Understanding how to read a pregnancy test result

Time to read 5 min

Pregnancy tests can be purchased from different manufacturers and across online and retail stores. This means that you can buy different types of pregnancy tests and would need to know how to read a pregnancy test across each brand.

You can follow the instructions mentioned in the kit, and get a sense of the reference diagram with regards to the test results. This should show you exactly what marker and test level to look for when checking.

Some tests provide a control and test line, denoted by C and T, which indicate whether a positive, negative, or invalid reading is made available. You can take the right call depending on what results emerge after taking the test.

Home pregnancy tests that show a positive result, indicate the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin hCG in the urine. With at home testing in your washroom, being convenient for women across the country, it is important to know how a pregnancy test works and how to read results.

You should also know how to select the right pregnancy test for you. There may be different brands available in the market, but you should select the one that is designed by a reputable and known brand.

You should also use one that is ergonomic, can measure hCG levels, and has clear indicators showcasing whether you are pregnant or not. The packaging sturdiness is another key factor that you should consider, as a flimsy package can be easily compromised.

Interpreting a pregnancy test result

The main aspect of interpreting a pregnancy test is to understand what each of the indicators mean. Different tests can have different indicators, but they follow the same principle. You can review what C, T, and invalid representations are within the test used.

Positive reading

A positive pregnancy test reading can be indicated with two lines, one on C and another on T. Some tests may also use a cross sign or a text based sign as well. A positive reading is markedly different from a negative reading, which is why it is easier to identify.

Negative reading

You can get a negative reading with the absence of the T line or demarcation. This indicates that you are not pregnant, and that the test is not invalid. This is important to note, as there could be a case of invalid reading as well.

Invalid reading

An invalid reading is when the urine sample or the testing kit has been compromised. This can be denoted with a weaker line or no lines present anywhere. You can take another test and replace the results with another option.

When is the best time to take a pregnancy test?

The most important aspect of a pregnancy test is how effectively you take one by following all the instructions. A positive pregnancy test is made readable when the indicator denotes that you are pregnant as per your hCG hormone levels.

The best time to take a pregnancy test is in the morning, which is when the levels of hCG hormones are at their peak. You can get a more accurate reading of whether your body is producing the hormone after successful conception.

You should ideally take the test the moment you purchase it, so that there is no delay in checking the results. If you find that you are getting multiple negatives, then checking in the morning may provide you with more accurate readings of hCG levels in the urine. 

How to correctly perform a pregnancy test

While each test may have a unique way of tracking for hCG hormones, the most modern tests follow a single pattern. You can follow the instructions as mentioned to ensure that you're getting the right reading for your pregnancy test.

Removing the cap from the stick

You need to start by removing the protective cap from the urine testing area. You can do so by pulling the cap out from the end of the pregnancy testing stick. This will help you get the test reading with maximum accuracy.

Ensuring no moisture on other areas

You need to ensure that you're not wetting other areas of the pregnancy stick, such as the testing results area. When you take a pregnancy test in the washroom, you need to keep one end of the stick dry.

Urinating on the designated area

You can start by placing the stick within a direct stream of urine for 5-10 seconds so that it can completely capture the urine sample for testing. The pregnancy kit will now measure the levels of hCG in the body through urine.

Closing the cap and placing it

You can now close the cap in the urine sample collection area, and place the stick on a flat platform. This can help you know with greater accuracy whether you are pregnant, as the sample is not contaminated by other elements.

Waiting for a few minutes

Most manufacturers recommend a 2-3 minute window for the testing results to show-up in the reader. This is so that the testing kit has adequate time to detect hCG levels in the urine through the testing mechanism.

Reading the results

You can now read the results of the pregnancy kit from the stick directly. If there is a single line on the control test level, then for most kits you are not pregnant. If you find that you have two lines on C and T then you are pregnant in most home pregnancy test kits.

Understanding invalid tests

If you find that there is no line on C and a line on T, then the test may be invalid. Pregnancy tests can be invalid for a variety of reasons, which is why you should retake another test to be completely sure.

Knowing the signs of pregnancy

When you're tracking your missed period and potential pregnancy, you should also be aware of the potential signs of a successful pregnancy. You can use these signs as a positive indicator outside of a pregnancy test as well.

A key sign is a missed period, along with cramping, bloating, mood swings, and morning sickness. You can also experience spotting, along with body aches, as a part of a successful pregnancy. You can take a pregnancy test to be completely sure about whether you are pregnant.

What are the benefits of taking multiple tests?

One of the main benefits of taking multiple tests is greater assurance. You can get results from multiple tests so that you are assured of an accurate reading. You can also test multiple times in a week so that you can also track when your body is producing hCG.

Through multiple tests, you can also capture information about hCG levels. You can understand whether your body is producing enough hormones, by getting a high-quality test from a trusted brand. Multiple tests also improve accuracy overall throughout the testing period.

* Medical Disclaimer - The following information is for educational purposes only. No information provided on this website, including text, graphic, and images, are intended as substitutes for professional medical advice. Please consult with your doctor about specific medical advice pertaining to your condition(s). 

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