Home Pregnancy Test – What, Why, When & How!

So you missed your period! What next? Well, firstly calm yourself and chill out. Even if you were planning on getting pregnant – all this is too much to take it at once. Once you have gathered your emotions, then run to the drugstore and buy yourself an HPT. This will help you put your mind to ease.

What is an HPT?

An HPT is a home pregnancy test!  You can easily buy test kits at a  store without a prescription. Home use kits measure a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine. Keep in mind, this is a qualitative test (confirms either a positive or negative for pregnancy).

Why do you have to take a Home Pregnancy Test?

Initially, if you are unsure of your pregnancy and are doubtful, then to confirm if you are pregnant or not, an HPT is your best bet. You have numerous over-the-counter brands which are easily accessible all over without prescription (as it is a diagnostic aid). An HPT allows you privacy, convenience, and immediate results – that way your mind is put at ease instead of debating about the outcome.

When is it a right time to take a Home Pregnancy Test?

One school of thought suggests, taking a pregnancy test “the day after your expected period“and another school of thought suggests taking the HPT “a week after your expected period“. In both the cases, the pregnancy test is done with the “first urination of the day” (in the morning hours as the hCG levels are higher).

Scientifically speaking, the right time to take an HPT is post-implantation. This is generally 2 weeks after conception (when the sperm fuses with the ovum).

You would just need 2-3 drops of your urine for the test and to avoid errors, read it within 2-5 minutes.

Errors in an HPT:

As this is a qualitative test, there may be a scope of errors. In most cases, they may be a false negative ( a wrong confirmation of the absence of pregnancy when it is present) or false positive (a wrong confirmation of the presence of pregnancy when there is none) which can be due to:

  • false handling (insufficient urine, reading too quick/too late, not following instructions properly
  • getting an HPT too early on (in case of false negative)

It should be known that an HPT is not accurate when done with blood tests done by experienced professionals. They also do not assess if your pregnancy is pregnancy as expected.

How to take a Home Pregnancy Test?

It goes without saying that, to get the best results from any HPT, follow the instructions that come within the kit.

  • Read the fine print & instructions carefully: Go through the instructions and illustrations & make sure you understand how to perform the test.
    • The instructions will give the following information:
      • What the test is for/not
      • Collection and storage of your urine sample
      • When to run the test (including timing)
      • How to run the test & interpret the results
      • Errors while performing the test
      • The manufacturer’s phone number for queries
  • Use only government approved unexpired HPT’s: Ask the pharmacist for an HPT from a well reputed pharmaceutical company (eg; CDSCO approved, FDA approved). It should also be a recently manufactured one (as an old one may lead to a false positive or false negative)
  • Follow all instructions: You must follow all test instructions to get an accurate result. Most home tests require specific timing, materials, and sample amounts. You should also check the expiration dates and storage conditions before performing a test to make sure the components still work correctly.
  • Keep a record: A record of your tests need to be kept especially if more than one has been taken.
  • Call the helpline on the HPT if you have any questions.
  • When in doubt, contact your gyneac: Whether the test is positive or negative, speaking to your gyneac would be an asset (especially if you are trying to get pregnant).





Dr. Aishwarya Rajeev has completed her MDS degree and is currently pursuing her PhD. She is an avid reader and loves to teach and write!

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