Sex Advice

Dear Dr. Locker: Do home pregnancy tests work?

Answer from Dr. Locker

Yes, home pregnancy tests work well. However, the blood tests that a doctor can give you are sometimes more accurate, and often can get you results earlier.

"Early Results" home pregnancy urine tests (like "First Response" or any other brand name or generic early pregnancy test in your drug store) can give you results four days before you expect to have your period; although, if you use the home test that soon, then the accuracy rate is low. If you wait to take a home pregnancy test until the day that you expect your period, then the accuracy of the test is better, and if you wait until one week after you miss a period, then the the accuracy is the best it will get with a home pregnancy test. If you get a positive result it is most likely true. However, home tests are still not as accurate as the tests a doctor can give you.

The most accurate test is a blood test that your doctor can give you. It can determine if you are pregnant 7 days after you had unprotected sex. Also, it can tell you the amount of HCG (the hormone that indicates pregnancy) which is in your blood. Most importantly, the doctor will assure you that the results are correct. You might have to take several home tests to convince yourself of the results. Plus, if you are pregnant, you'll need to see a doctor anyway to discuss prenatal care. That's why I really recommend that you see a doctor. For more information call your own doctor, or to make an appointment at a Planned Parenthood in your area, call 1-800-230-PLAN.


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