Pregnancy Test Accuracy: How Reliable Is It?

November 12, 2012

Pregnancy Test Accuracy: How Reliable Is It?

Many women praise the day home pregnancy tests first became available because they could find out if they were pregnant in secret. But some women wonder about home pregnancy test accuracy. Everyone has heard a story about someone who received a false positive or false negative on a home pregnancy test. You can avoid a false reading by always testing yourself a second time, in case you made an error during the first test. This will greatly enhance your pregnancy test accuracy.

Follow the Directions

Taking a home pregnancy test isn’t brain surgery, but obstetricians and discreet girlfriends know at least woman who wouldn’t follow the test directions. Some women are illiterate and so guess how to use the test or copy the diagrams in the instructions as best as they can. Some women are so nervous that they simply cannot follow simple directions.

Not following the test directions will greatly reduce your home pregnancy test accuracy. For example, women should test first thing in the morning when their urine is most concentrated. If a woman works nights, then she would test at the time she normally wakes up. Too much fluid or water in the urine will dilute it so that any traces of hormones are dispersed too widely for a home pregnancy test to detect.

Some tests need only a few drops of urine while others need to you to hold the testing material in your urine stream for many seconds. Some tests need to be timed. Use a watch or a cooking timer because you will be too nervous to accurately guess. Some tests will warn women not to eat certain foods before taking the test or to have soap in a urine collection cup (if the test uses a cup.)

Amount of Hormones to Detect

Home pregnancy tests work like laboratory pregnancy tests do – by checking for the presence of a certain hormone called human chorionic gonatriptan or hCG. Read the directions to see how much of hCG the test can detect. Some are more sensitive than others. Ones with the best accuracy after the first day of a missed period can detect a mere 15 mIU of this crucial hormone.

Pregnant women produce more hCG in their urine when they wait until their fourth or fifth day after a missed period than the day after. Wait at least until the second day of a skipped period in order to do the test. This will also give you enough time to read the test directions and any warnings or suggestions from the manufacturer.

It’s also good to wait at least two days before taking a second test. The amount of hCG in a pregnant woman’s urine usually doubles every two days. This timing will help your second pregnancy test accuracy.


Have you been taking any fertility drugs in the last month? Then your urine will be full of hCG from the drugs and this will negate your home pregnancy test accuracy. Methadone and some antibiotics can also cause inaccurate test results.

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