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When Should I take a Pregnancy Test? Can I Trust the Results?

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There are many signs of pregnancy, but the only way to know for sure is to take a pregnancy test! They work by detecting a pregnancy hormone in the urine. Someone can do a test at home, a clinic, or a CLSC. The best time to take one is after you expected your period.

When they’re done at the right time, following the instructions, pregnancy tests are very accurate.

Where can I get a pregnancy test?

It’s simple to get a pregnancy test from a pharmacy. You don’t need a prescription for it. You can find them in the “family planning” aisle. They usually cost $10-$20. You can also get tests for much cheaper at dollar stores. They’re just as accurate as a urine pregnancy test that you’d get in a clinic or a CLSC.

No matter how old you are, you can buy a pregnancy test.  If you feel uncomfortable about buying one, you can always ask someone else to, or pretend it’s for a friend!

You can also visit a clinic or CLSC to take a pregnancy test with a nurse. At a CLSC, the test is often free if you have a RAMQ card (Quebec health insurance). If you’re 14 or over, a nurse can give you a pregnancy test without having to tell your parents or guardians. If you’re under 14, the nurse might need permission from your parents or guardians.

When should I take a test?

The best time to take a pregnancy test is after you expected your period.  You can read the label on each test to find out when to take it and how accurate it’ll be.

The “early response” pregnancy tests can start working 10 days after having sex, even if your period isn’t late yet.  They’ll be more accurate if you wait until the first or second day of a missed period, though. These tests are more expensive.

If you take a pregnancy test early, you might get a false result! The test could say someone’s not pregnant when they are. After a period is late, at-home tests are right about 97% of the time. For the test to be 99% accurate, you need to wait seven days after a missed period to take it

If your periods are very irregular, or you don’t get periods, it can be harder to get an accurate result. You can take the test 3 weeks after sex to be sure that you can trust the result.

How do I take the test?

A pregnancy test will be less accurate if it’s expired or if you don’t follow the instructions. Before you buy a test, it helps to check the date on the package.

The test will give you the most accurate results if you take it with your first pee of the day. That pee is more concentrated, so it has more pregnancy hormones in it.  Most tests ask you to pee on a stick, and then lay it down on a flat surface.  Some tests could have different instructions. Check the instructions that come with your test!

It usually takes about 3-5 minutes for your result to show. Most tests use a + sign to show a pregnancy and a – to show there is no pregnancy. Some use other symbols. The instructions that come with your test will tell you what to look for.

If you got a negative result, your period should start soon. If you still haven’t gotten your period a week later, it’s a good idea to take another test, just to be sure.

How do I deal with the result?

Before taking a test, it can be a good idea to have a plan in case you need someone to talk to after. You can text a friend to make sure they stay by their phone, or have the number for a youth helpline like Tel-Jeunes ready.

If get a pregnancy test at a CLSC or clinic, a nurse will be there to tell you the result. You can talk with them about what the result means and what your options are.

How do pregnancy tests work?

There are many different brands of  pregnancy tests, but they all work the same way. They test your urine for a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). Bodies only make this hormone if someone’s pregnant.

Your body releases HCG when a fertilized egg attaches to the uterus (when pregnancy starts). The HCG levels increase every day that someone’s pregnant. It doubles about every 2 days. That’s why pregnancy tests are much more accurate when they you use them 7 days after a missed period!

“Early response” pregnancy tests work the same way as other ones, but they can measure smaller HCG levels. That’s why they work earlier!

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