Home Pregnancy Test
Omnia M Samra, MD
Bryan D Cowan, MD
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
Lee P Shulman, MD
Home Pregnancy Test Overview
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, 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 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 how long you have been pregnant and even detect possible problems with the pregnancy. Your health care provider 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 health care provider. 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.
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