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How to Read a Pregnancy Test: 3 Best Tips

on May 26, 2012

by Lucy Eades

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    Rating: 4.2/5 (23 votes cast)

OMG! Is that a faint line that you see? Just follow 3 easy steps to accurately read your home pregnancy test and know for sure.

Let’s discuss positive and negative home pregnancy tests.

Step 1 – Read the directions

Most HPTs today guarantee a 99.9% accuracy by the 1st day of your missed period when used properly. Now since each brand can vary from test-to-test, make sure that you read and follow the manufacturer’s directions.

Step 2- Place test in your urine stream

Typically with the midstream test, you want to open up the package, take the cap off of the home pregnancy test, now this is the absorbent tip and this is the part of the test that you want to pee on. Claim Your 20 Free Pregnancy Tests – Click Here So you want to place it downwards into the path of your urine. You can either take your thumb and cover up the result window to make sure that you don’t get any urine on it altering your result or either you could take the test and turn it away from you facing the ground and then pee on it for roughly 10 seconds.

Step 3- Replace cap and wait 5 minutes

When you’re done, take the cap, place it back on the home pregnancy test, and then you want to lay it horizontally on a dry flat surface. Wait about 5 minutes before you read the result. I know this may feel like an eternity when you’re anxiously awaiting the news!

Wondering when to test? Do you have to wait for your missed period? Use this handy pregnancy calculator to determine what day is the best day to test. Check out step-by-step instructions on how the pregnancy calculator works.

What about false negatives & false positives?

Now some women choose to keep their sanity by not testing too early. You can see possible false negatives or you could even see a faint second line. It can leave you in agony trying to analyze the test results using sunlight, flashlights, staring at it wondering is it actually there? Am I seeing things? And especially women that are trying to conceive, you want to see it so bad that you start questioning yourself, “Am I making myself see a second line that doesn’t actually exist?”

Two lines, +, or ‘pregnant’

However not all tests nowadays just require two lines. Some have a positive sign (+) and some have them are clear as day with saying PREGNANT or NOT PREGNANT. These tend to be a little pricier, of course, but they do take the guessing out of it. Now I actually have some tests laying around that I want to give you an example with. This is a Clearblue Easy and this test reads ‘Pregnant’ or ‘Not pregnant.’

The next test I have is a midstream test and it works basically the same way as this one. Except for this is a smaller test strip, and this is a midstream applicator test. The only difference is the size, and that one has a longer applicator for ease of use than the smaller ones. However they work identically. One line for negative, two lines for positive.

And the last test I have on hand is an Equate test. Now the control line on this one will have a line for negative or positive but the second one has a positive (+) sign for positive pregnancy test and just one line for a negative pregnancy test. It looks like a positive and then negative.

What if my test is negative?

Now if you take a pregnancy test and you get a negative yet you still suspect pregnancy, wait roughly 2-3 days before testing again. This will allow your HCG levels enough time to double giving you possibly a different result with your home pregnancy test. A positive pregnancy test will not be able to tell you if you’re experiencing a healthy pregnancy or miscarriage. Even if your body is already experiencing a miscarriage, your test can still show positive until your HCG levels have dropped enough for the pregnancy test to result in a negative. This can take days, sometimes even weeks for some.

So unless you’re taking fertility drugs that contain HCG, if you get a positive home pregnancy test, Congratulations! You’re pregnant.

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How to Read a Pregnancy Test: 3 Best Tips, 4.2 out of 5 based on 23 ratings

Lucy is a mother of three, who’s passionate about all things AP parenting. When she’s not busy giving tips on keeping babies healthy & happy, you can find her blogging on her popular YouTube channel

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  • Jessica

    Is this positive?

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  • amber

    If I have to put my pregnancy test towards the light to see the second line is that still positve or would it be negative. You can’t see it if it’s laying down but you can barley when it’s closer to light

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  • Anonymous

    So I haven’t had my period for the month of January 2016 but taken 3 tests one being negative the other two positive , just wanna get some input being my first if I am confirmed pregnant at the doctors tommorrow.

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  • nivedita

    hi, iam nivedita, i missed my period or about a week,i have mild cramping,am i pregnant?

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