are, in principle, easy, do-it-yourself affairs. However, with both types of tests, there are a number of key tips to help you get the most out of these diagnostic (HPT) and predictive (OPK) tools. Sidestep common and frustrating testing mistakes! By adhering to the tips below, you will:
Testing Tips for HPTs and OPKs:
Getting Accurate Results with Pregnancy and Ovulation Testing
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Tip 1: Pregnancy Tests and Ovulation Tests are not the same! Read the Instructions...
One common mistake many novice home testers make is generalizing the procedures of one test to the other. Ovulation tests and home pregnancy tests are qualitatively different types of tests. For optimum results, they should be used at different times of day and the interpretation of results requires a very different approach. Where a "faint positive" test line on a HPT may indicate pregnancy, on a OPK this is clearly a negative result.
Tip 2: Do Not try to Interpret the tests after the allotted Test "Reaction Time"
Even the home testing veterans are prone to make this mistake - but with most tests, results should not be read after the allotted test "reaction time" - usually between five and ten minutes. Yes, the temptation is there to keep reading the test until it gives you the result you want, but remember: HPTs and OPKs are diagnostic products designed to be used within strict clinical guidelines. For best results, follow the instructions carefully and methodically as if YOU were a doctor in a clinic.
Tip 3: HPTs and First Morning Urine
Because home pregnancy tests detect hCG, it is best to collect urine samples containing the highest amount of the hCG hormone. Diluted samples (from drinking high volumes of water / frequent urination) can diminish test accuracy. Instead, first morning urine is considered the ideal sample as it contains the most concentrated presence of hCG. If you test later in the day, make sure that you do not urinate at least 3 to 4 hours before testing.
Tip 4: OPKs in the Afternoon.
Unlike pregnancy tests, ovulation predictor kits should not be used with first morning urine. LH - or luteinizing hormone is - is synthesized by the body in the morning, but it does not show up in your system (urine) until afternoon. Most manufacturers recommend taking ovulation tests between 10AM and 8PM - though afternoon is considered the ideal testing time. Also, it is recommended that you test at the same time every day.
Tip 5: Aim or Dip With Precision (Or Toss the Test)
Frequently, home test takers assume that getting urine on the "test area" by any means possible is the right move. Therefore, on midstream tests, women will urinate directly into the test window - or test strip users will dip the entire test strip into the urine. In both cases, this procedural error will invalidate test results and both control and test bands will probably not appear at all.
Both HPTs and OPKs function by allowing urine to pass from the bottom of the test and up through an absorbent medium - allowing the urine to pass through anti-LH or anti-hCG antibodies and the accompanying color dye. For best results:
1) Allow sufficient urine saturation of the test strip or midstream tip as per test instructions.
2) Do not allow liquid to touch the test area (where you read results). Allow the urine to pass through the test as per instructions.
3) For test strips, do not dip the strip below the submersion marker or arrow line.
4) For midstream tests, hold the test so the test area (window) is facing away from your stream of urine.
Tip 6: Avoid "Evaporation Lines"
Evaporation lines can appear on any home urine diagnostic test. The composition of the urine itself can be responsible for the development of an evaporation line - and there is only one sure way to avoid an evaporation line: read test results within the allotted reaction time (see tip 2) before this phenomenon can take place.
Tip 7: Hold Your Urine!
Diluted urine samples can delay the detection of pregnancy or "wash away" the presence of LH. Make sure that you "hold it" several hours before collecting a sample. For pregnancy tests, first morning urine is ideal - given that you have not urinated frequently throughout the night.
Tip 8: Check Your (Fertility) Medications
If you are taking medications, especially fertility medications, consult your physicians to make sure that they do not interfere with testing results. The only medications that can cause a false positive on a home pregnancy test are those than contain hCG itself. If you are taking fertility medications with hCG - e.g. Novarel, Profasi, Pregnyl - please consult your doctor regarding appropriate times and circumstances for testing. In regards to OPKs, medications like Clomid can cause false positives for an LH surge if taken too early in a woman's cycle.
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Pregnancy and Ovulation Test Instructions
Test Instructions are specific to Early-Pregnancy-Tests.com products. They are re-published here as a single example of urine test instructions. These instructions should not be generalized to other brands.