Thursday, August 29, 2013

The 411 on POAS

Yes, that's right, we're going to talk about pee sticks!!  In case you don't speak TTC, POAS stands for "pee on a stick".  And if you've ever tried to get pregnant, you know there are a lot of choices out there.  And even once you've chosen a test, WHEN should you use it?  And how do you use them properly?

Firstly, there are three main types of pregnancy tests:
  • Cartridge test--Any test which yields two lines or a plus symbol and is houses in a plastic case (cartridge) with a window where the result is viewed.  Available in pink dye and blue dye. Sensitivity ranges from 10 mIU and up.
  • Test strip--similar to a cartridge test, but without the case and only available in the two lined result. Sensitivity ranges from 20 mIU and up.
  • Digital test--a cartridge test with a digital readout of either "Yes/No" or "Pregnant/Not Pregnant". Sensitivity starts at 50 mIU.
There are pros and cons to each kind of test.  For example, digital tests take any guess work about "is there a faint line?" away.  However, they are less sensitive than some non-digital tests, meaning that the level of HCG in the body must be higher.  This means that you'll need to be further along to get a positive result.  Test strips are much less expensive than cartridge tests, but in my experience they aren't as sensitive and can produce evaporation lines more often than other tests.   An evaporation line is a faint ghost line on a pregnancy test not caused by hcg in the urine.  These lines usually develop outside the time limit for reading the results and often have no true color.  So what about pink or blue dye?  Well, it's pretty widely accepted in the TTC world that pink dye is much more reliable in terms of results than blue dye.  Thin second lines are often observed on blue dye tests in non-pregnant women.  I've been fooled by a blue dye before!  Unless the line is quite dark and/or thick, I'd question it on a blue dye!

So when should you use a pregnancy test?  Well, assuming you have a good idea of when you ovulated, implantation is likely to occur 6-12 days after ovulation (on average).  HCG needs a few days to rise to a level that can be detected on a home pregnancy test.  The sooner you test, the higher the likelihood of a false negative result.  We know that it's very hard to wait for the answer!!  We recommend not testing earlier than about 9 DPO, and to try to keep in mind that a negative result before your missed period might not mean that you aren't pregnant.  With both my second (miscarriage/chemical pregnancy) and third round of BFP pregnancy tests, I didn't get a positive result until 14 or 15 DPO, and believe me, I was testing early!

Most pregnancy test directions will also recommend that you take the test with first morning urine.  This is because it is thought that it will contain the highest concentration of HCG.  I definitely agree with this, however, some women find that this isn't true for them.  Some women have more accurate results when testing in the evening.  Try both methods and see what works for you.

So we're down to how to use a pregnancy test properly.  The most important thing is the read the directions very carefully. Remove the test from it's wrapper and remove cap if applicable. Hold the "wick" end of the test in the stream of urine for the time listed in the instructions (this varies by brand and sensitivity) or collect a sample in a clean cup and dip the test (again, check directions, this time may differ depending on your method of testing).  Place the test face up on a flat surface and WALK AWAY SLOWLY!!!

Wait the amount of time indicated in the directions and take a peek.  And remember NOT to trust any result that shows up AFTER the amount of time listed on the directions (usually about 10 minutes).  Lines may show up after the time limit, even in non-pregnant women.

So that's the skinny on pregnancy tests!  We take them, some of us even take photos of them and scrutinize them using photo editing software!  We toss them in the trash and pull them out hours later to look at them again (why do we do this??).  We curse them, threaten to take a red sharpie to show them JUST what that second line should look like, we hoard them, and we take far to many of them in a 24 hour period.  What else do you want to know about pregnancy tests???


  1. Last paragraph ---- SOOO TRUE!!!! For us pee stick addicts, there are even albums on our phone to contain all the pictures!! :)

  2. I totally poas yesterday, which was a clear bfn, and when I went back later it was like i had no control over what I was doing, next thing you know I'm pulling that stick out of the trash. Crazy!

  3. I am the worst HPT taker, ever! I will wait til I am a month late! It always end in a BFN anyway! But, I do take them out of the trash hours later HOPING that MAYBE just MAYBE.... ;-) Great post!


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