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Review: High-street pregnancy tests

Review: High-street pregnancy tests

If you think you might be pregnant - planned or not - you'll want to know if your hunch is correct.

There are many home pregnancy tests to choose from, and they all work by testing levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), the hormone created when conception occurs that continues to rise as the pregnancy progresses.

But how easy are they to use, how quickly do you get a result and do you find out how far gone you are? We put them to the test.

Pregnancy Tests

£3.50 for two, Tesco

How it works: there are two individual tests in the box. You hold the absorbent tip in your urine stream for five seconds, put the cap on and hold the test downwards. Two blue lines indicate a positive result, one a negative.

How quick is the result? One minute.

How soon can you use it? From the day your period is due.

Verdict: this is an easy test to use - no fiddly peeing into a cup - but blue line tests can leave a lot to interpretation and imagination: 'Is that a blue line or not?' The what-to-look-for guide was printed on the box but not the individual packaging, so I had to take the box into the loo. No early testing either - you have to wait until the day your period is due. 2/5

FirstVue Pregnancy Test Stick

£1, Poundland

How it works: you have to find a container, as there isn't one supplied with the test, and pee into it, then hold the tip of the test stick downwards for 10 seconds into the urine. You then lay the test flat and wait. Two pink lines indicate a positive and one a negative. After the test, you'll have to tip the urine sample down the loo and dispose of the container.

How quick is the result? Five minutes.

How soon can you use it? Four days before your period.

Verdict: I had to do this test at home because I didn't want to pee into a container in the work toilet, and then leave the test out on flat surface for everyone else to see. It was quite a hassle finding a container that I could just throw away afterwards too. But the accuracy level is still over 99% and it's very cheap, so it's worth the extra effort. 3/5

ClearBlue Digital with Weeks Indicator

£13.99, from pharmacists and supermarkets

How it works: as well as getting a positive or negative reading, this digital test tells you how many weeks along you are, based on your hCG levels. After peeing on the absorbent tip or dipping it into a container (again, not supplied), the words 'Not pregnant' or 'Pregnant' appear in the window, along with 1-2, 2-3 or 3+ weeks since conception.

How quick is result: three minutes.

How soon can you use it? Five days before your period.

Verdict: this test is really easy to use but it is quite expensive. And while the pregnancy test itself is over 99% accurate, the Weeks Indicator is only 93% accurate, so you may not want to trust it. You might also get a higher hCG reading if you're expecting more than one baby, so the test may well think you're further along than you are. I'd treat that reading as a rough guide until your 12-week dating scan. 4/5

5 Days Early Pregnancy Test

£9.99 for two, Boots

How it works: you hold the absorbent tip in your urine stream, or dip into a container you've found to pee into, then hold the test downwards or lay it flat. An egg-timer icon will flash until 'Pregnant' or 'Not Pregnant' appears in the window.

How quick is the result? Three minutes.

How soon can you use it? Four days before your period.

Verdict: this digital test was easy to use and gives you a very stress-free way of testing - there's no squinting at blue lines trying to interpret the results for yourself. It was also one of the cheapest digital tests on the high street, working out at just under a fiver for each test. 5/5

Value Pregnancy Test

£4.79 for two, Superdrug

How it works: this is a standard non-digital 'midstream' test - you pee on it - which comes with two testing sticks. A pink line gives you a positive result, but the strength of the colour varies depending on how pregnant you are, so early pregnancies may be difficult to detect.

How quick is the result? Five minutes.

How soon can you use it? Four days before your period.

Verdict: the instructions were clear and on the actual packaging rather than on the box, so I didn't have to take the entire thing into the toilet. It's also good that there are two sticks, meaning you can test on consecutive days to see the line getting stronger for extra reassurance that you are pregnant. 4/5

All prices correct at time of writing (Aug 2017).

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