My husband and I are trying to conceive, we aren't using anything to help except ovulation predictor. I have received my period but it was much lighter and shorter than normal. I took a pregancy test but it was negative. I am nauseous the past few days and usually never feel how I have been feeling the last few days. Is it possible that I could be pregnant but the HCG level isn't being picked up on the tests?
Dear An: Current home pregnancy tests (HPTs) are advertised to be sensitive on the first day of a missed period—or perhaps a few days before. In the most recent review of accuracy of HPTs, published in August of 2011, such claims were tested. One brand, First Response?, detected 97% of pregnancies on the first day of a missed period. The EPT? manual (54%) and digital (67%); and the Clear Blue? manual (64%) and digital (54%) tests all detected fewer actual pregnancies. These results may reflect that the First Response? could detect as little as 5.5 mIU/ml of hCG in the urine while, the other two brands could detect 22 mIU/ml. Generally speaking, a reliable pregnancy test in a doctor's office should be able to detect a level of 22 units of hCG or higher.
Remember, it takes an implantation to produce hCG to trigger a test. In a study where day of implantation was documented with a sensitive blood test, it was determined that 10% of viable pregnancies were not yet implanted by the first day of the missed period!
Having read all this you can now understand why a GYN may recommend using a HPT twice, if the first instance is at the time of missed flow. About 97% of viable pregnancies will have implanted by seven days after the first day of missed menses. Taking a second reading can also enhance accuracy where your HPT is not one of the super-sensitive brands.
If you are still having pregnancy type symptoms with a negative HPT, check in with your GYN. They may want to do a blood test and/or widen the search for the causes of your nausea.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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