Midstream Pregnancy Test
The fastest way of confirming a pregnancy is through taking an at-home pregnancy test via kit. The pregnancy kits use the concentration of human chorionic gonadotrophin hCG hormone to give a positive or a negative result.
The concentration of hCG in the urine of non-pregnant women is usually low, around 5mlU. But a pregnant woman contains more than 20mlU of the hCG hormone in her urine.
How to Take a Home Pregnancy Test?
The home pregnancy test should be used 21 days after the unprotected sexual encounter or a couple of days after a missed period. Follow these steps after deciding to take a pregnancy test.
Buy a Test:
While buying a pregnancy test make sure that you get one from a shop that has better product turnover. It will prevent you from buying a test that has been sitting on the shelves for several months. Old pregnancy test kits can give inaccurate results.
Before using a test, check its expiration date. If you store test kits in a moist place like the bathroom, checking the expiration date is crucial. An expired test will not give accurate results.
Read the Instructions:
Several companies make pregnancy test kits. All the kits come with their own set of instructions and it is necessary to follow these instructions if you want an accurate result.
Take the Test:
Follow the instructions on the packet and take the test. Interpret your results according to the directions given in the kit.
Taking a urine sample in a cup is not necessary for all pregnancy tests. Different tests have different mechanisms. Some give a sample cup to pee in and a dipstick to dip in the sample later.
Some urine test sticks can be used by directly peeing on the stick. Some give a dropper and a pad, where a drop of urine is added to the test.
But, in all the tests, the recommended urine sample is midstream urine. It means that while taking the sample, let your urine run for a while and then collect it in the cup or on the stick. Make sure that you remove the cup from the stream before you are done urinating and some urine is left. This sample is called a midstream sample.
Why a Midstream Urine Sample is Advised?
A midstream sample is recommended because it has a lesser chance of contamination by bacteria present on your urethra.
The urethra contains bacteria normally and they enter the urine when it touches them. The concentration of these bacteria is higher at the beginning of the urine.
To further protect against the contamination, you should stretch your vulva upwards by making a V with two fingers of one hand, and then after some urine has passed bring the stick or cup in the stream with the other hand. This method ensures the least contamination of the sample.
The contamination of the sample can give an inaccurate result. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Later in pregnancy, urine analysis is done at several points and every time you should give a mid-stream sample.
Another precaution you should take while taking a pregnancy test is to use the first urine of the day because it has the most concentration of hCG in it. Always wash your hands before taking a test.
Most pregnancy test kits have their methods of reading kits. But the conventional kits and dipsticks show either two lines or one.
If two colored lines appear on the test, you are pregnant. The lines may be varying in color intensity. One might be light and the other dark. But it is normal and occurs due to varying levels of hCG.
If a single line appears on the result window, you are either not pregnant or you have taken the test too early. If you are unsure, take the test again in a couple of days.
If no lines appear or only the test line (positive line) appears then the result is invalid. It might occur due to over or under-wetting of the pregnancy test kit, problems in urine sampling, or an expired kit. If this happens, take another test in 48 hours and follow instructions closely.
Limitations of Midstream Pregnancy Test:
The urine pregnancy test only works if the instructions are followed properly. If the instructions are not followed properly the accuracy of the test becomes doubtful.
Although home pregnancy tests are 98% accurate, sometimes false negatives and positives can occur. If your test results are inconsistent, check with your doctor. Some medical conditions can affect the accuracy of the test. But keep in mind that, alcohol, analgesics, and antibiotics do not affect the results.
Are There Any Risks in Taking Midstream Pregnancy Tests?
There is no known risk of taking a midstream urine pregnancy test. It is as safe and easy as it gets. Other pregnancy tests like blood tests also do not have many risks apart from a little bruising at the area of blood collection.
Can Midstream Pregnancy Tests Detect Ectopic Pregnancies?
Ectopic pregnancies i-e the pregnancy in which the fetus is implanted in any other site but the uterus, is not necessarily detected by urine midstream pregnancy tests. The reason is that ectopic pregnancies also produce the hCG hormone. The concentration of hCG is low in ectopic pregnancies. So in 1% of pregnancies, the test might appear negative.
The midstream urine pregnancy tests are convenient, safe, and the best way to detect pregnancy from the comfort of your own home. However, the instructions for a urine midstream test are specific and all instructions must be followed closely to get accurate results. If the urine test results are invalid, make an appointment to see your doctor.