the Stork Bag - logo banner
HOLIDAY SALE NOW! USE CODE HOLIDAY15 AT CHECKOUT

Are Pregnancy Tests Accurate? Or is it better to go to the Doctor?

Dear Darla | 0 comments

The Stork Bag - 2nd trimester bag

Written by The Stork Bag Team

October 20, 2021

Dear Darla,

My name is Emily and I am 23.  My boyfriend and I are sexually active, and my period is two weeks late.  My boyfriend keeps telling me to do a home pregnancy test but I am not convinced that they work!  Wouldn’t a test at the Doctor’s office be better?  My question is do home pregnancy tests work and how reliable are they?

Emily – Scranton, PA.

Dear Emily from Scranton,

So your period is now a few days late and either you are extremely excited or sick to your stomach – I couldn’t tell which from your email.  Either way, your boyfriend is 100% right that you should consider a home pregnancy test.  I can see your doubt, how does a pregnancy test, from the drug store or dollar store accurately tell you whether or not you are about to have the biggest change of your life?

My advice? Go take the pregnancy test. It is quite inexpensive and way cheaper than the doctor’s office.  Best of all, it is easy and it is fast.  You may ask how effective peeing on a 4 inch strip can be?

Well, home pregnancy tests are typically 98% effective at giving accurate results.  However, if you are looking to take a test before your missed period then you should expect less accurate results.  Once a fertilized egg has implanted on the uterine lining, your body will begin to produce human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG).  This hormone is what the pregnancy test is detecting and your body begins to produce it six days after fertilization.  The longer you wait to take a pregnancy test, the more HGC will be present in your urine because the hormone doubles every 2-3 days after fertilization.

Although at-home tests tend to be accurate, false negative results are positive if used very early in pregnancy.  However, you may be experiencing symptoms that are indicative of early pregnancy.  In that case, if you cannot wait to see the results, blood tests are the most accurate measure, but can be expensive.  Blood tests tend to be more accurate because they can detect extremely low levels of HCG in the body.  If you do get a positive result on your home pregnancy test, I would recommend that you call your healthcare provider and schedule an appointment for a more conclusive blood test.  Make sure you begin adopting healthy habits such as quitting smoking, drinking alcohol, and begin to take prenatal vitamins.

There are other things to consider when it comes to false positive results in at home pregnancy tests.  Sometimes certain medications such as fertility medications can cause you to get a false positive result.  Other medications should not cause a false positive, but specific medications to help fertility may.  Make sure to always consult with your healthcare provider and you can always do more than one test.  I’ve listed some resources below so you can do more research.  Best of luck!

 The Cleveland Clinic

Mayo Clinic

WebMD

Dear Darla,

Please Help! I am testing positive on a pregnancy test, but I do not know how far along I am.  My husband and I have sex routinely, but I am concerned that it may not be my husband’s child. How do I determine how far along I am?

Questioning in St. Louis.

Dear Questioning,

This seems a bit loaded of a question, but in response, women typically do not start showing physical signs of pregnancy until months after conception, but this might leave you wondering when you conceived your baby and how many weeks or months along you are.  The most common method you can use to determine how far along you are in your pregnancy is to consider the date of your last period.  This method can be sufficient for a pregnant woman to use because it does not require any medical assistance.  To make this calculation you first need to determine the start date of your last period. Add 7 days to that date and subtract three months to estimate your delivery date.  If you are someone who has irregular periods, this method might not be the most effective for you because your last period may have been months ago. In this case, go to your doctor to try and get a more accurate estimate.

         Doctors and nurses can use different techniques to determine your date of conception and intern estimate your due date. Due dates are not always accurate because they are an estimation. However, most women deliver within 14 days of their due date… which seems carless to me. Doctors may use an ultrasound to determine how many weeks pregnant you are or measure your uterus. In addition, they may also ask you about the date of your last menstrual cycle. To measure your uterus your doctor can use estimate as to where your uterus should expand to at the particular week. For example, if you are 12 weeks, then your uterus should be above your pelvis. Once you are past 17 weeks, the number of centimeters between pubic bone and the uterus is the number of weeks you are pregnant.

         When doctors use ultrasounds there are looking at the fetus inside your uterus. Based on the fetus’s size and development, the doctor can determine how far along you are in your pregnancy. Ultrasound tests are most accurate at predicting due dates and dates of conception when you are less then 20 weeks along. Another method of determining how far along you are is using a urine sample. The urine sample will be examined for the level of a pregnancy hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This hormone level will be low if you are earlier in pregnancy. This method is only effective in early pregnancy because soon HCG level will be high at a consistent level.

         Women can figure out how many weeks they are along in their pregnancy at any time! However, remember that only 4% of pregnant women deliver on the due date they were assigned so make sure to be prepared for a swift exist to the hospital at least 14 days before your assigned due date.

 I have provided you with more resources below but I think the first course of action, should be visiting your family medical provider for confirmation and some blood work.

Health Link

Medicine.Net

I would really recommend you chat with your husband about this.

Have a question for Darla? Send it to our team hello@thestorkbag.com or send it to one of our social media channels.

Related Articles

Related

What Should I name my Baby?

Dear Darla, I am 7 months pregnant and we still don’t have a name for the baby. What should we do? We just can’t seem to agree on what the baby should be named. What are your thoughts? Soraya, 24, Austin, TX Dear Soraya, Finding a name for your new baby can be a...

read more

The Stork Bag

Our Approach

The Stork Bag team strives to put a smile on the face of every mother that receives one of our boxes.  Whether you are buying for your wife, daughter, daughter in law, friend or yourself, we want everyone who receives a Stork Bag to be pampered.  That’s why we are always searching for the right product partners – so that we can continue to offer the best pregnancy gift ever.