Ultra early pregnancy tests have been around now for about 8-10 years. They detect a lower level of the pregnancy hormone hcg ( human chorionic gonadotrophin ) than normal pregnancy tests, and so can be used to detect pregnancy even before the period has been missed. Ultra early pregnancy tests detect just 10mIu of the pregnancy hormone hcg which means they can detect a pregnancy at a very early stage. Hcg increases dramatically in the first 3 months of pregnancy from less than 5mIU/ml to over 100,000mIU/ml and it is the huge rise in this hormone that is responsible for many of the symptoms of early pregnancy including morning sickness.
How do I perform the pregnancy test using a test strip ?
- Collect a fresh urine sample, ideally first morning void , in a clean dry container. The container does not need to be sterile.
- Read the instructions before you start the test. You will need a timer to time the test as timing is very important. Most mobile phones have a timer you can set to the correct time.
- take the strip carefully out of the foil. Hold the strip at the handle end and avoid touching the strip end that will go into the urine as grease from your hands can interfere with the test
- Immerse the strip into the urine sample up to the the maximum dip line and leave it there for 3-4 seconds so that it can absorb the urine. Do not dip it any deeper than the max dip line.
- remove the pregnancy test strip from the urine sample and lie it flat. Start the timer and time it for the specified time in the instructions. This may vary slightly from brand to brand.
- When the timer goes read the result. You should have a control line showing . This means the pregnancy test strip has worked properly. Now look for the test line. A visible test line on the strip means the test is positive. An absent T line means the test is negative.
- You can only read the result at the specified time after you started the test. Do not come back to the test later and read it as this will not be an accurate result.
Important factors to consider when using an ultra early pregnancy test:
- As ultra early pregnancy tests detect very low levels of hcg , it is best to test on your first urine void of the day, as this is usually more concentrated and so the pregnancy hormone hcg levels will be usually be higher at this time of day.
- Follow the instructions and wait the allocated time as per the instructions (usually a few minutes ) before you read the result. Because the levels are much lower in very early pregnancy the result may take a little longer to show then later in pregnancy.
- You will need to be prepared to re-test. A positive pregnancy test before the missed period should be confirmed 72 hours later and you would hope to see a the positive result developing more quickly on the test line indicating increasing hormone levels.
- You may detect a pregnancy that will then fail to progress. In this case you will get a positive pregnancy test followed by a negative pregnancy test. This is one of the down side of testing for pregnancy early. If you had not tested you would never have known that you were pregnant.
- False positives can occur if there has been a recent miscarriage or pregnancy
- False negatives can occur with ultra sensitive pregnancy tests. If you do the test before the hcg levels have exceeded 10mIU in the urine sample you will get a negative result. This does not mean that you are not pregnant, it may just be that you have tested too early or you’re urine sample was too dilute. In this situation you should wait 48 hours and retest with a fresh urine sample (the first urine that you do in the morning after rising is the most concentrated)