What Happens When You Use An Expired Pregnancy Test? (Facts You Need To Know Before Using One!)
Have you recently used a pregnancy kit only to find out that it was an expired pregnancy test?
Pregnancy tests are used to help determine if a woman is pregnant. The benefit of using this test is that it is readily available, it is easy to use as it only uses urine, and it can provide results in minutes. Most women who want to conceive use an average of 3 tests per cycle.
There are a lot of women who buy pregnancy test kits ahead of time so that they can use one whenever they need it. Unfortunately, over time, these pregnancy test kits expire. And if they do, you are most likely going to get false results.
What happens when you get false results? First of all, you will have the wrong impression that you are, or are not pregnant. This can put you and your baby’s life at risk especially when you do not know that you are pregnant. It can also give women who want to conceive a false sense of hope.
This article stresses out the importance of knowing what can happen if you accidentally used an expired pregnancy test. This will allow readers to fully understand its implications and it will also allow you to know what to do next just in case you did use one.
How Will I Know If My Pregnancy Test Is Expired?
First of all, you need to make sure that your pregnancy test is still viable. You should check for its seals and for any tears in the packaging. Check your pregnancy test’s expiry date. Most products will have this printed clearly on the individual packaging.
As a rule of thumb, you should never use an expired pregnancy test. This is because it will not be able to help you determine whether or not you are truly pregnant. Owing to the fact that the chemicals in the testing kit might no longer be active.
You should also note that it is possible for expensive pregnancy tests to still work beyond the expiration date. On the other hand, it is also possible for cheap pregnancy tests to no longer work months before the expiration because it might contain low quality reagents.
This is why you need to buy a testing kit that is at least 6 months away from the expiration date. This is also why it is very difficult to determine if you are pregnant or not using expired test sticks.
How Do Pregnancy Tests Work?
Pregnancy tests work with the help of chemicals that are found inside the stick. These are typically Y-proteins that are designed to detect hCG or Human Growth Hormone. This hormone is produced by the body during pregnancy, as it helps form the placenta, and support the development of the baby.
The chemicals used in the stick will deteriorate over time. If the chemicals become inactive, it will no longer be able to provide you with positive results. This is the reason why most expired pregnancy tests will give you a negative result even though you are actually pregnant.
In most products, results that have two stripes will mean that you are pregnant. One stripe on the other hand, will mean that you are not with child. Having no stripes on the other hand, indicates that you used a defective product.
How To Use A Pregnancy Test Properly?
Aside from using expired pregnancy tests, another common mistake would be to not use the pregnancy test properly. Depending on what kind of pregnancy test you are using, you need to follow the instructions closely. You should also check the results at the indicated time.
You need to use the right amount of urine and you should also avoid contaminating the dropper as well as the test stick.
It is also important to take note of the fact that the production of hCG, the hormone found in pregnant women, will increase as the baby grows inside the mother’s womb.
The increased amount of hCG in the body will make it easier for pregnancy tests to detect it.
This is why you cannot use the pregnancy test if simply to know if you are pregnant just a few days after intercourse.
You should wait at least one week after missing a period if you want accurate results.
Another way to get accurate results is to make sure that you use your first urine in the morning.
This is because if you are pregnant, this will contain a higher amount of hCG because it is concentrated.
What To Do If I Used An Expired Pregnancy Test?
If you used an expired pregnancy test, I highly suggest that you try not to jump into conclusions. The best thing that you can do is to make sure that you are able to purchase a new one and that you do a re-test. As mentioned, they can still work, but its sensitivity will be skewed.
If the expired pregnancy test shows a positive result, there is a good chance that you are pregnant because false positive results are very uncommon. It can happen, however, especially if the kit has been exposed to heat or moisture.
If the expired test shows a negative result, it might be a false negative one. Either way, you need to do another test just to be sure. Retake the test 2 days later, or opt to see a gynecologist. A weak positive result will also mean that you are most likely to be pregnant.
How Accurate Are Pregnancy Tests?
Experts say that the accuracy of the pregnancy test depends on the brand that you are using. It is ideal that you use the pregnancy test at least one week after missing a period since this will be the time when hCG levels are more easily detectable by testing kits.
Tests that provide negative results should also be questioned simply because pregnancy tests are not sensitive enough to detect very low levels of hCG. The negative result could be because you took the test too early.
You can purchase products like The Easy@Home 40 Pregnancy (hCG) Urine Test Strips if you test yourself often as this product has a high accuracy rate. If you only need a few for random testing and confirmation, you can use The Easy@Home Pregnancy Test Sticks - hCG Midstream - 5 Pack instead.
In general, because of the availability of very sensitive testing kits, pregnancy tests have a 99% accuracy especially when the test is taken several days after a missed period. If you take the test a day after the missed period, pregnancy tests will only be able to give you an accuracy of 50-97 percent.
What happens when you use an expired pregnancy test all depends on the quality of the test kit itself as well as whether or not you are actually pregnant. What is certain is that expired pregnancy tests are unreliable and if you used one, you should purchase a new testing kit so you can retake the test.
Here are what you need to remember:
- I highly recommend that you avoid stocking pregnancy kits at home unless you are instructed to do so by your medical provider.
- It is always best to purchase a new one at the drug store should the need arise so you can be assured of its quality as well as the accuracy of the results that it will provide.
- If you used an expired pregnancy test, avoid jumping to conclusions.
- When using pregnancy tests, take note of the instructions.
- Buy reliable products like the Easy@Home 40 Pregnancy (HCG) Urine Test Strips for accuracy.
- Avoid contaminating the dropper and the stick.
- Use the pregnancy test one week after missing a period for best results.
- Make sure that you take the test first thing in the morning.
If you have a positive result, please see your doctor for your first prenatal checkup. Have you used an expired pregnancy test in the past? Share your experiences and let us know more about your questions at the comments section below.