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At Home Pregnancy and Ovuation Tests
If you are like so many women who are having trouble getting pregnant, you are using over the counter pregnancy tests to see if this is the month you have finally conceived or ovulation tests to determine the best dates to try and conceive. But how do they work? And are they accurate? Let’s break it down.
There are a number of pregnancy tests on the market in both digital and analog form. Some are more sensitive than others, which influences the accuracy of the test.
e.p.t. created the first at-home pregnancy test in 1977. Dr. Allison Hill, Ob/Gyn and chief medical consultant for e.p.t., explains that these tests are now more than 99% accurate when used on the day of the expected period, and are the same urine tests that doctors do in-office. Pregnancy tests are designed to detect levels of HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) in the urine. HCG is a hormone that is produced after an egg is fertilized, and the levels rise during pregnancy. Hill says that over the counter pregnancy tests are so accurate, that when a woman who is trying to conceive has a positive test and a missed period she doesn’t routinely do a beta (blood) pregnancy test. She’ll just do an ultrasound two weeks from the positive pregnancy test to confirm the pregnancy.
If you’re undergoing fertility treatment, however, your doctor will want to perform a blood pregnancy test in office. These tests also determine HCG, but by testing levels in the blood your doctor will get a count of the level of HCG in the blood and will repeated if the result is positive, as the levels should increase rapidly early in the pregnancy. If you’re like most women undergoing fertility treatment you’re going to test at home during your two week wait, even though your fertility doctor has advised against it. Keep in mind that fertility drugs can cause the tests to show a false positive.
In the 25 years that over the counter pregnancy tests have been on the market, they’ve come a long way. Clearblue Pregnancy tests are also more than 99% accurate from the day of the expected period and pregnancy can also be detected up to four days before the expected period. With both e.p.t. and Clearblue products, the analog test shows or plus or minus indicating pregnant or not pregnant. The digital pregnancy tests spell out “pregnant” or “Not pregnant.”
At Home Ovulation Tests
Ovulation tests detect LH (luteinizing hormone) in the urine, which rises just before ovulation and can indicate the peak fertile period of your cycle, explains Dr. Fiona Humberstone, Scientific and Medical Affairs Director of Clearblue. The company has two ovulation tests on the market. The Ovulation Test detects the LH surge which indicates the two best days to have sex to conceive: the day before and the day of ovulation. The Advanced Digital Ovulation Test identifies the four best days of each cycle to get pregnant naturally. This test detects a rise in estrogen a few days before ovulation to identify two additional days of “high fertility” in addition to detecting the LH surge to identify the two days of peak fertility. It is the only over the counter ovulation test that identifies two hormones and four fertile days in your cycle.
Humberstone says the tests are helpful for any woman trying to conceive. For women trying to get pregnant, “Timing is everything.” Many women who don’t have fertility issues, but are not getting pregnant with intercourse are simply not having sex on the right days. For all women, the tests, “educate women about the variability of their cycle” and provide important information on your personal cycle.
Like pregnancy tests, the Clearblue ovulation tests are easy to read, with a flashing smiley face on days of high fertility and a static smiley face on days of peak fertility.
Knowledge is power. These tests can’t replace a doctor, but they can provide you valuable information about your cycle when you’re trying to conceive. But if you are having a hard time pinpointing ovulation, or if you’ve been trying to conceive and have been getting negative results again and again, it may be time to see a fertility doctor.