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pregnancy tests

Pregnancy: Dr. Elizabeth (Beth) Carter

So You Think You’re Pregnant – Time to Take a Pregnancy Test!

You’re trying to get pregnant, but how can you tell if you have successfully created an addition to your family?

Well, some signs and symptoms to look out for include:

  • Cessation of your period
  • Changes in consistency of your vaginal mucous
  • Breast tenderness and anatomical changes
  • Fatigue
  • Increased urination
  • Nausea and vomiting (typically called “morning sickness,” although it can happen at any time of the day)

If you think you may be pregnant it is important see your physician.  But it can be more cost-effective and personal to first take a pregnancy test at home.  There are numerous home pregnancy tests available on the market.  To help put some clarity in selecting a pregnancy test, below is some information regarding commonly used pregnancy tests that detect pregnancy with 99% accuracy on the first day of a missed period.

Many tests claim to detect pregnancy 4-6 days before your first missed period.  It is important to understand that if you take a test 4-6 days before your first missed period that there is still a chance the test will not be able to detect your pregnancy yet. That is because the test is looking for a specific hormone that increases in women’s bodies during the first few weeks of pregnancy.

Pregnancy Test!

Pregnancy Test!

Home pregnancy tests check for a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG).

This hormone is produced by the female body when she becomes pregnant and it helps to support the baby’s environment for about the first 8-10 weeks of pregnancy while the placenta is forming.  Once a placenta is formed completely the levels of hCG decrease.

Home Pregnancy Tests
Home Pregnancy Test Manufacturer Suggested Read Time Manufacturer Suggested Maximum Read Time Comments
Clear Blue Plus 3 minutes 10 minutes
  • All tests in this chart claim they can detect pregnancy with 99% accuracy on the first day of a missed period
  • A test window is visible on these tests; if a line fails to appear in the test window the test did not work
  • Can use these tests either by holding the stick in a stream of urine or by collecting urine in a cup and placing the stick in the cup for the amount of time directed on the package insert
CVS Early Result 3 minutes Not stated on package
E.P.T 2 minutes 10 minutes
Equate 2 minutes Not stated on package
First Response, Early Result 3 minutes 10 minutes
Target Brand, Early Result 2 minutes Not stated on package

Things to keep in mind:

  • A positive test from a home pregnancy test must be followed-up by an examination by your physician
  • A negative home pregnancy test does not mean you are not pregnant; tests are not 100% accurate 100% of the time
  • If you have a negative test and don’t get your period within 7 days of a negative test, take a second test as the levels of detectable hCG in a female increase at different rates in different women
  • Always ready the instructions on the home pregnancy test prior to testing


  1. Ward KE, O’Brien BM. Chapter 61. Pregnancy and Lactation: Therapeutic Considerations. In: DiPiro JT, Talbert RL, Yee GC, Matzke GR, Wells BG, Posey L. eds. Pharmacotherapy: A Pathophysiologic Approach, 9e. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2014.( Accessed October 15, 2016.
  2. Clearblue Plus Pregnancy Test.
  3. CVS Early Results Pregnancy Test.
  4. e.p.t. Pregnancy Test.
  5. Equate One-Step Pregnancy Test.
  6. First Response Early Result Pregnancy Test.
  7. Early Result Pregnancy Test.

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Dr. Elizabeth A. (Beth) Carter

Dr. Elizabeth A. Carter (Beth) is a Second Year Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Resident at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. She received her BA in Italian from The Ohio State University and PharmD from Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED). She completed her first year of residency as a Community Pharmacy Resident with the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and King Soopers & City Market Pharmacy Services.




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