All the different versions and models of pregnancy tests are immersed in a urine sample and left for between 20 seconds and a few minutes. But not all tests are the same; they're personalized to suit your needs in terms of practicality, cost, and ease of use.
Early pregnancy tests: reliability and cost
Pregnancy tests that are more sensitive to the hormone hCG can give you an earlier result than traditional ones. They're known as early pregnancy tests, and if you don't want to wait, they are the solution for you. You can carry out this test 2 to 4 days before the expected beginning of your cycle and 12 days after sex. But bear in mind that they're slightly less reliable and more expensive than traditional tests.
Pregnancy tests: the stick solution
If you don't fancy a trip to the doctor, a stick is a practical solution for a pregnancy test. In this case, you directly place the stick in the urine flow and get a result in a few minutes. Other stick pregnancy tests require you to take a urine sample with a sterile dropper and deposit it on the stick. The response times are the same.
Container pregnancy tests
Another solution is a test in which you pour the urine into a container that carries out the analysis. In this case, the result of the test appears on a band that changes colour depending on the concentration of the hormone. Remember to read the instructions carefully so that you interpret the result correctly.
Strip tests: count the lines
Some pregnancy tests consist of 2 plastic strips with a control window that lets you check the result of the test and ensure that it has been carried out properly. The strips are usually thin, and are immersed in a sample of your urine. The result appears in the form of lines in a window: 1 line means negative, 2 means "OK, you're pregnant".
Are you pregnant? The smiley face
The digital version of a pregnancy test is usually limited to the stick format. In this case, reading the result is really easy. The device gives you messages like "pregnant" and "not pregnant", or a smiley or sad face.
Pregnancy tests also available in pairs
Useful buying advice: you can obtain pregnancy tests in pharmacies and supermarkets, and they are often sold in pairs. This means you have 2 tests so you can confirm the result of the first one a few days later.