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Top 9 Best Pregnancy Tests for Modern Moms

UpdatedMay 29, 2024

Choosing the best pregnancy test is important for modern moms-to-be, as it's often their first step in motherhood.

Pregnancy tests offer a quick and convenient way for women to determine if they are expecting. The accuracy of pregnancy tests is crucial for those wanting to know if they're pregnant. Many of these tests offer over 99% accuracy, thanks to modern technology.

In this article, you’ll learn how pregnancy tests work, the different types of tests, and how to use them. We also have the 9 best options and their standout features, pointing you toward the test that suits your needs.

Pregnancy Test Basics

Home pregnancy tests work by reacting to the hCG hormone. This hormone starts producing in a woman’s body approximately six days following fertilization.

The accuracy of these tests largely depends on their sensitivity to hCG levels, with pregnant women typically having hCG levels higher than 5 mIU/mL.

If you’re pregnant, hCG is produced in your body shortly after the fertilized egg attaches to your uterine lining. Afterward, the hCG levels will increase, typically every 72 hours, and double their levels during early pregnancy.

The hCG levels of pregnant women vary depending on the stage:

Pregnancy tests come in two primary forms: blood tests and urine tests.

Blood tests are done in the laboratory and will show you results to confirm if you’re pregnant. Meanwhile, urine tests are pregnancy kits you can buy online or over-the-counter.

They have different ways of confirming pregnancy. The testing kit will show a plus sign, two vertical strips, or the word pregnant, depending on the test kit you’re using.

Now let’s further discuss the two types of tests performed to detect pregnancy.

Blood Tests

If you want to get a more accurate answer, you can opt for a blood pregnancy test, which is done at a doctor's clinic.

Blood tests can identify the presence of the hormone hCG as early as six to eight days post-ovulation or about one week after conception. They are more sensitive than urine tests. This means that even before you experience the first signs of pregnancy or miss your period, a blood test could tell you if you’re expecting.

Two types of blood tests

  • Quantitative blood test: A detailed test that shows the exact amount of the pregnancy hormone (hCG) in your blood. This high level of specificity allows it to detect even minuscule amounts of hCG in the bloodstream, enhancing its accuracy.
  • Qualitative hCG blood test: This test only checks if the hCG hormone is present or not. It’s as accurate as the urine tests at home.

A Doctor’s Note:

While blood tests are highly accurate and can detect pregnancy earlier than urine tests, they may take longer (usually a few days) to get results compared to home tests.

How a Blood Test Is Done

Blood pregnancy tests are carried out in a medical setting mainly because they involve the extraction and analysis of a blood sample. Here’s how they do it:

  1. A healthcare professional will draw a small amount of blood from a vein in your arm.
  2. The sample will be sent to a laboratory where the concentration of the hormone hCG is measured.
  3. After the analysis, the healthcare provider will send you the results and explain them to you.

Results

Normal results for a pregnant woman have hCG levels of more than 5 mIU/ mL. Their hCG levels usually peak around 90-100,000 mIU/mL. Anything over or under this level requires a consultation with your gynecologist.

Higher than normal levels of hCG may indicate multiple pregnancies (twins, triplets), a molar pregnancy, uterine carcinoma, or ovarian cancer.

Lower than normal levels of hCG during pregnancy might indicate ectopic pregnancy, a risk of miscarriage, an incomplete miscarriage, a blighted ovum, or fetal demise.

Abnormal results are usually rechecked within 48-72 hours to monitor the changing hCG levels.

Urine Tests

Urine tests are the most popular type of pregnancy test kits, which you can do at home. They’re easily accessible, easy to use, and deliver quick results. Unlike blood tests, you don't need to interpret hCG levels. Instead, urine tests provide simple indicators to confirm pregnancy.

A Doctor’s Note:

Urine tests can also be done at your healthcare provider’s office, where they will perform a urinalysis. Your healthcare provider will ask you to collect a small sample of clean, midstream urine in a sterile plastic cup

Chemically prepared testing strips are dipped into your urine sample to screen for certain indicators. A more in-depth analysis may be done by having your urine sample assessed by a laboratory. However, this can be costly, and you must wait a long time to get the results. This is why most women prefer doing a pregnancy test at home.

While there's a variety of urine tests on the market, they work the same way: detecting the hCG hormone. Once the test kit has detected this hormone, a chemical in it will change color, producing the familiar line or symbol indicating pregnancy. Most urine tests detect hCG levels greater than 20 mIU/mL.

You can purchase pregnancy tests in sets of one or two. They also come in different types and show different results, which are the following:

Here, you will see that different types of pregnancy tests have different methods and ways to confirm pregnancy.

Doing a Home Pregnancy Test

Pregnancy tests have revolutionized how women find out if they're expecting. It's a way to detect pregnancy without needing a doctor's appointment. It offers rapid results, and you can do it at home. Here's how to use them:

  1. Before using a test kit, always check the instructions and the expiration date. Each brand might have slightly different recommendations, so follow them.
  2. Some tests require urinating directly onto a stick, while others might need you to collect the urine in a cup first. Use your first-morning urine sample. Remember that morning is the best time to take a pregnancy test because the hCG concentration is the highest.
  3. If you're using a test requiring you to dip a stick into a cup of urine, ensure you only immerse in the specified portion for the recommended time. Aim your stream to the indicated area if the test requires urinating directly onto the stick.
  4. After applying the urine, wait for the indicated period per the instructions. This could be anywhere from a minute to several minutes.
  5. Wait for the results. Depending on the test, you may see lines, symbols, or digital readings to confirm pregnancy.

Note on Accuracy:

While most urine tests are designed to be accurate when used correctly, their accuracy can be influenced by factors like the test's sensitivity, the concentration of hCG in the urine, and the timing in relation to the expected period.

Timing for Pregnancy Test

To ensure you get accurate results when you take a pregnancy test, here are some factors to consider:

Perform the Test at the Right Time

Take a pregnancy test as early as the first day after your first missed period or anytime your period is late.

But if you’re trying to become pregnant, it’s best to take the test one week after your missed period. This ensures that sufficient time has passed after conception for the hCG levels to be detectable

Prevent a False-Negative Result

Waiting one week before testing also prevents a false negative result (getting negative results even though you’re pregnant); you should take the urine test one week after your missed period.

Consider Irregular Cycles

But what if you have irregular periods? When is the best time to take a pregnancy test? It’s recommended to take the pregnancy test 21 days after unprotected sex or 14 days past the duration of your longest cycle.

A Doctor’s Note:

The waiting period before taking a pregnancy test is important. This ensures your body has hCG levels that are high enough to be detected by the test, which can result in more accurate results

Choosing a Pregnancy Test

With so many options available, choosing the best pregnancy test can be overwhelming. But before you choose your kit, let's delve into the key factors you should consider to help you make an informed decision.

Test Accuracy and Sensitivity

Most pregnancy tests are 99% accurate. This high accuracy rate is due to the FDA's stringent approval process in the US, which ensures that these tests can reliably detect pregnancy and the result you receive is trustworthy.

Pregnancy tests have varying sensitivity levels in detecting hCG in your body, which is why these tests might detect pregnancy at different rates. If you want to detect pregnancy early, choose a test that has high sensitivity so you can take the test even before the suggested waiting period.

Results Readability

The dye color can affect the results' clarity. Tests that use pink dye are generally easier to interpret than those using blue dye because pink dyes are less prone to getting an evaporation line.

An evaporation line occurs when dried urine reacts with the test's chemicals, often looking like a faint positive but lacking the color of a true positive line.

This difference is particularly noticeable when faint lines appear, especially in blue dye, which can leave users uncertain whether the result is positive.

Speed

Various pregnancy tests offer different result times. While some kits deliver answers in just five minutes, others, like the Clearblue Rapid Detection Kit, can provide results in just 1 minute.

Ease of Use

A good pregnancy test with clear instructions should be easy to use. Additionally, consider how the sample is collected. Some tests, like analog test kits and pregnancy strips, require urinating into a cup and then dipping the test, while others allow you to urinate directly on them.

Top 9 Best Pregnancy Tests

Looking for the best pregnancy test kits? Here’s our list of the best ones available. Now that you understand how pregnancy tests work, let’s dive in this part to find which pregnancy test is best for you.

Order Now at LabCorp

Overview:

If you want to confirm pregnancy early, opt for a blood test like this one offered by LabCorp. For $49, this quantitative hCG pregnancy test offers results as early as 10 days post-conception.

This test is an indispensable tool for healthcare professionals in assessing high-risk pregnancies. It can diagnose ectopic pregnancies or ensure no pregnancy before undergoing procedures that could affect a growing fetus.

So if you’re health conscious, taking a blood test is ideal as it bridges the gap between early detection and medical assurance.

Pros:

  • Highly accurate results
  • Can detect pregnancy earlier than any other pregnancy tests
  • Helps diagnose various pregnancy-related conditions

Cons:

  • Requires going to the establishment to get the test done
  • One day of waiting time to get the results
Order Now at Amazon

Overview:

The First Response Early Result detects is the best early detection pregnancy test kit that can confirm pregnancy even a few days before your missed period. Recognized for its reputation, it has become a go-to for those keen on early results. It’s also 97% accurate, highly sensitive, and simple to use, making it the best accurate pregnancy test on the market.

It features an ergonomic handle, which minimizes any spill or mess during testing. Each pack costs $12.95 which contains three tests and an easy-to-follow guide. Aside from detecting pregnancy early, the clear and prominent display guarantees results that are easy to read and understand.

Pros:

  • Detects pregnancy at least 6 days before your missed period
  • Clear and crisp result display
  • Easy-to-handle ergonomic design
  • Includes multiple tests per pack

Cons:

  • Slightly pricier compared to some other brands
Order Now at Amazon

Overview:

Clearblue is a brand known for its plus-sign tests in blue and for making the best digital pregnancy tests on the market. But if you want fast results in just 1 minute, the brand’s Rapid Detection is the best at-home pregnancy test to get.

With a straightforward process, you can expect a hassle-free testing experience. Just immerse the absorbent tip into your urine stream for a few seconds, then wait to view the results.

This test also stands out for its user-centric design and early detection feature, which makes it a top choice for those who want fast results. It’s offered in a pack of 2 tests for only $8.

However, as with all tests, it's essential to understand that results become more definitive as one gets closer to the expected period.

Pros:

  • Delivers fast results
  • Clear and wide window for unambiguous result reading
  • Ergonomic design for easy handling and use

Cons:

  • Results are more accurate closer to the expected period
Order Now at Amazon

Overview:

The Easy@Home Pregnancy Test Strips offer a cost-effective and reliable method for those who want straightforward results without additional features.

Each pack costs $10 and contains 20 individually sealed strips. It uses a two-line system to interpret results: two lines indicate pregnancy, while one line means not pregnant. While they may lack the frills of more expensive tests, their accuracy and affordability make them a solid choice for frequent testers.

Pros:

  • Affordable, making them ideal for regular testing
  • Simple and straightforward two-line interpretation
  • One pack contains multiple tests

Cons:

  • Results may be difficult to decipher
Order Now at Amazon

Overview:

The Wondfo Early Detection Pregnancy Test Strips are renowned for their high sensitivity with a 10 mIU/ml cut-off level, which stands distinctively lower than the standard 25 mIU/ml. This lets you detect pregnancy as early as 6 days before a missed period. It also gives you results within 3-5 minutes.

A unique feature of the Wondfo test is its "Line Progression" tracking capability. This allows you to repeat the test to observe changes in hCG levels.

Additionally, Wondfo offers a pack of 25 pregnancy test strips for $11, which are typically narrower than standard stick tests. They work by dipping the strip into a sample of urine. It's one of the popular choices among at-home testing options, especially for those who prefer testing frequently or prefer a budget-friendly option.

Pros:

  • Highly sensitive test
  • Provides rapid results within 3-5 minutes
  • Allows users to track hCG level progression

Cons:

  • Intensity of the lines might not darken significantly, potentially due to very low hCG levels
Order Now at Natalist

Overview:

The Natalist Early Pregnancy Test Strips provide an eco-friendly alternative to traditional home pregnancy tests. It’s also highly accurate and provides results in just 5 minutes. You can use it to identify pregnancy as early as 2 to 5 days before a missed period.

These pregnancy test strips are packaged 15 in an eco-friendly box for $16. They’re also easy to use — immerse the strip in a urine sample for 15 seconds and wait for five minutes to see the results.

Pros:

  • Eco-friendly design with reduced plastic and no electronic waste
  • Highly accurate with over 99% reliability
  • Clear instructions in both English and Spanish

Cons:

  • Multiple tests might be required for clearer results
Order Now at Amazon

Overview:

Designed for early detection, these strips can identify HCG in just five minutes. The color intensity of the bands may vary, reflecting the concentration of HCG in the urine.

The product comes in a value pack containing 50 separate sealed strips for $12. This large quantity offers an economical option, especially for those planning to test multiple times early on in their pregnancy.

Pros:

  • Accurate and clear results
  • Highly sensitive test
  • Value pack offers 50 individually sealed strips
  • Offers a simple three-step process

Cons:

  • Don't produce the darkest lines, which some users might find challenging to interpret
Order Now at Amazon

Overview:

Aside from detecting pregnancy, Pregmate's Ovulation and Pregnancy Test Strips are also designed to identify fertile windows, which can help you determine the optimal times for conception. It has a sensitivity level of 25 mIU/ml, which can accurately detect your most fertile days, suggesting the best times for trying to conceive.

Using them is simple, and each package contains 4 test strips for $30, which come in a user-friendly design.

Pros:

  • Accurate and reliable in detecting ovulation and pregnancy
  • Suitable for detecting LH surge without common defects
  • Complements other fertility indicators

Cons:

  • Users with PCOS might get multiple positives, which could be confusing
Order Now at Amazon

Overview:

The Modern Fertility Pregnancy Test combines precision and affordability, backed by a dedicated iOS app. With an impressive 99% accuracy rate from the day of the missed period, it allows users to test even 6 days beforehand.

Each package costs $14, with four test kits that give you results in five minutes. The brand also offers its users access to the Modern Community, a platform for connecting with peers and consulting fertility specialists.

Pros:

  • Early testing capability up to 6 days before the missed period
  • Integrated app support for comprehensive fertility tracking
  • Access to a vibrant online community and expert advice

Cons:

  • Exclusive app compatibility with iOS may limit accessibility for non-iOS users
  • Potential need for repeated tests to ensure consistent results

Bottom Line

For expectant mothers, selecting a dependable pregnancy test is crucial. These tests primarily spot hCG, a hormone signaling early pregnancy, detectable around 7 days after conception. Although blood tests excel at super-early detection, urine tests are popular due to their convenience.

Precision matters in accurate results. Pregnancy tests are diverse, from digital displays to traditional lines, accommodating different preferences. Mind factors affecting results and follow instructions.

Pregnancy test kits are an initial step, giving immediate pregnancy insights. By interpreting results wisely, you're proactively caring for your health and future.

FAQs on Pregnancy Tests

What's the best pregnancy confirmation test?

The ideal pregnancy confirmation test depends on your choice. At-home urine tests offer convenience and privacy, though waiting until after a missed period provides more accurate results. Blood tests performed at a clinic detect pregnancy earlier and more accurately.

Why do I feel pregnant, but the tests are negative?

Feeling pregnant with negative test results may be due to testing too early, before detectable hCG levels. Also, medical conditions like pseudocyesis can mimic pregnancy symptoms.

Are night pregnancy tests accurate?

Pregnancy tests are most accurate using your first-morning urine when hCG concentration is highest. Testing later, especially after drinking fluids, can dilute urine and reduce accuracy. If testing at night, limit fluid intake hours before.

What's the maximum number of days for a late period?

A menstrual cycle ranges from 21 to 35 days (adults) or 21 to 45 days (young teens). Beyond this range is considered a late period. The cycle length can vary due to factors like physical activity or lifestyle.