What is a Home Pregnancy Test?

Article Details
  • Written By: Zari Ballard
  • Edited By: Lucy Oppenheimer
  • Last Modified Date: 30 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article

Home pregnancy tests offer women a quick and easy, no-fuss method of finding out whether or not they are pregnant. Simple to use and relatively inexpensive, home pregnancy tests are highly accurate and will provide results in several minutes within the comfort of one’s own home. Over-the-counter test kits are available in drugstores, supermarkets, and at all major retail outlets. Prices may start as low as $5.00 US Dollars (USD) for a generic home pregnancy test kit and go up as high as $30.00USD for more elaborate tests.

Home pregnancy test kits were designed with one function in mind — to test urine for the presence of the pregnancy hormone, HCG. The smallest trace of HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, will cause a home pregnancy test kit to produce a positive reading. The lack of HCG in a urine sample will cause the test kit to produce a negative reading. If used as instructed, home pregnancy tests provide the same or similar results as those given by urine tests taken in the health office.


Soon after conception, a woman’s placenta begins to release HCG into the blood stream. Much of the HCG released will pass from a woman’s body in her urine. This is particularly true of the first urine of the morning. Many high priced and more elaborate home pregnancy tests can detect HCG in the urine at any time of the day. Lower priced test kits, however, almost always require a sample from the first morning urine in order to ensure an accurate reading. The body’s level of HCG becomes very high during the first few weeks of pregnancy, often doubling every two to three days. Subsequently, taking a home pregnancy test one week from the first day of a missed menstrual period — when the level of HCG would be the highest — helps to ensure the accuracy of the reading.

The most common home pregnancy tests will generally consist of a small dipstick-style test strip and a small plastic urine collection cup. Using the most basic and popular method, a woman will collect a sample of her first morning urine in the provided collection cup and then allow the test strip to rest in the urine for three to four minutes. If HCG is detected, the color designated to show positive for pregnancy will appear on the test strip at the point where it rests in the urine. If no HCG is detected, the test strip may remain white or it may turn the color designated by the test to show a negative reading.

Although a home pregnancy test will provide an answer normally reserved for the doctor’s office, no where does it suggest that the home test is a substitute for the real thing. If a woman’s home pregnancy test proves positive, she should immediately make an appointment with her doctor to confirm the results and plan for the very near future.



Discuss this Article

Post 1

Can we have sexual intercourse when we are pregnant?

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?