About Home Pregnancy Tests
Home Preganncy Tests (HPTs) enable you to easily and quickly test if you are pregnant in the privacy and comfort of your home.
This wasn't always so! Just a few decades ago - flip back to 1970 - doctors could use a test in their office as early as four days after a missed period. Oh boy (or girl)! It took 2 hours to get the results. Yawn!
And step back a little further, to the 1920s and 1930s, and yes, there really was a rabbit (and frog!) test to determine pregnancy. If you're interested in finding out more about the history of pregnancy tests, there's an excellent timeline at the NIH: "A Thin Blue Line: The History of the Pregnancy Test Kit".
Then came 1976, and a new era in pregnancy testing was born. Several companies received US FDA approval that year for home pregnancy tests. The first to market was Warner-Chilcott's e.p.t. (Early Pregnancy Test) in 1978, soon followed by Predictor, ACU-TEST, and Answer that same year. In what was deemed in advertisements as "a private little revolution", speedy they were not: two hours for results on this first wave of HPTs! Yawn!
Thanks to continued scientific and technological advances, we can know almost instantly if we're pregnant!
What are Home Pregnancy Tests?
Pregnancy tests work by detecting human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG), often referred to as the pregnancy hormone. Once the embryo implants into the uterine lining, hCG is produced by the placenta (organ attaching mother's uterus to baby) in quantities that make pregnancy testing possible.
Blood HCG testing (done at the doctor's office), also referred to as quantitative blood test, can detect very tiny amounts of HCG, as low as 5IU/L - anything greater than 5 is considered positive.
Home Pregnancy Tests work by testing for hCG in urine. Many of today's HPTs are extremely sensitive (detecting hCG at 20-25 IU/L, or less) and can detect pregnancy days before one's expected menstrual period.
Note: IU/L means international units per liter.
Where to Buy?
Home Pregnancy Tests (HPTs) are commercially available over-the-counter (OTC) - at your local drugstore, supermarkets, and, of course, via the internet.
Visit Amazon.com, where you'll find a wide variety of HPTs, from generics to name brands.
If shopping generic (i.e. no-name brands), check that the company's products are FDA approved, so that you'll know the pregnancy tests meet the FDA's standards, which are the very same standards name brands must meet.