What You Need to Know About Pregnancy Tests

Read on for the answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding at-home pregnancy tests

How do pregnancy tests work?

From the beginning of your pregnancy, your body produces the pregnancy hormone hCG (human Chorionic Gonadotropin) which is present in your urine in increasing amounts as your pregnancy progresses. The Early Bird Swift pregnancy test can detect very small levels of hCG as early as the first day of your missed period. There are two lines on the pregnancy test; the first is the control line which is there to show that the test is working correctly and the second is the test line. If hCG is detected the dye will be activated and the second line will appear giving a positive pregnancy result. If the second line does not show, then no hCG has been detected and it is unlikely that you are pregnant.

How soon after conceiving will a pregnancy test work?

For the most accurate results you should wait and test from the first day of your missed period. HCG levels will usually double every two to three days so testing later will yield a more accurate result. Testing too early may not give accurate results as 50-60 percent of pregnancies are self-aborted by the body at the start of your next menstrual cycle (known as chemical pregnancy or early miscarriage). Try to use a first morning urine sample as excessive fluid intake throughout the day may dilute the pregnancy hormone and may make it more difficult to detect.

How common are false positives and false negatives?

False results are not uncommon. However, more often than not, these false results are due to the test being used incorrectly. This could happen for numerous reasons such as too much or too little urine used for the test or failure to read the results within the recommended five minutes. It is very important to follow the information leaflet carefully. Make sure you have calculated the length of your cycle properly and not tested too early, a factor which may lead to false negative results. Some medications can also affect the results. If unsure about your results, try waiting 48-72 hours and re-testing.

Is there any way to make a pregnancy test more effective?

The Early Bird Pregnancy Test is over 99 percent accurate in clinical trials. For the most accurate result, it is recommended to test using the first urine of the day when the urine is the most concentrated, therefore containing the highest concentration of hCG. Always ensure you read the instructions carefully to make sure you get an accurate result. Also ensure you wait until the first day of your missed period.

Can hormonal birth control affect the result of a pregnancy test?

Hormonal methods of contraception, such as the contraceptive pill, and contraceptive implants and injections, contain the hormones oestrogen and progesterone. These hormones will not affect the result of a pregnancy test because they are not used to measure whether or not you are pregnant.

I missed a period but my test showed a negative. Is this normal?

This result could be due to not enough hCG being detected in your urine. This can happen if your urine is too diluted or if you have miscalculated the length of your cycle and tested too early. We recommend that you visit your local GP to investigate further. Women can miss their periods for numerous reasons and not be pregnant; changes in lifestyle and changes in the body can cause this to happen, but only a doctor can help to figure out the reason behind a missed period. This result could also occur during very early stages of pregnancy when the hCG levels are not high enough to be detected when using a pregnancy test.

If I think I am pregnant, should I take more than one test just to make sure?

There is no harm in taking more than one test to make sure, especially during early pregnancy when the hormone levels are lower. However, if you believe you are pregnant, are experiencing pregnancy symptoms, have taken the test correctly and followed the guidelines in the instructions and FAQ’s on our instruction leaflet, then we recommend that you consult your doctor. It is important to remember that no home test is intended to replace your doctor’s diagnosis. Your doctor can then evaluate the data obtained by the use of the pregnancy test with consideration of other clinical information for a final diagnosis of pregnancy.

How can I increase my chances of conceiving?

The best way to increase your chances of conceiving is to have intercourse at the correct time of your menstrual cycle. You can track your ovulation by using ovulation calculators/calendars and also by using Early Bird ovulation tests which include a free pregnancy test inside as well as all of the information you need in your pregnancy journey.

Doctors also recommend that in order to increase your chances of conceiving, you need to cut out anything that may jeopardise your health. It is recommended to stop smoking, stop drinking alcohol and to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly. It is also advised to start taking folic acid to reduce the risk of birth defects.

What are the first steps I should take after finding out I am pregnant?

It is advised to stop smoking, stop drinking alcohol, cut down on caffeine and stick to a healthy lifestyle as soon as pregnancy is confirmed. It is also key during pregnancy to take folic acid to reduce the risk of any serious and potentially life-threatening birth defects in the baby. In addition to the above, contact your GP so that they can confirm your pregnancy and offer you free health advice.

What will happen at the first doctor’s appointment? Will I have an ultrasound?

Normally, your first doctor’s visit will be used to confirm your pregnancy. They will ask you about your previous medical history as well as crucial dates from your last menstrual cycle—this will help to predict how far along in the pregnancy you are. They will then refer you to a midwife who will then book you in for your first ultrasound or dating scan. Normally, the first ultrasound will be done between 8-14 weeks of pregnancy. This ultrasound is mainly used to confirm your due date.

A good source of information is www.earlybirdswift.co.uk, a website designed by the makers of the Early Bird Swift pregnancy and ovulation tests. They have collected much of the basic information you are likely to need via links to organisations whose primary function is to support and advise on just about any situation. You can even access the site by scanning the QR code located on the front of the pregnancy test box.

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