Understanding what an OTC pregnancy test actually does might make using them seem less daunting. Pregnancy tests are designed to pick up a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG, Caitlin McAllister, MD, chief Ob/Gyn resident at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital told Refinery29. When a person is pregnant, hCG is secreted in their blood and, later on, their urine — and that's why you pee on the test sticks.
Most pregnancy tests claim to be 99% accurate. But no test is perfect, because there's always a chance that people won't use it 100% correctly. In theory, peeing on a stick is pretty straightforward, but in a 2008 study, 1 in 4 women misread a line on a pregnancy test. Another study from 2009 found that most pregnancy-test instructions are too difficult to read and understand. So it's not always foolproof.
Given that there's room for error, we found the most accurate, easy-to-use pregnancy tests that you can buy at the drug store. And if you still don't trust a fancy stick to tell you whether or not you're pregnant, give your doctor a call — they'll administer a test in the office, and help you figure out what's next.