Are pregnancy tests accurate? Good question! If you’re trying to get pregnant or have missed your period, this is something you’re going to want to know! What’s the point in peeing on a stick if it’s not going to produce an accurate result, right?
The short answer is yes, pregnancy tests are accurate if they are done correctly. Home pregnancy tests are about 99% accurate, provided you follow the test’s instructions carefully.
Pregnancy tests are most reliable from the first day of your missed period. However, if you aren’t sure when your next period is due, do a pregnancy test at least 21 days after you think you may have gotten pregnant or the last time you had unprotected sex.
How do pregnancy tests work?
Home pregnancy tests detect hCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone produced about six days after fertilisation. This hormone is produced during pregnancy. There are some other instances when hCG may be in your body but these instances are incredibly rare.
Most home pregnancy tests can detect levels of 20 mIU/ml or more but some can detect even lower lowers. Blood tests can detect hCG hormone levels as low as 5 to 10 mIU/ml. So, if you see a pink line, it means your hCG levels are reading higher than 20 mUI/ml.
The typical home pregnancy test comes in a box that contains either one or two sticks that have a pregnancy test strip. You apply pee on the strip, and the strip will tell you if you’re pregnant or not. There are a few ways to do this:
- A testing stick where you pee in a cup and dip the stick in.
- A dropper where you collect your pee in a cup, extract some with a dropper and drop a few drops into the test.
- A pregnancy test where you pee directly onto the test.
Results appear on the test after a few minutes. Depending on the pregnancy test brand, it might show a plus sign, two lines, or the word “pregnant” when hCG is detected.
Remember that different brands will show the results differently and will take different amounts of time to show the result.
How to get an accurate pregnancy test?
There are several ways to ensure an accurate pregnancy test:
- Remember that your first morning pee is the best time to take a pregnancy test. This is when the hCG levels in the body are highest.
- Don’t drink too many liquids before your pregnancy test because it might dilute the hCG levels in your pee.
- Follow test instructions carefully.
The most accurate pregnancy tests in Australia
Here are the four most popular, readily available and accurate pregnancy testing brands in Australia today (in no particular order):
Pregnosis pregnancy tests are easy to use and accurately detect levels of hCG as low at 10IU/L in urine. Pregnosis can be used to test up to 6 days before your missed period. There are a few different Pregnosis types including the In-Stream Early Detection Test as well as their Digital version. Pregnosis is also one of the cheaper pregnancy test brands.
First Response is another affordable pregnancy test option that also comes with peace of mind for accuracy. They’ve got several options too – a Digital version that says “yes” or “no”, a Dip and Read choice or an In-Stream pregnancy test.
The First Response Test and Reassure Kit is especially great as it contains one in-stream test and one digital test. This is great for mums-to-be who want to double-check their results immediately.
This pregnancy test can be used for pregnancy as early as seven to 10 days after conception. Crystal Clear is affordable and widely available. If you’re after a no-muss, no-fuss option, this one is a good choice.
Clearblue is a favourite for expecting mums because of their Digital Pregnancy Tests which not only use the word “pregnant”, removing the need to determine if there’s a pink line or not, but their Weeks Indicator tests also tell you how many weeks pregnant you are. They are slightly more expensive but for many parents, they are worth it.
Additional pregnancy test brands to consider:
All of these pregnancy tests are also accurate but remember that false negatives can happen when you test too early and there is not enough hCG in your system yet. False positives can also occur, although extremely rare.
The best way to confirm a pregnancy is still to check with your doctor and have a blood test or ultrasound. If you can’t head to your doctor just yet, then a home pregnancy test is a good first step to finding out what the next nine months will look like for you and your family.