How do pregnancy tests work?
Once conception takes place, the pregnancy hormone scientifically known as human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (hCG) can be traced in a woman's blood and urine. Although the levels of hCG are quite small at first, they doubles every 36 to 48 hours as your pregnancy progresses and reaches its peak between 8-10 weeks.
Women who take an at-home pregnancy test or urine test are usually required to urinate onto a specially treated test strip at the tip of a pregnancy test. There are also tests available where urine is collected in a disposable cup before dipping the strip into the urine to absorb the liquid. Results usually appear within minutes indicating whether the hCG hormone has been detected.
How accurate are they?
Results can differ depending on the type of pregnancy test used and what stage of the menstrual cycle a woman is. Most pregnancy test available in Australia claim that their tests are over 99 per cent accurate.
To ensure you get the most accurate results possible it is important to follow the instructions for each individual test and to remember that medications may affect the outcome of the test. You should also ensure that the expiration date on the test has not passed for the most accurate results.
Myths and false positives
While some women believe that taking antibiotics can lead to a positive pregnancy test, this myth has been completely debunked. However, in some rare cases a false positive can be detected by a pregnancy test if the woman has recently encountered a pregnancy, miscarriage or termination.
In some rare instances, certain medical conditions can cause a rise in hCG levels including ovarian cysts, kidney disease, cancer and disorders that affect hormone levels such as menopausal or peri-menopausal women. It is also possible for at-home tests to show positive if you are currently taking fertility medications which can include small amounts of hCG.
When can I take a pregnancy test?
Different brands of pregnancy tests often promise an accurate answer within different timeframes. The pregnancy hormone hCG can appear in the urine from eight days before your period is due, however not all tests have the ability to detect it at this stage.
Most pregnancy tests can be taken on the first day of your missed period, however, some brands of tests advertise that they provide results up to six days before your period is due.
Is there a certain time of day I should take a test?
Some types of tests require you to take the tests at certain times of the day, however, your first urination in the morning generally contains the highest level of the pregnancy hormone.
What do the results mean?
After taking a pregnancy test it's incredibly common for women to feel nervous, excited and scared about the outcome they receive. To ensure you are interpreting the results correctly, it is important to remember to read the instructions provided with the test thoroughly.
Depending on which brand and type of pregnancy test you use, the results will be displayed differently. Most tests display a single pink or blue line to indicate a negative result, while two lines generally means the test is positive.
A number of digital tests are also available which display the words 'pregnant' or 'not pregnant'. Certain brands can include an additional feature for positive tests whereby it displays how many weeks pregnant a woman is depending on the level of hCG detected in the urine sample.
So, you think you might be pregnant and want to find the best pregnancy in Australia?
We've compiled a list of the most reliable tests for you below, including an overview of each product.
6. Pregnosis Digital Pregnancy Test
Pregnosis tests can be used as early as the first day you missed your period. This digital test will provide results in just three minutes and it's easy-to-read display screen makes it almost foolproof for those who may be worried about interpreting the results correctly. A 'YES +' indicates a positive results, while a 'NO -' means you are not pregnant.
5. Pregnosis Early Detection Pregnancy Test
Pregnosis pregnancy tests have been shown to be over 99 per cent accurate in lab testing, meaning you can rest assured that you are getting the right answer when using this test. This test can be taken at any time of the day and will provide results in as little as three minutes.
4. Clearblue Early Detection Pregnancy Test
This test by Clearblue can be used five days before your period is due, making it one of the most convenient tests on the market in Australia. The test features an ergonomic design, including a longer, curved stick and wide colour-changing tip.
3. Clearblue Pregnancy Test with Weeks Indicator
This Clearblue digital pregnancy test featuring the has been found to be as accurate as an ultrasound scan at dating pregnancy. The handy digital screen makes it easy to use, but the unique feature of this test is the weeks indicator which tells you how far along in the pregnancy you are.
2. First Response Digital Pregnancy Test
First Response is sensitive enough to give you accurate results six days sooner than your missed period. It features simple 'YES+' and 'NO-' results on its digital screen and is over 99 per cent accurate from the day of your expected period. It also displays a handy 'test is working' indicator to let you know the test is ready to use.
1. First Response Instream Early Pregnancy Test
The First Response In-Stream test can be taken at any time of the day and will give you results in three minutes. It can detect pregnancy six days before the day of a missed period and is over 99 per cent accurate. Its contoured thumb grip, wide absorbent tip and no splash test result window makes it incredibly easy to use.
The importance of early detection
No matter what results you are anticipating when using an at-home pregnancy test, it can be an incredibly emotional time for you.
If you are trying for a baby, early detection of pregnancy is incredibly important as the first few weeks of fetal development is a critical time to make healthy choices for yourself and your child.
If you are confused about your test results or would like further confirmation, additional testing can carried out by your local GP through blood samples.
For more advice, please contact:
For further information, contact:
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- Kids Help Line on 1800 55 18 00
- Family Planning NSW Talkline on 1300 658 886