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Early Pregnancy Tests

Early pregnancy tests, also known as EPT’s, look for a hormone present in the urine or blood called Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG). One myth is that you need to wait until your first missed period to begin testing. While that may be the case with many drugstore brands, more sensitive tests allow you to begin testing a handful of days before your missed period - at around 10 days past ovulation.

While pregnancy myths are always circulating throughout the grapevine, there are also pregnancy test myths. Some myths are fiction and some are based on actual facts.

Early pregnancy testing determines pregnancy through the detection of the hormone hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) in a woman's urine. hCG is secreted by the developing placenta shortly after a fertilized egg has implanted in the uterine lining. This makes hCG an excellent, reliable marker for discovering if you are pregnant. Pregnancy tests come in two common formats: tests strips and midstream tests. To use a pregnancy test strip, you fill a container with urine and hold the test strip in the container for several seconds. With midstream tests, you simply hold the test in your stream of urine. Please do read the early pregnancy test instructions carefully for accurate results.

While taking an early pregnancy test, a first morning urine sample will provide a more concentrated presence of hCG, allowing you to detect pregnancy sooner. However, if you flush the body with liquids before collecting a urine sample, it may dilute the presence of hCG, hence producing inaccurate results.

Interpreting early pregnancy test results is a very simple process. Once the reaction time of the test is complete, which is usually about five minutes, color bands will appear in the test region of the strip or midstream unit. All tests have a "control" band that indicates whether the test is working or not. The "test" band indicates a positive or negative result. Given proper testing and interpretation procedure, a faint line in the test region may be read as a positive result, though it's a good idea to verify any result with an additional test 24-48 hours later, always using first morning urine.

Everyone always wonders how soon you can test to determine if you are pregnant or not. The most sensitive early pregnancy testing kits can detect hCG levels at as low as 20 mIU (International Units). This level of hCG is present in the urine of pregnant women at about 7 to 10 days past ovulation. If you are fertility charting with a basal thermometer, or using ovulation tests, you'll know when to begin testing for pregnancy. Test sensitivity equates with early detection and the lower the number; the sooner a test can detect pregnancy. If pregnant, the amount of hCG in your system should be around 25 mIU at 10 dpo (days past ovulation), 50 mIU at 12 dpo, 100 mIU at around two weeks dpo. Early pregnancy testing kits are the most sensitive available, sensitive to 20 mIU/hCG. For earliest detection of pregnancy always use first morning urine, as this urine sample contains the most concentrated amount of hCG.

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