How does a pregnancy test work? In the movies, when the lady takes a test, she waits for an agonizing minute or two before she gets clear, reliable results on that little stick. I wasn’t sure how true to life that scenario was, so I did a little research and found several common misconceptions about pregnancy tests. Now that I’m armed with knowledge, I feel more secure about what to expect.
“I’m on birth control, so I don’t need to worry.”
Contraception works most of the time, which takes a lot of worry off my shoulders. But it’s not foolproof. If my period is several days late, I take a test just in case. Birth control doesn’t affect the results.
“Okay, but I’m already on my period.”
Menstruation doesn’t matter either, y’all—not when it comes to the results. The purpose of an at-home pregnancy test is to test the levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in urine. If I was menstruating on the possible date of conception, I may still be on my period a few days later when I decide to take a test.
“Those at-home tests aren’t reliable.”
Actually, they’ve proven to be over 99 percent effective! I recommend taking two tests if you’re still unsure. I also take time to read those instructions thoroughly, as they can differ depending on the brand of the test. Learning more about how pregnancy tests work helped me trust them more.
“The test can tell if it’s a boy or a girl!”
No, it can’t. Urine contains no sex hormones, and the amount of hCG present will be the same regardless of the baby’s sex. If I were expecting, I’d have to wait until later on in the pregnancy to find out the sex. (Unless I want it to be a surprise!)
“If I take the test as soon as possible, I’ll get results as soon as possible.”
It can take nearly a week for a fertilized egg to settle into the uterus. I get impatient too, but it’s best to wait a few days after the possible date of conception to take the test.
At-home pregnancy tests are nothing to be nervous about. Taking the test and getting those results looks very easy on TV, but of course, real life is a little messier. Knowing these common misconceptions about pregnancy tests and learning the truth helped me become more confident in the results. I’m prepared for any eventuality, and now y’all are, too!