Updated: December 2017

Home Pregnancy Tests

Pregnancy, and worrying about being pregnant, can lead to a lot of stress for women, whether their goal is to get pregnant or they are hoping they are not. While missed menstrual cycles are the classic sign of a pregnancy, many women know that being a few days late or early happens all the time. The only way to KNOW if you are pregnant in the very early stages is to take a test that measures the level of a hormone called hCG, which stands for human chorionic gonadotropin. This hormone is produced within about 2 weeks of an egg being fertilized, and its level in your bloodstream doubles every few days during the first weeks of a pregnancy. Home pregnancy tests are certainly one way to see if you are pregnant versus going into the doctor for an official test.

Doctors can take blood sample to do a very sensitive testing for this chemical - their test results will not only tell you if you are pregnant, but by measuring the amount of hCG found, they can determine when you got pregnant (approximately) and what your expected due date is. Unfortunately, scheduling time at the doctors can take a while, and most women would rather know immediately and privately whether they are pregnant. This is where home pregnancy tests come into play.

Best Home Pregnancy Tests

Home pregnancy tests work similarly to doctor's tests, except they measure hCG in your urine instead of in your blood. And home tests indictate only the PRESENCE or ABSENCE of hCG, but it won't measure the level of hCG (ie, how long you have been pregnant or when your due date is). Most of these tests are designed to be used from a few days to a week after missing a period, but some are effective even several days prior to your expected period -- be sure to read the directions on the packaging, and when in doubt, use the test a week after missing your period. Most of these tests are 99% accurate when used according to directions. The actual test involves either holding the test strip or stick in your urine stream (best when done first thing in the morning) or urinating into a sample cup and then dipping the test strip into the sample. Either way, a simple chemical reaction takes place over a few minutes (the longest minutes in some peoples lives!) as hCG is tested for -- then you get either a color change or appearance of a plus sign or something that tells whether or not you are pregnant (there are also some digital kits that have messages like "not pregnant" that appear on their little screens to make it even more of a no brainer). If you test too early in your menstrual cycle, its possible to get a false negative result (ie, saying you are not pregnant when in fact you might be), so always follow the exact timing instructions that come with the kit. You can also get false positive readings (ie, saying you are pregnant when you are not), but these are pretty rare and are normally caused by the presence of hCG in your system from other sources, like fertility drugs or a prior recent pregnancy. When in doubt, consult with your doctor for an official blood test, but these home tests are normally accurate. If you are pregnant, it is best to find out as soon as possible to plan for the health of your new baby. Browse the best selling home pregnancy tests here.

Buying a Home Pregnancy Test Kit

If you want to buy a home pregnancy test, its very easy. Almost all drug stores carry them, or you can buy them online if you want more privacy. Sometimes they are sold back near the pharmacy area and may be in a locked cabinet, as some stores also do with condoms and other reproductive health products. These stores sell them all the time and their is nothing illegal or embarrassing about them - just pick one up or ask for one and head for the counter. How much do home pregnancy tests cost? The ClearBlue Easy Pregnancy Test Bonus Pack sells for about $16, and comes with an extra test stick so you can double check your results a few days later. ClearBlue also offers a digital model (Clearblue Easy Digital Pregnancy Test Bonus Pack) for $19.99 -- instead of deciphering colors or marks, it has a readout of "pregnant" or "not pregnant" -- no way to confuse those results! Accu-Clear Early Pregnancy Test Stick sells for about $11-$12. First Response Early Result Pregnancy Tests are some of the most highly rated test kits for their accuracy. CVS Pharmacy even sells their own private label pregnancy tests kits called CVS One Step Pregnancy Tests 2-Pack for $11. So in general, expect to pay $8-$12 for a single test kit, and $12-$20 for a double test kit. For peace of mind, we recommend the double or bonus test kits - do the test once, wait a few days and then do it again to confirm. For more information on these kits and pregnancy testing in general, feel free to visit some of their website which offer helpful and reassuring information. FirstResponse.com - ClearBlueEasy.com. View top rated home pregnancy test kits here.