Home Pregnancy Tests Are More Complicated Than You'd Think

Christie Haskell
31

When you're old enough to start making hanky panky with members of the opposite sex, you're old enough to know that it comes with the risks of makin' babies. Even when you take all the precautions in the world, short of having a hysterectomy, you can get knocked up, or at least have a pregnancy scare.

You'd think a home pregnancy test would be easy. After all, you just ... pee on a stick. And wait a couple minutes. Then look at it. All done! Right?

NOT SO FAST!

The truth is most people suck at following directions. Badly. Horribly. Even when it comes to something as "simple" as peeing on a piece of plastic. There is also the few minutes of angst between peeing and results, and things go wrong. Even when we see it on TV, they tend to do it all wrong, too.

If you're thinking, "Seriously? How hard can it be?" check this out:

Fancy schmancy digital tests are cool, but they take a higher concentration of the hCG hormone to get a positive, meaning your celebration dance over the words "Not Pregnant" could be in vain, and you'll wake up puking the next morning. Or the other way around. Skip digital -- dollar store tests give you more accurate results.

Unlike TV, you can't rush home from the store and whip out the stick either. To get the most accurate reading, you need the highest concentration of the hCG hormone in your pee, so as much as it'll suck to go one more night without knowing, wait until that first pee when you wake up, when your urine isn't diluted. For those really waiting for the Big Fat Positive, the waiting IS hard!

If you are shaking with nerves, not very coordinated, or just concerned that somehow you're gonna screw up the peeing part, you can pee into a cup, then dip the stick. In fact, unless you're confident in your pee-aiming skills, it's not necessarily a bad idea. Either way, tip the stick DOWNWARD, not flat or up, and get it wet for FIVE seconds (check the directions in case yours says something different), then cap it and lay it down flat. Again, you're not a TV star, so no wandering around shaking the thing, trying to make it, I dunno, dry faster? You'll just screw it up. Pee or dip for 5 seconds, cap, lay flat, and HANDS OFF!

Now, I can't really tell you what to do in the three or so minutes you have to wait. If you have a minor freak-out, mental breakdown, or knit baby booties, that's none of my business. But wait the proper time before you check, or you'll just spend it trying to analyze the pigments before they're ready to be analyzed. Maybe it'd be good to read over your instructions, so when the time IS up, you actually know what a positive or negative looks like, since all tests have their own combo of lines, pluses, minuses, or smiley faces.

Okay, so, ready? Now turn your eyeballs to the test. Almost all tests have a window that shows you that the test worked right -- I know this is unlikely, but try checking that one first, to make sure it worked, before checking to see your future on urine-stained paper.

Also remember that if you take A.P.L, Pregnyl, Profasi, or Pergonal, you can get a false positive. No other meds, antibiotics, or anything should do that.

Have you messed up taking a pregnancy test? Be honest!

 

Image via hairgeek/Flickr

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