What is an at-home pregnancy test?

Pregnancy tests are used to detect the amount of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin, the “pregnancy hormone”) in urine or blood. Small amounts of this hormone are present in a woman’s body at all times, and the amount increases during pregnancy. Rising levels of hCG can be detected in both urine and blood around day 23 of a 28-day cycle, or five days before the next expected period. The pregnancy stick gives a positive result when it comes into contact with a high enough level of hCG.1

Are at-home pregnancy tests accurate?

There are many brands of home pregnancy tests, but the quality and accuracy vary. Different tests detect different baseline levels of pregnancy hormone to give a positive test. This means different tests need a different amount of hormone in the urine for the test to show up as positive.

It is usually suggested to wait at least one week after you miss your period before taking a home pregnancy test. Each pregnancy test kit will come with its own set of instructions, and these directions should be followed exactly.

What is the cost of an at-home pregnancy test?

The cost of an at-home pregnancy test varies. Tests with digital displays are easier to read and use, but are usually more expensive. High-end brands can cost up to $20. Most often, pregnancy tests range from $10-$15, while some discount brands can be purchased at dollar stores for as low as $1.

How early can I take an at-home pregnancy test?

Some pregnancy tests can be taken on the first day of a missed period. The more expensive and sensitive tests may even be able to detect abnormal levels of hCG earlier than this.3

How Soon After Sex Can I Take a Pregnancy Test?

What are the different kinds of pregnancy tests?

Pee-on-stick: with these tests, you will need to pee on a stick or test strip. Make sure to follow the directions and wait for the needed amount of time before reading your results. If pregnant, results may show up as a change in the color of the stick, a double line, or a plus sign.

Pee in a cup: with these tests, you will pee in a cup and either dip the pregnancy test into the urine or place a few drops of urine on the test to get your results. Make sure to follow all directions that come with your test. If pregnant, results may show up as a change in the color of the stick, a double line, or a plus sign.

Digital Test: these tests display your pregnancy results on a digital screen. This means you don’t have to worry about whether or not you read the test right, since the digital screen will tell you clearly.

It is important to note that all at-home pregnancy tests will give results no matter what kind you use.


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  1.  Retrieved July 16, 2015, http://www.webmd.com/baby/home-pregnancy-tests 
  2. Grenache, D. “Variable accuracy of home pregnancy tests: truth in advertising?” Clin Chem Lab Med 2015; 53(3): 339-341. 
  3. Retrieved Sept 24 ,2015, http://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/tests#HomeTests2