The simple basics of taking a HPT (Home Pregnancy Test) nowadays, really isn’t so simple anymore. There are different types, with different colored dyes, and even different Test Sensitivities. Some with two Lines, some with symbols, and even some that have a screen like a computer! Some you hold in your Urine stream, and some that require you to collect a sample in a clean, sanitary cup. And then once you decide what type of test and which brand – there’s still the uneasiness of interpreting the results correctly. It can definitely be nerve wrecking if you’re new to the game. So, I decided to make a tutorial on all of the different types of tests available and how to make sure you get the most accurate results!
Let’s start off with the different types. One of the most commonly used and most widely available – a Midstream Test!
Now normally you can hold the absorbent tip in your Urine stream, but I always recommend collecting a sample in a clean, sanitary cup. If you happen to notice that your Urine isn’t concentrated enough – you can dump it and try again later. This way, you can avoid wasting a test. You would simply dip the absorbent tip in the cup and then lay it on a dry, flat surface while you wait on the results.
A widely popular brand is the First Response Early Results, as it’s easily one of the most sensitive HPT’s on the market today that are 25mIU/ml but can detect as low as 6.5mIU/ml.
The next most commonly used Tests available is known as a Cassette Test.
You can often find these in your local dollar store and they’re usually pretty inexpensive. With these, it is necessary to collect a Urine sample in a clean, sanitary cup. You would use the dropper since there’s no absorbent tip and put 3-5 drops in the well, and Keep it on a dry, flat surface as you wait to interpret the results.
Now this one is probably one of my favorites because not only are they fairly inexpensive – they are very easy to store and do not take up much space! Mostly known as Test Strips, but also known as Dip Sticks or Internet Cheapies.
These also require you to collect a Urine sample in a clean, sanitary cup. There’s a, “Max Line,” and you shouldn’t dip the test strip past that Line in order to avoid over-saturation. Next, you simply lay it down on a dry, flat surface while waiting on the results.
Lastly, we have the ever so lovely Digital Test! Absolutely no guessing involved with this one. The only downfall with these is that they Sometimes require a higher concentration of HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) to yield a positive result, so they may not be the best at detecting early Pregnancy.
These are widely popular and are the most accurate by the first day of your missed period. You can put the absorbent tip in your Urine stream or collect a Urine sample in a clean, sanitary cup. I usually opt to collect a sample with most midstreams, but especially with a digital. If you somehow accidentally splash the top part of the test or even the screen – more than likely you’ll get a user error and that’ll be a big waste of a test, not to mention they can be more expensive, easily burning a whole in your wallet if you’re not careful. Always read the instructions beforehand on how long to hold the absorbent tip in the Urine stream or on how long to dip it into a cup. Lay it on a dry, flat surface and wait on the results. Luckily even after the timeframe you’ll never have to worry about seeing an Evaporation Line!
Now that we have gone over the different varieties of Tests out there, it’s time to go over the basics. If you’re one of those who are actively TTC (Trying To Conceive) or trying to get pregnant, you may be familiar with the (Charting Basics) and you may also be familiar with the different parts of your cycle. There are ways to track your cycle through, (Basal Body Temperature, Cervical Mucus, and Cervical Position)
The Follicular Phase is the time from the first day of your period, until Ovulation occurs and is influenced by Estrogen. Estrogen is responsible for lower temps during that part of your cycle. The Luteal Phase is the time from Ovulation until the time your Period arrives and is influenced by Progesterone, which is a heat inducing hormone that keeps your temps elevated. If you get pregnant, progesterone is necessary to help sustain a healthy Pregnancy and as a result you may notice your temps continue to remain elevated because of it. If you can pinpoint your Ovulation, you can also pinpoint the time your period would be due – giving you the benefit and heads up on whether or not your period may actually be late and that may give you the advantage of a more reliable result. Although your Follicular Phase can vary greatly from cycle to cycle, your Luteal Phase shouldn’t change. A normal LP is around 10-16 days in length.
If you notice that you’re late, it’s recommended to start testing. It is optimal to use FMU (First Morning Urine) but if you are unable to do that you can also hold your Urine for a minimal of 3-4 hours while refraining from drinking any beverages. It’s really important because diluted Urine may not contain enough HCG to yield a positive result depending on the sensitivity of the test, and also how far along you may be. Ideally you want your Urine to be dark, such as the color of Apple Juice or even Apple Cider for example.
One of the best ways to know for sure is by collecting your sample in a clean, sanitary cup. If it doesn’t look concentrated enough, you can always dump it and try again later.
Always, read the instructions carefully before taking the test to avoid any user errors. One of the biggest mistakes is reading a test outside of the timeframe and interpreting the results wrong. Pregnancy Tests are rapid, “assay,” diagnostics so it’s imperative to read them within the allotted time specified on the instructions. Anything that appears outside of the timeframe, (Regardless of color) should be considered invalid and disregarded. A Line that shows up way after the usual 5-10 minute mark, can be considered an (Evaporation Line) and although they’re usually grey or colorless – they can have a bit of Pink or Blue from time to time so don’t be fooled! Evap Lines are self explanatory, they can start to form once the Urine starts to dry on the test and it evaporates. But with that being said, (even if the test is still damp) the chemicals can still change causing some color to appear. Occassionally you can still be pregnant and have slow rising HCG that may Take longer to appear on a test. It’s not unheard of, but is quiet a rarity. I definitely wouldn’t rely on a colored Line appearing outside of the timeframe to be a true positive result! You can always wait a few days and retest if you feel you could still be pregnant. Rule of thumb: Set a timer for the 4-9 mins specified on the test, giving yourself at least 15-30 seconds to read it from the same range you would read a book. If you don’t see a Line, then throw the test away. In fact if you’re anything like me, Take the test outside, run it over a few times with your car, sweep it up and chunk the remains in a dumpster! Whatever you do, just put the pee stick down!
With that being said, once you’ve saturated the test sufficiently with enough Urine, (whether it’s a Midstream, cassette, or test strip) lay it on a flat, dry surface as the dye runs across it. A Control Line should form, indicating that the test is working properly. The chemical reagents on the Control Line will react with just about any liquid, including water. Normally if HCG is present inside of the Urine, as the Urine hits the antibody strip – the chemical reagents will react and a second Line will then start to produce. Any Line regardless of how light or dark it may be, is considered positive if it appears within the timeframe! But also be weary of the dreadful (Indent Line). It’s simply just the antibody strip and no the Tests not defective if that happens – that’s just how they’re made. Rule of thumb, if you have to break the case open and hold it up to 3 or 4 different lights than it’s probably negative. HCG doubles every 48 hours so if you suspect you could still be pregnant, wait a few days and retest! 2 lines is positive, 1 line is negative.
And with a digital you won’t have to interpret any lines whatsoever. It’ll tell you flat out and it’s unmistakable. Once you open up the foil package, that usually starts to activate the test. After the absorbent tip has been put in the Urine stream or dipped for the proper amount of time, lay the test flat on a dry surface – just as you would with any test. You will see a timer appear, and it may flash for a full 3 minutes before displaying the results. If you’re using a Clearblue Weeks Estimator, it may Take an additional 3 minutes to display how many weeks you are.
Lastly, (when using a digital) if it says, “Not Pregnant,” please do not proceed to break the case open. Digital Tests work differently than the normal dye Tests and their sensor’s read the Line intensity differently. They almost will always have at least 2 Lines, because they check for LH (Luteinizing Hormone) as well as HCG. Why you ask? I have no clue, but that’s just the way it is.
For a more in-depth tutorial on how to properly and most accurately Take a Home Pregnancy Test, watch the Video below!