Women's Healthcare Topics

Most Sensitive Early Pregnancy Tests

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

What is The Best Early Pregnancy Test?

The accuracy of a home pregnancy test (HPT) is dependent on both the type of test kit you use and your ability to correctly perform and read the test. Most women only wait until the first day of their missed period to do their first pregnancy test, this results in a high rate of negative tests. It is believed that 46% of pregnant women will have a negative test when tested on the first day of their missed period.

There are significant differences in sensitivity among pregnancy tests, the following list is the best tests to use early in pregnancy.

Home pregnancy at week 4

"First Response manual" and "First Response Gold" digital devices are the most sensitive pregnancy tests, with a sensitivity of 5.5 IU/L. This test should detect 97 percent of pregnancies on the first day of a missed period. The first response gold digital pregnancy test is sensitive enough to give you results five days before your missed period. With an easy-to-read "YES+/NO-" result answer. It also offers an unique "test is working" indicator that lets you know the test is ready for use.

The second most sensitive pregnancy tests are the “EPT” manual and digital devices, with a sensitivity of 11 to 22 IU/L. These tests detected 54 percent and 67 percent of pregnancies, respectively, on the first day of a missed period.

"Clearblue Easy" manual and digital devices also have a sensitivity of 11 to 22 IU/L. These tests detected 64 percent and 54 percent of pregnancies, respectively, on the first day of a missed period.

How Early Can You Take a Pregnancy Test?

Pregnancy Health Section

Types of Pregnancy Tests

Pregnancy tests are either done on urine or blood. The urine pregnancy test should be used for a suspected pregnancy if you have missed your period and can allow time to follow up an initial negative pregnancy test with a second test 5 to 7 days later.

Whereas a blood pregnancy test is much more accurate and can be done around the time of the first day of your missed period.

The blood pregnancy test is the most sensitive for detecting the pregnancy hormone hCG. It is performed in your healthcare provider’s office and It usually takes a few hours to get your results. In contrast, the urine pregnancy test despite being less accurate in detecting the pregnancy hormone can be performed in the privacy of your home and you can have your results immediately.

Home Pregnancy Test

If you have a positive home pregnancy test you should always confirm the results with your physician’s office. A positive test is interpreted by viewing the number of color lines in the window of the of the pregnancy test stick after placing a few drops of urine on it. A positive test will have two lines or a plus sign, while a negative test will only show one line or a negative sign. Some of the new tests will actually display the words “yes” or “no” or “pregnant” or “not pregnant”. Most women choose to do a home pregnancy test because of the immediate results and the convenience of testing in the privacy of your home.

Many different companies make home pregnancy tests and despite their claims of 99 percent accuracy when used on the first day of your missed period, they are not. This claim is based on the testing of non-pregnant urine samples mixed with the pregnancy hormone and not actual urine from pregnant women.

In many cases the urine pregnancy test is not sensitive enough to diagnose pregnancy in women who have recently missed a menstrual period. The time from your missed period, fertilization and sufficient production of the pregnancy hormone are variable, so if pregnancy is suspected despite a negative test, the test should be repeated in one week. Most all pregnancy test manufactures make this recommendation and provide an extra test for this reason.


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