Women commonly use home pregnancy tests, or HPTs, to find out if they are pregnant. Finding out early if you are pregnant is especially beneficial for women concerned about the effect of smoking, alcohol or medications on the pregnancy. Equate is an inexpensive, popular HPT.
Equate is designed as an early home pregnancy test. It is meant to be used by a woman who wants to know if she is pregnant as soon as she misses a period or shortly thereafter. Equate literature states that the test is accurate in registering a positive pregnancy human chorionic gonadotropin level of 25 milli-International Units per milliliter, denoted mIU/mL.
Equate home pregnancy tests assess the level of human chorionic gonadotropic, or hCG. This a hormone is produced by the growing placenta and is detectable in the urine. To obtain the best results, your urine sample should be concentrated, so the first morning specimen is the best one to test. Drinking extra fluid may dilute the amount of hCG in the sample. Urinate into a clean container and then dip the strip into the urine, or pass the stick through the urine stream to wet it. Make sure you’re actually getting the strip thoroughly wet if using the second method.
A 2004 article published in the "American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology" reported that the average hCG level at the time of the first missed menstrual period was 49 mIU/ml. However, most of the levels fell in the 12.5 mIU/ml to 241 mIU/ml range, so some women would not have a positive result on Equate even if pregnant at that time. While false negatives are not unusual, false positives are rare, as long as the sample is examined within the recommended time.
The Equate HPT should be read between 1 and 10 minutes after wetting, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If the sample sits too long, the line may darken and appear positive even if the result is negative.
Like most HPTs, the Equate HPT is accurate when used at the right time and checked in the right way. If a test is negative the day of a missed period or a few days after, wait another few days and test again -- if your period still hasn’t started. A blood hCG test will give a more accurate reading. If you took hCG for an in vitro fertilization or intrauterine insemination procedure, it can take 10 days or longer for the drug to leave your system, and you can have a false positive if you test too soon.