Home Pregnancy Test Primer

When should you see your prenatal care provider?
If you are pregnant, seek prenatal care as soon as possible. If your pregnancy test is positive it is wise to follow it up by making an appointment with a prenatal care provider. If your test is negative, but you feel like you are pregnant, it is also important to follow up with your care provider. In the meantime, be sure to take a folic acid supplement each day, eat a healthy diet and avoid nicotine, alcohol and any substances that could be harmful to your baby.

How accurate are home pregnancy tests?
Most pregnancy tests claim 99 percent accuracy. In general, if instructions are followed carefully, tests are 95 percent sensitive and specific. That means that 95 percent of the positive tests will accurately confirm pregnancy and 95 percent of the negative tests will be accurate in determining a negative pregnancy status. Five times out of 100, the test will be inaccurate, even if done correctly. Accuracy is dependent on ease of use, because the simpler the instructions, the more likely the women is to perform the test correctly. Test kits that show a clear obvious result are easier to interpret.

What if the test is negative but you still feel pregnant?
It is important to retest. Be sure to consult with your care provider if your period is still delayed, even if the retest is negative. False-negative results can result in potentially serious situations, such as delay of prenatal care or use of potentially dangerous medications or substances by women who have been falsely reassured by a negative home pregnancy test.

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