HOME TEST PREGNANCY: CAN THEY BE WRONG?
Like any device, home pregnancy tests can fail.
A test that doesn’t work properly can either give no answer at all or give the wrong answer.
The first event causes no harm, given that getting no answer—or an answer that makes no sense—makes it clear to the user that something is wrong with the test.
If this happens, don’t try to resuscitate the device or repeat the test. Just get a new one.
A device that has failed once can no longer be trusted.
A test can be faulty for several reasons. Here are two of the most common ones:
- The device is past its expiration date. yes, pregnancy tests have expiration dates.
- The test was stored in a place that gets very hot or very cold.
Getting the wrong answer for example when the test says you’re pregnant when you actually aren’t, or the other way around, is a much more serious issue.
False negatives -results saying you’re not pregnant when you actually are- are more common than false positives -results saying you are pregnant when you actually aren’t-, but both cases are possible.
False negatives are often caused by testing too early.
Another potential cause of false negatives is performing the test incorrectly.
Checking the result too early or too late, keeping the stick in the urine for too little time or for too long, or departing from the instructions for any other step can affect the test’s result.
Sometimes people think they already know what to do because they have used a test before, but all tests are slightly different.
Other things that can affect the test’s result, causing either a false negative or a false positive, are certain medications, certain medical conditions, and contamination of the urine sample.
The best way to avoid false positives or false negatives is to read and follow the instructions carefully, to take the test a week after your missed period, and to make sure nothing comes into contact with the urine sample.
Regardless of the results, it is advisable to repeat the pregnancy test a few days later to confirm the result.