How do you read a pregnancy test

How do you read a pregnancy test
Source: Shutterstock

Do a pregnancy test it is a very simple operation, but it can often happen that its reading is not so simple. For this reason it is advisable to clarify some aspects that can distinguish the use of the pregnancy test and the reporting of a pregnancy in progress. Let's see in more detail the various eventualities.

In this article

  • How do you do a pregnancy test,
  • As the pregnancy test reads,
  • Pregnancy test, how reliable it is.
Read also: Pregnancy test: how and when to do it

Pregnancy test, how to do it

The do-it-yourself pregnancy test works in a very simple way: you only need to place the strip, present in the package purchased at the pharmacy, under the urine stream for a few seconds, or immerse it directly in the urine collected in a clean container. The result will be evident after a few minutes. Reading the test results is a really easy operation, also explained in the package insert that accompanies the strip.

In classic tests there is a window with a single line. If there is an ongoing pregnancy, the lines become two, while if there is no pregnancy, the line remains unique. In digital tests there may be some writing instead of lines or smilies.

Read also: When to take the pregnancy test

Pregnancy test, as it reads

Reading a pregnancy test may not be as simple as it appears. Although, in classical texts, there should be two colored dashes to attest to pregnancy, it may be difficult to distinguish them or that one is more evident, while the other is lighter and almost faded. 

Second Gabriele Trent, president of the SC of Obstetrics and Gynecology, first level medical director at the obstetrics and gynecology of the Santa Maria Nuova Archispedale - IRCCS of Reggio Emilia, «in case of doubtful answer, if the dashes are very light or if the result is unclear, the test is considered positive».

In fact, says the doctor, in the hospital or in the emergency room, «in case of doubtful tests it is done also a blood test to be sure. The blood test detects the amount of Beta-hCG present, which is the hormone produced by the embryo and which guarantees its survival by delaying the regression of the corpus luteum and thus preventing menstruation. Even in a home situation of doubt, it is possible to have a blood test carried out in an analysis laboratory. An investigation which, by the way, is also covered by the National Health Service».

With the blood test it is possible to have the result immediately. If, on the other hand, you are not in a hurry and want to wait, you can wait a couple of days and then do the home test again to confirm. 

Are Traditional Pregnancy Tests Reliable?

The reliability of home pregnancy tests is around 98-99%. Therefore, in most cases, these tests offer a safe and reliable result. But, for this to happen, however, it is necessary that the tests are carried out correctly and that the manufacturer's instructions are carefully followed. 

It should also be known that there can be "false positives" and "false negatives". Let's see what they are.

False positives

It is possible that there are two dashes on the test and it says that you are pregnant, even if it is not true. This could occur due to the interference of certain drugs, including fertility drugs containing hCG, or when there is ovarian cancer.

False negatives

I false negatives they occur when the test gives a negative result, but in reality the pregnancy is there. A false negative result can occur if the test was done too early, when the hCG levels in the urine were still too low for detection. Or if the test was performed on excessively diluted urine.

Precisely in order to avoid false negatives it is important to carefully read the test instructions, in which it is written how long to wait before reading the result. It is also necessary to avoid drinking too much before taking the test.

Obviously, if the test is negative but you still suspect a pregnancy, it is advisable to repeat it after a few days - better a week or even two, especially if the cycles are irregular - or to carry out a blood test directly.

Read also: Pregnancy test: false positives and false negatives

Questions and answers

How do you read a pregnancy test?

If there is an ongoing pregnancy, the lines become two, while if there is no pregnancy, the line remains one.

What does it mean if a line is clearer on the pregnancy test?

Generally, in the case of a questionable pregnancy test response, if the dashes are very light, one is clearer or if the result is not clear, the test should be considered positive. In case of doubtful tests, a blood test is also done to be sure.

  • pregnancy test
  • false positive pregnancy test
  • false negative pregnancy test
  • reliable pregnancy test
  • podcast
add a comment of How do you read a pregnancy test
Comment sent successfully! We will review it in the next few hours.