotropin), a hormone that appears in the urine once the egg has attached to the uterus. After that, it increases slowly over the duration of your pregnancy. It’s possible to take a pregnancy test and to get very light or faint positive results because we don’t know how long it takes for the fertilized egg to attach to the uterine lining (implantation). The good news is that even faint positive is still positive!
If your pregnancy test shows positive results, your next step is to book an appointment with your doctor to confirm and then… your Doula. While at home pregnancy test results are much better than they used to be, they’re still only 99% effective. Booking with your doctor to run the full pregnancy test is the best way to make sure you’re not part of the 1% of false positives.
Trying to conceive can be as stressful as it can be exciting. Be sure about your results!