When’s the best time to take a pregnancy test?

An off-the-shelf test kit is a convenient way to confirm that you’re preggers. Find out if they’re reliable.

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You suspect you might be preggers because your period is late, but you know it’s better to confirm your condition with a pregnancy test kit.

Ob-gyn Dr Peter Chew says most off-the-shelf test kits should produce an accurate reading if you’ve missed your period for at least five days. It’s best to pee on the stick first thing in the morning as this when the pregnancy hormone — B-HCG — is more concentrated, and hence, easier to detect.

Blood tests are more sensitive to the levels of B-HCG in your body… In urine-based test kits, however, their sensitivity can differ between brands.

By the way, you can trust those test results even if you’re taking contraceptives like pills, hormone implants, vaginal rings and intra-uterine devices (like Mirena). However, Dr Chew points out that the following factors may:

* The regularity of your periods If you tend to experience irregular periods, the test may not be able to detect B-HCG early.

* The time when the urine sample is collected The most accurate samples are from your first morning pee.

* Certain fertility-boosting drugs Meds used in fertility treatment may interfere with detection.

If you fall into the above categories, it may be best to get your doc to test your blood. Dr Chew notes that blood tests are more sensitive to the levels of B-HCG in your body — any reading more than 5mlU/ml will mean that you are pregnant. In urine-based test kits, however, their sensitivity can differ between brands.

In the first trimester, the level of HCG found in these blood tests can show if your foetus is developing well. Explaining that HCG levels will also determine if the pregnancy is viable and healthy, Dr Dharshini Gopalakrishnakone, Singapore Medical Group’s consultant obstetrician-gynaecologist, adds, “This alleviates some anxiety in patients for whom the pregnancy is too early to be scanned.”