Can We Trust Home Pregnancy Tests?


If you think you may be pregnant, the first step is usually a trip to the neighborhood store to purchase a home pregnancy test (HPT). The convenience of a take home test is without parallel, but, how do they work? Does brand make a difference? How accurate are they?

Before you head out the door take a deep breath. We have collected the answers you are looking for to guide you in your choice and much more.

How do they work?

All home pregnancy test results are based on detecting the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine. This hormone is created upon the attachment of the fertilized egg to the uterine wall and hormone levels are usually at the highest around the fourteenth week following your last period. 

Most home pregnancy tests provide results three to four days before your missed period. However, the earlier you take the test the greater the possibility of a false read. So, the optimal timing is one week after you have missed your menstrual cycle.

*Testing first thing in the morning provides the best results.

Is it difficult to find a home pregnancy test?

No, it is actually very easy to buy them.  Home pregnancy tests are available over the counter, without a prescription in most drugstores and grocery stores.

Their cost can vary greatly and is usually based upon whether or not they are digital. Tests can range from approximately $8 to $25. However, there is no proof that digital tests are more accurate, they just may be easier to read.

 What do the pregnancy test results mean?

Positive Result - You are pregnant (even the faintest showing of a positive result indicator almost always means you are pregnant.)

Negative Result - You are not pregnant.

How accurate are home pregnancy tests?

Urine home pregnancy tests are about 99% accurate.

It is more common to get a false negative reading than a false positive reading. In fact, it is pretty unlikely to get a false positive, but there are a few very rare cases where it may occur:

·      Your blood or protein is present in your urine (common with diabetics).

·      You are taking prescribed medications, such as tranquilizers, anti-convulsants, or hypnotics

In very rare cases, you can have a false-positive result. This means you're not pregnant even when the test says you are. False negatives usually occur based on human error.

However, you may still be pregnant if:

  • The test has expired
  • You did not correctly follow the instructions provided
  • Your urine is too diluted
  • You tested too soon
  • You are taking prescribed medications, such as diuretics or antihistamines.

If you get a negative test result and still believe you may be pregnant, try retesting within about a week.

The Top 5 Most Popular and Reliable Home Pregnancy Tests on the market.

 First Response Gold

When it says you can test: 4 days before your expected period
Costs: $21.10 for 2 tests

Accu-Clear Early Pregnancy Test

Standard stick test

When it says you can test: The day you expect your period
What it costs: $15.75 for 2 tests

e.p.t. Certainty

Digital test

When it says you can test: 4 days before your expected period

What it costs: $21.99 for 2 test

Clearblue Easy

When it says you can test: 4 days before your expected period
What it costs: $17.49 for 3 tests

Target Brand

Standard stick test

When it says you can test: 4 days before your expected period
What it costs:  $9.99 for 3 tests