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Pregnancy test review

We have been very careful in planning the timing of conception, attempting to give ourselves the best opportunity to get pregnant. Then you may have read about our premature ovulation incident on Dan’s blog. Despite this, there is a chance I could be pregnant, so I’m now eager to find out what the early signs of pregnancy are and how long I may have to wait to find out.

For any couple trying to get pregnant, waiting to find out if they are is one of the hardest parts!

I know of a few pregnancy symptoms and have done a bit more research into when pregnancy symptoms arise, but I was looking for any ‘early’ signs of pregnancy that could help me determine if I am pregnant. The first day of a missed period is generally when people suspect they are pregnant, but that’s 2 weeks after ovulation! I cant wait 2 weeks! Initially – and the most obvious solution was for me to use a pregnancy test kit.

Both urine and blood pregnancy tests work by detecting the hormone hCG, Human Chorionic Gonadotropin. In a urine pregnancy test, a substance in the test stick changes colour when it detects the hCG hormone and appears as an additional line on the test. The 1st line is a control line to show the test has worked. In a urine test, there must be enough hCG hormone detected in the urine to trigger a positive result. After ovulation, if the egg is fertilized it makes its way down the fallopian tube to the uterus. The fertilized egg (zygote) has to attach to the wall of the uterus for a successful pregnancy to happen. If the zygote does implant itself, hCG is released in the body. Implantation happens 7-10 days after ovulation, therefore the hCG hormone is only detectable in a urine test after this time.

I went to Amazon and looked at the pregnancy test options recalling an early “first response” test from the TV commercials. There is a mix of brands and tests available.

Since I have been using Clearblue fertility monitor, I checked this brand first. The description was Clearblue digital pregnancy test kit with conception indicator. This one actually gives you a text result of “pregnant” or “not pregnant” rather than having to interpret lines or symbols, so pretty straightforward and alleviates the wonder of ‘is that a line, looks a bit faint’. A handy additional feature of the Clearblue test is the conception indicator. This tells you (via the level of hCG hormone detected), how many weeks pregnant you are – 1-2 weeks, 2-3 weeks or 3+ weeks (Although, please note this feature only seems to be available on the UK version of the Clearblue test, Amazon.co.uk will ship the UK version to a US address if this feature is of importance to you). Seems great – however, I’m looking for quick results and this one can give a result up to 4 days before my expected period – otherwise referred to as “4 days early”. The small print suggests that 55% of pregnant women got a positive test result 4 days before their period was due. 86% for 3 days early, 97% for 2 days early – up to 99% on the day of the due period. I also found out that the test result stays on screen for about 24 hours. http://uk.clearblue.com/clearblue-pregnancy-tests-range/clearblue-digital-pregnancy-test-with-conception-indicator

Keen to find the earliest opportunity to find out if I’m pregnant, I searched on to see if any tests can be used earlier.

Next was the First Response Early Pregnancy Test by First Response, which advertises on the packet “tells you first…6 days early”. Looking good – I’ve potentially knocked 2 days off my wait. This one shows results in lines – 1 line for not pregnant and 2 lines for pregnant. A little more interpretation required than Clearblue, but I’m sure we can all manage to read it accurately (in hindsight, maybe not – read about my experience with a faint line here!). Interesting the small print here was 62% of pregnant women tested effectively 5 days before their period was due. While the packaging states 6 days early, the info on the website seems to imply 5 days early – but even at 5 days the % accuracy is higher than 4 days using Clearblue. I think after reading a bit more into this that it’s 6 days earlier including the day your period is due, therefore you can test from 5 days before you expect your period. With Clearblue, you can only test 4 days before or 5 days including the day of your expected period.

Pregnancy tests can be expensive and as I was looking, I came across a cheaper, unbranded alternative. These were the Wondfo Pregnancy Test strips in the US and One Step Ultra Early 20mlU Pregnancy Midstream tests in the UK. Both offer exceptional value at less than a dollar or pound per test. The results seem to take a bit longer to show, up to 5 minutes but it looks like they can detect pregnancy at least 4 days early. This can be a good purchase to back up your branded test if you want to do a few pregnancy tests over several days to verify the result without spending a fortune.

I’ve summarized my findings in the pregnancy test comparison table below to help. I went for the First Response pack in the end, and as a bonus got 2 free One Step tests in the pack. So I will see how I go and perhaps get the cheaper ones in future (every penny helps for a forthcoming maternity leave!). I bought my pregnancy tests online (1) to save being seen in the store by a work colleague and (2) as they are a bit cheaper than in stores. Since I ovulated only 3 days ago, I can’t take the test for another 10/11 days so I have the time to wait for delivery.

Remember, if you are testing ‘early’ you may get a false negative result. If your test is negative, you may still be pregnant but there isn’t yet enough hCG hormone in your urine for the test to detect. Try testing again in a few days if your period is late or you just want to be sure.

Test: Clearblue digital pregnancy test kit with conception indicator (UK only) Clearblue easy digital pregnancy test kit (US version) First Response Early Pregnancy Test Wondfo Pregnancy Test strips (US) One Step Ultra Early 20mIU Pregnancy Midstream Tests (UK)
Results displayed “pregnant” or “not pregnant” “pregnant” or “not pregnant” 2 lines for pregnant, 1 line for not pregnant 2 lines for pregnant, 1 line for not pregnant 2 lines for pregnant, 1 line for not pregnant
Days before due period you can test from 4 4 5 ? 4
% accuracy at earliest test 55% (4 days earlier) 51% (4 days earlier) 62% (5 days) ? ?
Results show how far along you are Yes, 1-2 weeks, 2-3 weeks, 3+ weeks No No No No
Time it takes to display a result 3 mins 3 mins 3 mins 5 mins 5 mins
Other key points FDA approved Tests supplied to NHS
Price/cost £9.79 UK for 2 pack (US can purchase from the UK for around $17) $12.93 for 3 pack £5.25 UK for 2 pack $12.98 for 3 pack $15.49 for 25 pack £3.09 for 5 pack
Price per test £4.89 UK $8.50 US $4.31 £2.63 UK $4.33 US $0.61 0.61

 

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