Options to Consider When Buying a Pregnancy Test

by pregnancy journalist

There is no test that you need to be accurate more than a pregnancy test. Whether you’ve been trying to get pregnant for months and are hoping for an early positive or your period is late and you’re crossing your fingers for a negative, shopping for pregnancy tests can cause some serious anxiety. Some of the anxiety likely comes from the fact that the results of the pregnancy test can be life changing, but some of it comes from the fact that there are tons of pregnancy tests on the market, all claiming to be the best. Below, we break down what to consider when buying a pregnancy test.

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pregnancy test
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When you plan to test.

Pregnancy tests work by detecting HCG (the pregnancy hormone) in your urine. Your body begins producing HCG when the fertilized egg implants in your uterine lining, between 7 and 12 days after conception. HCG levels double every two to three days after implantation. Doctors consider a woman pregnant when her levels reach 25 but some of the earliest tests read as positive when leaves reach 10 MIU. If you’re planning to test before your missed period then a more sensitive test will best meet your needs. If you’ve already missed your period or don’t plan to test until you do, a less sensitive (and usually less expensive test) will meet your needs.

How much you can spend.

Pregnancy tests on the shelves of many drug stores range in cost from about $1.00 to over $30.00. Many women wonder what makes a test more expensive and whether the expensive tests are “better.” In reality, there are a number of factors that go into how much a pregnancy test costs. Often, tests that claim to detect pregnancy earlier (“up to 4 days before your missed period!”) are more expensive, while tests designed to be taken on the day of your missed period are less expensive. And, just like most other things, the fact that “brand-name” pregnancy tests are more expensive than store or generic brands doesn’t mean they are better.

{ MORE: Women are DIYing Their Own Toothpaste Pregnancy Tests }

Whether you want blue dye vs. pink dye.

If you’re in any trying-to-conceive groups you’ve probably heard that pink dye tests give more accurate results than blue dye tests. While there’s no scientific evidence to suggest this is true, many moms say they have experienced it. Typically, these moms say that their blue dye test read negative and then, after letting it sit for a few hours, a faint line appeared. This line (called an evaporation line) can happen when moisture inside the test collects to form what appears to be a faint line. On a blue dye test, this grayish line can resemble a “positive” line more than it would on a pink dye test. No matter what color test you use, you should follow the instructions to discard the test after the window stated on the box (usually about 15 minutes) and you won’t have to worry about confusing evaporation lines.

Whether you prefer digital or traditional.

Digital pregnancy tests usually read “pregnant” or “not pregnant” in their test window while traditional line tests usually indicate pregnancy with a second line. Digital tests tend to be a little less sensitive than line tests and may cost more money. While both tests are equally accurate, moms who like their assurances in words might prefer a digital test.

How often you’ll want to test.

When you’re trying to get pregnant (or avoid pregnancy) having a pregnancy test (or 20) on hand can be helpful. Stocking up on even the least expensive brands at the store can end up costing a lot – that’s why in my personal life I skip the store and order in bulk from Amazon. These pregnancy tests are accurate, inexpensive (they come in a pack of 50 for under $13.00 or 100 for under $18.00) and easy to use.

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