How Accurate Are Pregnancy Tests ?

During one of my recent Slasher movie marathons, I remember watching ‘Saw’. By now those guys have made 7 sequels, with probably 7 more in store. But who cares? Regardless of what sequel I was on, a particular scene really piqued my interest.

There was this insurance company owner, right in the middle of a tough as nuts situation. The Jigsaw Killer had this guy pinned against his subordinates, who were sitting on a Merry Go Round ride, with a shotgun pointing at their faces. If I might add to the gravity of the scene, it was a perfect in da face situation.

So this guy had the option of saving only one person. The Merry Go Round would merrily swing and if he didn’t press a razor edged button, the shotgun would blow off someone’s head. Everyone was trying his/her level best to give Mr. El Jeffe a reason to choose them. The Indian guy was ranting about being the only son, the white guy yelled about how he had always been there when the company needed him – so on and so forth.

Finally, there was this girl who, probably couldn’t think of a better excuse, yelled, “I AM PREGNANT!!!! Please Help Meeeeee!!” Sigh, the rituals of being a woman; you can’t let any harm come to a pregnant lady, can you? Nonetheless, the it got my thinking process going.

I needed to write something to help our astute readers understand a few things about pregnancy. Hence, the initial foundation of this article was laid down somewhere in my head.

Here are some of the most common questions related to pregnancy:

–          How Accurate Are Pregnancy Tests?

–          What kinds of tests are available out there?

–          Granted that I am a woman, how would I know that I am pregnant?

–          Are pregnancy test strips legit?

There are tons of other questions associated with the primary issue being the accuracy of a pregnancy test. Let’s take a look at them one-by-one:

  • Introduction to Pregnancy Tests – What Tests Are Used to Determine Pregnancy?

It’s 2012 and what we are looking at now, is a massive collection of pregnancy test kits in the market. There are good ones, which are accurate; there is a middle standard which is “fairly accurate” and finally there are low standard products.

The primary rule of conducting a pregnancy test is to go to a doctor. It is true that they will sometimes charge a pretty penny for the procedure, but the results are 99% accurate. According to a recent study conducted by the ‘McKinley Health Center’ under the tutelage of the University of Illinois, it was reported that during initial phases of pregnancy, a woman’s body produces special hormones.

Known as Humane Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG), the hormone is strongly detectable in a woman’s urine, her urinal tract and at bloodstream levels. The best time to look for the hCG is when a woman has missed a period. During these circumstances, the results are greatly accurate.

In case of irregular menstrual cycles, the test can be conducted within a 36 day time period, starting from the first day of your most recent period.  During this time period, if you have had unprotected test, then you are eligible for an Emergency Contraception solutions, which are widely available in over the counter pharmacies.

Are Home Pregnancy Tests Legit?

Continuing with the ongoing discussion in the McKinley Pregnancy Journal, experts suggest that it is imperative to answer the following questions before conducting a pregnancy test at home:

  1. Before the test, were you feeling pain in the abdominal region?
  2. Have you been experiencing irregular bleeding since your last menstruation cycle?

If either one of the above questions has a positive answer – you should immediately contact an expert gynecologist. Obviously, in case of a ‘No’, a home based pregnancy test is a good option for the person. Home test kits are available everywhere these days; hospitals, private clinics, or your local over the counter pharmacy shop – make sure you are buying something reliable.


Expert Advice on Pregnancy Test Results:

Most of the tests are performed through urination – there is no denying to it. Doctors are of the view that these tests are 99% accurate. However, it’s the remaining 1%, which is being used as a false excuse over and over again.

According to a plethora of surveys conducted over the past few years, pregnancy has posed as a barrier in a lot of organizations and real life situations. Women, who are not pregnant, use it as a reason to get extra privileges wherever possible.

As far as the results are concerned, experts don’t recommend repetitions. For individuals who are trying to get pregnant but haven’t been able to do so, they have to be sure of using contraceptive protection UNTIL the first period. Afterwards, unprotected intercourse may seem to be in order if the couple is trying to have a baby.

Some tests, alongside their results, require medical evaluation. In such circumstances, it is best to seek professional help.


The Question of Pregnancy Test Results Accuracy:

One of the most important questions still hangs in the balance: how accurate are pregnancy tests? Is there a standard to follow? How would someone know for sure that a pregnancy is finally confirmed?

First of all, those Pregnancy Tests, which are conducted under the supervision of an expert doctor, lab assistant, gynecologist and etc.; they always have very accurate results. There’s a one in a million chance if something doesn’t turn out as expected.

[checklist]1. On the contrary, HPTs (Home Pregnancy Tests) are another story. Since the test is being conducted by the women herself, certain things need to be kept in check:
The actual procedure of conducting a HPT starts with following the instructions carefully. Also, every test kit has an expiration date, which can significantly impact the results. Researchers have reportedly recommended a waiting period of 10 minutes for the most accurate results to show up.
2. The total density of hCG is dependent on a specific period. This hormone grows to a bigger level as the time passes by. But if you have missed a period and haven’t performed the test in a long while, it’d mean that the results percentage will drop a little.
3. Women have different ovulation time periods. Some of them ovulate early – hence calling for an immediate test. Some women, don’t ovulate, which redeems the growth of hCG. In such cases, the test may be required at later phases.
4. Finally, the brand and reputation of a test kit matters a lot. Some of them are very sensitive, while others are built in a casual manner. Therefore, it is safe to say that some home based pregnancy test results are better at spotting hCG, while others aren’t that much effective.[/checklist]


The Infamous Cherie Santai Case – Discrimination Against a Pregnant Woman:

So far, the article tone reflects a bit of rudeness towards pregnant women. Suggesting that pregnancy could be used as an excuse to take advantage of a particular situation might seem like a harsh statement to some comely females.

However, in order to give both sides of the picture, I decided to write something in favor of pregnant women as well.

Ms. Cherie Santai considers herself a front line victim of gender discrimination at work place – in fact, a casualty of the front line management at her office. In 1994, she started as a part time cashier at ‘Fred Beans Ford Inc.’ The Company operated as one of the major car dealerships in the country.

Things went great for the next few years. Seeing to her impeccable work ethics and remarkable performance, the “kind” hearted Mr. Beans promoted Santai to a Service Manager position. She was single handedly overlooking the operations of the company’s Mitsubishi and Hyundai branches.

However, back in 2008, Santai was terminated. The reason being her third time pregnancy came as a bit of a ‘disappointment’ to her boss. Mr. Fred Beans, instead of congratulating her, became very upset. Santai still recalls that day when she broke the news to her boss. His facial expressions and body language weren’t encouraging at all.

“I had always looked up to him. He was always a father figure, a mentor,” she said. “Then, he was very cold. He kept asking me what I planned on doing. He didn’t think that I’d be able to handle things at work.”

However, it seems that Fred messed with the wrong pregnant chick at the wrong time. He was sued for $150,000. The case was filed in May 2010, and was eventually won in September 2010. The company’s CEO couldn’t be reached for further comments. He, at one point, did say that Santai’s pregnancy had nothing to do with firing her. The top management just eliminated her job position because of the economic pressure.

Santai, on the other hand, bluntly denies such lame excuses and says, “The post was never eliminated. I practically trained the guy who came in as my replacement.”

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