Pros: Simple, clear results for the stressed out pregnancy tester
Cons: Cap for the absorbent strip could be improved
What a way to spend a Sunday.
This wasnt my first experience peeing on a stick, but no matter how you slice it taking a pregnancy test is stressful - whether you are trying to have a baby or not. After using ept, a generic drugstore brand and First Response, I have to say that First Response is the best to use, with clear and quick readings that dont leave you scouring the internet for .jpg images resembling your test results of faint line(s) that could be interpreted either way.
However, the accuracy rates described on the box are misleading. One reviewer testing before her expected period (along with one third of the women who participated in clinical testing) got a negative result when she was actually pregnant.
To Test or Not to Test
The key is to test at the right time. If youre like me, you dont have a clue as to when your period is due. This makes your pregnancy tests far less reliable, because a matter of days can mean the difference between getting a negative or positive result.
If youre even more like me, youll test just to be safe but wont have peace of mind until your period begins. To you, sister, I say dont spend the money on testing every day unless money is no object to you. Instead, take a long hard look at a calendar. Think about where you were when and ask yourself when you remember having your period. Last time I did that (about 6 months ago), I was able to determine that I was, in fact, testing way too early and also that I had not had intercourse during ovulation. I used the test this time because I happened to have 2 extras in my medicine cabinet from that debacle six months ago.
Youve got some kind of a glow going on. Are you pregnant?
And because a co-worker walked into my office the other day, declared that I had a glow about me and asked if I was pregnant to which my first response was to silently scream at the top of my cerebral lungs and begin to obsess over days, eggs, periods, and child care.
To make matters worse, I am very likely experiencing symptoms of PMS which really could be interpreted as pregnancy symptoms. Just keep in mind that the symptoms of PMS are very similar to pregnancy symptoms, and that your emotions are likely on overdrive. Try to not take your bodily sensations too seriously until you have definitely missed your period.
Am I One of the 69%?
The test works by detecting hcg or the pregnancy hormone in your urine stream. First Response boasts a 99% accuracy rate after the first day of your expected period. It can detect the hormone in the urine of pregnant women 5 days before their expected period start date, but taking the test that early does not guarantee the same accuracy rate.
In clinical testing, First Response only detected the pregnancy hormone in 69% of women who tested 4 days before their expected period. Accuracy continues to build as the days pass to your expected period start date, and, hypothetically, as your body increases the level of the pregnancy hormone in your system.
The pregnancy hormone is believed to build up in your system overnight, which is why many women believe that morning tests are most accurate. First Response acknowledges that the hormone is more prevelant in your system in the morning, but also says you can take the test any time of the day.
The test is not supposed to be affected by the use of most common medicines and contraceptives, but you should read more detailed information at www.firstresponse.com if you believe that a medicine or any aspect of your lifestyle might interfere with your test results.
According to the manufacturer, Only medications containing the pregnancy hormone (hCG) can affect the result (e.g A.P.L, Pregnyl , Profasi and Pergonal 4 ). The test should not be affected by hormone therapies containing Clomiphene citrate (e.g. Clomid , and Serophene ), alcohol, painkillers, antibiotics, or the contraceptive pill.
Um . . . Im not pregnant. Right?
Last night, I used an ept test which really confused me, mostly because it was sitting in a First Response box along with another First Response test. For about 5 minutes last night, I thought I might be pregnant because I had a bright blue vertical line in the square control window (letting you know that the test is working as it should) along with a lighter horizontal line in the circle test window. I was perplexed by the fact that the line in the test window didnt go in the same direction as the one in the control window, but without a box or original instructions in hand, I thought yup. Theres a line alright. I must be pregnant.
Let this be a lesson to you. Dont interpret test results when you dont have access to the original instructions unless you are Google savvy and can find the right test with instructions on the internet. Once I did that, I saw that the ept test (the one with the purple cap) uses the plus/minus readout. That means that my line in the test window was really just a minus sign. Still, I found it confusing. Im a relatively intelligent woman who understood the basics of the test and thought that any indication of a line in the test window was a positive result.
After confirming that my results were negative, I tried to sleep soundly but couldnt. That line haunted me. After all, I had also read that the ept test had been changed a few times over the years and any indication of a line in the old test did mean you were pregnant.
I Peed, I Saw, and Im 69% Sure Im Not Pregnant
Im grateful to have had the First Response test sitting in the original box, because the reading was clear and definitive. Let me break it down for you: one line means youre NOT pregnant. Two lines means you ARE pregnant. Isnt that much easier to interpret? I know I cant be the only woman who has held onto an old pregnancy test but didnt keep the box. First Response results seem more logical to me than ept. Thankfully, the test line (which is on the right hand side) is bright pink and I did not get even a shadow of a line next to it. I was off to feel relief, with a touch of sadness but my mind was put at ease nonetheless.
The unit is a white stick with plastic covering, featuring a handy little thumb grip that makes sure you are able to take the test without making a mess. You remove the clear plastic snap top off the absorbent strip and pee on it for about 5 seconds. You pull it out of your urine stream, replace the cap and lay it flat. You are supposed to look at your reading in 3 minutes no more, no less. Have a clock nearby so that your stress doesnt cloud your idea of what three minutes actually feels like. A positive result will last for at least 48 hours. A negative result should not be read after 10 minutes.
My Only Gripe
The box is a little misleading about accuracy rates on the 5 days preceding your expected period, but I cant begrudge them that because critical consumers should really always read up on what those asterisks are referring to.
My issue lies with one teeny tiny aspect of the stick design the cap for the absorbent stick. Ept and some of the other pregnancy tests have sticks that are either more absorbent or the cap is more roomy, diminishing the odds of drippy test taking. Its nearly impossible to snap the clear plastic cap back up without knocking the edges of the stick or missing your target entirely.
Its also a little confusing to tell which end is up while laying the test flat to wait for your test results, but the pink control line shows up very quickly so you wont be confused for long.
Still, these are minor defects in an otherwise well-designed product.
I give the First Response test four stars, because it was a beacon of clarity in a time of confusion. It loses a star only for the minor design flaws mentioned above. The test had a long enough shelf life when stored in a cool, dry area for me to use long after my original purchase date and detailed instructions were readily available at www.firstresponse.com whereas Pfizer didnt even buy a simple enough domain name for ept. I like the intuitive display and easy-to-find supplemental information on the web.
For More Information
Call 1-800-367-6022 or visit www.firstresponse.com.
I also found peeonastick.com to be a very helpful website. The page at http://www.peeonastick.com/hpts.html helps you to determine how sensitive your brand of pregnancy test is and features anecdotal information.