How do I Choose the Most Accurate Pregnancy Test?

N. Madison
N. Madison

There are many pregnancy tests from which you may choose, but some are more accurate than others. Choosing the most accurate pregnancy test usually means selecting the pregnancy test that is the most sensitive. This is usually a test performed in a doctor's office, but home pregnancy tests can be sensitive too. To get the most accurate pregnancy test for use at home, you may choose the brand that detects the lowest levels of human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG), a hormone excreted in a woman’s urine when she is pregnant. To choose the most accurate test overall, however, you may need to visit your doctor for a blood test.

Home pregnancy test showing positive and negative results.
Home pregnancy test showing positive and negative results.

An important consideration in choosing the most accurate home pregnancy test is selecting the most sensitive option. The more sensitive a test, the more likely it is to deliver an accurate result early in pregnancy. The sensitivity of a pregnancy test refers to its ability to detect low levels of hCG in a woman’s urine. To get an accurate result early in pregnancy, you’ll typically need to choose a pregnancy test that detects very low levels of hCG. Those that have a higher threshold for hCG detection can be accurate as well, but you may have to wait longer to test and receive a reliable result.

A blood test may produce the earliest and most accurate results.
A blood test may produce the earliest and most accurate results.

There are many pregnancy test brands that claim they can detect pregnancy as early as the first day of a missed period. There are even some that claim they can detect pregnancy before a woman misses a period. If you want to detect pregnancy before you have missed a period, the most accurate pregnancy test may be one that detects hCG levels of 25 million International Units (mIUs) or less. There are many that detect levels of 40 mIUs hCG or more, but they may be less accurate in the earliest stages of pregnancy.

The most accurate pregnancy tests are those that are the most sensitive.
The most accurate pregnancy tests are those that are the most sensitive.

Besides comparing home pregnancy tests based on sensitivity, you may also check online reviews for information about the most accurate pregnancy test. Some brands have a reputation for delivering false positives. If you read a significant number of reviews reporting inaccurate results, you may do well to choose a different brand. Sometimes inaccurate results are not caused by problems with a test, however. They can also be caused by mistakes the test taker makes.

The most accurate pregnancy tests can give a positive result even before a missed period.
The most accurate pregnancy tests can give a positive result even before a missed period.

It’s important to note that blood tests are often more accurate than any pregnancy test you can by over the counter. By visiting a doctor for a blood test, it is possible to get a positive pregnancy result once hcG levels have reached as little as 5 mIUs. Doctors may recommend repeat testing when hCG levels of 5 mIUs are detected, however, as low levels of hCG sometimes result in false positives.

Some brands of pregnancy tests have reputations for delivering false positives.
Some brands of pregnancy tests have reputations for delivering false positives.
N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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