When a woman of childbearing age suspects pregnancy, her first instinct is to take a urine test. Certain signs can spark off: absence of periods, pain in the breasts, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and a frequent urge to urinate. The pregnancy tests are available in pharmacies and supermarkets. Used correctly, they give good results (99% reliable) after 3 to 10 minutes.
The principle: they detect the presence of the pregnancy hormone, hCG, in the urine. Depending on the model, you can urinate directly on it, or in a cup in which you immerse the test. Carefully read the instructions in the box. Some tests give the result with colored bands displayed, others with a plus + or minus sign, others still on a digital screen, indicating “pregnant” or “not pregnant”. Make sure you read the directions carefully so as not to make a mistake.
Check to be sure
Most brands recommend taking the test on the first day of missed periods, and some more sensitive ones can be used earlier. But since the pregnancy hormone is sometimes very low during the first few days, it is better to wait a week after the start of the late period. In any case, schedule a second test to confirm the result a few days later.
If the test result is positive, then wait three days to retest, then schedule a blood test with your doctor. Very rarely, it may be a false positive caused by miscarriage, taking certain medications, blood in the urine, or disease of the ovaries, liver or kidneys. False negatives are a bit more common, especially if you drank lots of water before the test, if you have a urinary tract infection, if you have an ectopic pregnancy, and if you took the test too early. If in doubt, retest, carefully following the instructions, and consult your doctor.