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We're all women who have had experience with pregnancy ourselves. We know what it feels like to try to get pregnant, and we know how terribly nerve-wrecking that tw0-week wait can be.

We've had pregnancy test in our bathroom cabinets in bulk, and we have used them too early. But you shouldn't, really. You will just waste your money and nerves for no reason. 

Testing with early vs normal pregnancy tests

Have you heard about the early pregnancy tests on the market that don't require you to wait until the first day of your missed period? They sound great, don't they? Early, extra sensitive home pregnancy tests, the 20 mlU/mL HCG ones, do allow you to test earlier than your normal, run-of-the-mill pregnancy tests. They are going to be reliable from around four days before your expected menstruation. These pregnancy tests are going to be just as reliable as traditional pregnancy tests, at around 99 percent. There are pregnancy tests on the market that are even more sensitive, and they come at 10 mlU/mL hCG.

These tests promise to give you good results as early as a week before your period was due because they detect microscopic amounts of hCG in your urine. Before you take one of these tests, it is good to be aware that even women who are not pregnant may have small amounts of hCG in their urine actually, up to the 10 mlU/mL that the tests look for. Most medical professionals will advise you not to take these tests for that reason.

There is another good reason to steer clear of any type of early pregnancy tests there is a high chance of miscarriage at this point after conception. Even if you get a positive test that reflects that you conceived, the new pregnancy may not make it to the date of your menstruation. Normal home pregnancy tests use 25 mlU/mL to detect pregnancy. These tests should be used from the date of your missed period. Women who do not know exactly when they were expecting their menstruation can use these tests when they realize they missed a period, and women who have irregular periods can use them at any point when they suspect pregnancy especially if they were not trying to conceive. These pregnancy tests are not meant to be used earlier than that, and the chances of getting a false negative are high. There simply isn't enough hCG in your urine to make the test accurate at this point.

The case against early testing

Now that we have that technical bit out the way, we can discuss emotional reasons to refrain from early testing. OK, you have a nice financial incentive to avoid serial testing too. If you want to do something that is productive for your health and fertility, buy yourself a freshly squeezed orange juice and a nice new strip of folic acid supplements :).

Remember, most couples who are trying to conceive will get pregnant within the year. There are many things you can do to increase your odds, and they may include taking ovulation tests. Having intercourse at the right time of the month is, after all, the single most helpful thing you can do to get pregnant. Once you have that part taken care of, you will either be pregnant that month or not. Taking tests too early will get your hopes up, or make you anxious depending on your personality. Go hang out with your partner. Read a book. About pregnancy and baby care, if you must.

Mark the date of your expected menstrual period on your calendar and test when you realize that your period is indeed late. You can even wait a few days longer just to make sure that your missed period is not some kind of fluke. It does happen, even if you are as regular as clock work. Stressing out about being pregnant, or not being pregnant, could be quite enough to delay your period for a few days. Pregnancy is a wonderful thing. Pregnancy tests can be pretty useful, too. But there is sure something to be said for listening to your body and looking out for pregnancy signs too. You'll find out. Soon enough.

  • Photo courtesy of 123rf (stock photos)
  • Photo courtesy of 123rf (stock photos)

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