A home pregnancy test is a well-known tool to self-diagnose pregnancy in women within the comfort of their own home. This allows women the chance to learn if they’re pregnant or not in a private, comfortable setting, and allows them to find out right away instead of waiting for a doctor’s appointment. Of course, you should still make an appointment with your doctor, but with an at-home test, you can go into the appointment knowing what to expect.
What Are Home Pregnancy Tests Built to Measure and How?
The test uses urine to measure the levels of the Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (hCG) hormone in order to predict pregnancy. The tests are made into small strips that utilize the technique called immunoassay. Basically, when urine is applied to the strip whether in cup form or directly, the strip reacts to the levels of hCG in the urine, reacting to the protein antibodies. This reaction to the antibodies will cause a reaction on the strip or the strip panels, often changing color or producing a type of line or another signal. This reaction then tells a woman (within a certain percentage of accuracy) whether or not she is likely pregnant.
Lateral Flow Testing
A semi-new type of test is done using lateral flow test assembly kitting. This type of pregnancy test involves swabbing a long cotton stick inside your nose and potentially over the area where your nostrils initially were. The strip has a swab of paper that will change color when hCG is present.
Elements of a Typical Home Pregnancy Test
Most modern home pregnancy tests will include four key elements.
First, the fiber strip that tests for hCG, known as the immunoassay strip. This is a basic strip that reacts with urine and hCG, causing the reactive antibody to give the signal of “pregnant” or “not pregnant.” This strip also is responsible for showing a quality control test line to evade many potential errors.
Second, the test has an absorbant strip of padding that runs from the testing mechanism down into the urine stream, allowing the test to soak it up properly.
Next, there is the plastic shell that goes on the edge of the tip where you hold it. This two-piece plastic shell should be leak-proof, far enough away from the test strip to prevent contamination, and will have a clear window where the rests will be shown.
Finally, many pregnancy tests come with a small plastic cup if you don’t want to place the testing strip directly into your urine. These are often preferred because they have measuring levels within the cup, so you know when you have properly saturated it.
Using an at-home pregnancy test allows you to know right then that you’re likely pregnant, allowing you to react within the privacy and comfort of your own home either by yourself or with your loved ones. While home pregnancy tests are a great innovation due to being able to take them in the comfort of your own home and getting fast results, it’s always good to double-check results with your doctor to be sure.