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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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Woman checks her pregnancy status

Early Signs & Symptoms of Pregnancy

Symptoms of pregnancy include the following:

  • Breast tenderness
  • Nausea, vomiting, or both
  • Missing a period or having an abnormal period
  • Weight gain
  • Breast enlargement, nipples darkening, or breast discharge
  • Urinating more frequently than usual
  • Fetal movement (may be perceived after 20 weeks for new mothers)

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Pregnancy Diagnosis »

The diagnosis of pregnancy requires a multifaceted approach using 3 main diagnostic tools.

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