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Home Pregnancy Test

How Does a Home Pregnancy Test Work?

Patient Comments
  • If you think you are pregnant, you may want to test yourself at home with a home pregnancy test. You can buy test kits at a drug store without a prescription. Home use kits measure a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine. However, these tests are qualitative, and the results are either positive or negative for pregnancy.
  • The most sensitive test of pregnancy is best performed by a laboratory using a sample of your blood. These tests not only detect human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) but also can indicate the amount (quantitative tests) of the hormone, which doubles every 2-3 days during the first several weeks of pregnancy. These more sensitive tests can tell you approximately how long you have been pregnant and even detect specific problems with the pregnancy. Your doctor can perform this test.
  • Initially, many women prefer the privacy, convenience, and quick results from home test kits. Home pregnancy tests are not as accurate as blood tests done by your doctor. They also cannot determine if your pregnancy is developing as expected.
  • The hormone hCG may be detected in urine about 2 weeks after conception (when the egg is fertilized by sperm).
  • With the home test kit, you place a drop of your urine on a prepared chemical strip. It usually takes 1 or 2 minutes for the strip to indicate the result.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/6/2016
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Home Pregnancy Test - Results

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Home Pregnancy Test - Experience

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Home Pregnancy Tests

How Many Home Pregnancy Test Types Are There ?

There are two basic types of home pregnancy tests.

  • The most common types of home pregnancy tests use a test strip or dipstick that you hold in the urine stream or dip into a sample of urine. An area on the end of the dipstick or test strip changes color if hCG is present, meaning you are pregnant.
  • A second type uses a urine collection cup with a test device. To use this type of test, you may place several drops of urine into a well in the test device or you put the test device into urine collected in a cup. An area of the device changes color if hCG is present, meaning you are pregnant.



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