Question

Are there any pros and cons to early pregnancy testing with home pregnancy kits?

Answer

Yes. The benefits are recognition of pregnancy so that you can take care of yourself, switch from a regular multivitamin to a prenatal vitamin, practice early pregnancy do's and avoid don'ts at an earlier time.

Remember, the most critical time in organ development in the baby is the first trimester (first 12 weeks of the pregnancy), and this is where the baby is most susceptible to birth defects.

In addition, if you are a high risk patient, your doctor will want to know as early as possible that you are pregnant so they can monitor and care for you most efficaciously. (patients with prior PID or prior ectopic pregnancies will need to have blood levels taken early and often, accompanied by early ultrasound to document that the pregnancy is not ectopic, and is clearly in the uterus. Women with blood clotting disorders or recurrent miscarraige may need early treatment with blood thinners, etc.).

The down side is the expense of repetetive testing and the anxiety that it can cause. If you test for pregnancy before a missed period, you will pick up chemical pregnancies. This occurs when the sperm does meet the egg and pregnancy is established, but it is not a good pregnancy (most often a chromosomal problem in the embryo) and is lost very early on. Without early testing this cycle may be normal, slightly delayed, or heavier. Up to 50% of pregnancies diagnosed before the missed period end in miscarraige.


Wendy Fried, M.D., FACOG, FACS, is an OB/Gyn with Northern Obstetrics and Gynecology, PC in North Hills, New York

Disclaimer: The information provided in this document is for educational purposes only. It is not medical advice and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Only your own physician knows all the important details of your specific medical and personal history and should be the only one to give you advice regarding your own medical care. You should never disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical advice or treatment because of something you have read herein. If you have any questions whatsoever about your medical health or believe you have a medical problem or disease, you should contact your medical doctor or healthcare provider.