Can Birth Control Affect a Pregnancy Test?

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There are many reasons for women to take birth control besides just the obvious.  Birth control has been used to help women who have skin problems like acne and are even used to help with extreme mood swings.  This is because birth control helps to regulate the hormones in your system which is one of the main reasons for mood instability as well as painful skin breakouts.  The most common reason that women take birth control, however, is to help to prevent pregnancy.  This is just another great way for a woman to take control of their own body and their health in hopes to avoid an unexpected pregnancy.  While it is fairly difficult to get pregnant while on birth control, there are a few factors to keep in mind before settling on a birth control plan to solve all of your contraception needs.

How Does Birth Control Work?

When asking yourself “Can birth control affect a pregnancy test?” you must first understand how birth control works.  This is especially true if you suspect you may have gotten pregnant even while taking a birth control plan.  Birth control works in many ways to help to prevent a pregnancy, but the main way that it is meant to work is by stopping ovulation.  A women will normal ovulate up to two weeks after their menstrual cycle ends which is also the ideal time for a woman to conceive because there is the highest chance of implantation.  By stopping ovulation, your body will not release an egg that month and with no egg, there is nothing for the sperm to fertilize meaning that there is no possible way of getting pregnant.

There are many different forms of birth control you will find out there.  Most commonly is the pill form.  This plan means that every day at the same time you will have to take a pill to stop the ovulation process.  While this is the most popular form of birth control, there are other ways too.  There are monthly shots, inserted rings and even patches that all do the same thing.  One thing is clear, no matter which way you take birth control, there is little chance of getting pregnant while properly doing so.

Is Birth Control Reliable?

When birth control is taken properly it has a chance of preventing pregnancy up to 99.9%.  That leaves very little wiggle room for a pregnancy to occur, so why might you need to take a pregnancy test when on birth control?  The main reason that women find that they need to test for pregnancy on birth control is due to a failure in their birth control plan.  The number one reason for birth control failure is due to human error.  While forgetting your pill one day may seem like a trivial thing, it is actual a big deal.  The daily pill is meant to work as part of a system in order to stop your ovulation cycle; one misstep can lead a failure in the overall plan.  It is actually recommended that if you miss a day that you throw out your remaining pills and wait to restart the plan the next month while using other forms of birth control to help prevent a pregnancy.  If you have found that your birth control failed you due to a missed day, don’t worry.  It happens to everyone, you are only human after all.

While human error is often times to blame for an unplanned pregnancy, there are some other factors to keep in mind.  Sometimes other medications that you may be taking will counteract with the active ingredients in your birth control deeming them useless.  To avoid this, make sure to tell your doctor about all of the medications you are taking, even something as small as a daily vitamin.  One of the most common medications that women take that can affect their birth control is antibiotics.  Often times when being put on an antibiotic routine, your doctor will suggest that you use other forms of birth control just to be safe.  Lastly, it is important to remember that your birth control pill should be taken at the exact same time every day.  To help you remember this, try setting an alarm or take the pill when you do an activity you do every day.

How Can Birth Control Affect a Pregnancy Test?

You can absolutely take a pregnancy test while on birth control, it will not affect your health in any way, but when it comes to the accuracy of the results, that is a different problem.  Can birth control affect a pregnancy test?  Short answer, yes, but not for the reasons you think.  The chemicals in your birth control plan should not interfere with the results of the pregnancy.  This means that if you get a positive while on birth control, chances are that you are indeed pregnant.  Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for a negative test result.  This is because false negatives are extremely common in home pregnancy tests.  To understand why you may have gotten a false negative, you must first know how at home pregnancy tests work.  

There are many different styles and forms of at home pregnancy tests.  There are strip tests, stick tests and even cup collection tests but they all work in the same way when it comes to testing.  Pregnancy tests use a urine sample and from there they measure the amount of pregnancy hormone called hCG in your system.  The hCG hormone stands for “Human Chorionic Gonadotropin” which is a specific hormone that is meant to help with development of a fetus inside your uterus.  This hormone is mainly produced once the placenta starts to form after the egg gets implanted in your uterine wall.  While conception does happen once a sperm implants the egg after ovulation, this hormone will not be as easily detectable until after implantation takes place.  

This pregnancy hormone is found in most women’s system even before implantation, but there will not be enough of it to get a clear reading from a pregnancy test until after you miss your first period.  This is where things get tricky when it comes to getting a positive or negative test reading. 

Can Birth Control Affect a Pregnancy Test by Giving a False Negative?

Most of the time when women get a false negative pregnancy test response it is because simply they have taken the pregnancy test too soon.  This means that there was not enough of the hCG pregnancy hormone in your system to give you a positive.  Many times this can lead women to believe that either they are not pregnant or that their birth control has tampered with the results in some way.  This is because women know their bodies, and know how to listen to the signs.  If you are taking birth control and suspect that you are pregnant, a negative pregnancy test result can be an infuriating thing.  Just remember to stay calm, because it is not your birth control that is affecting the results in any way.  

If you are receiving a negative test result, even long after your period is set to start, you may want to consider other lifestyle changes that may be affecting your test result.  One of these factors that may be delaying your period is stress.  Missing a birth control pill out of your plan is an extremely stressful situation, especially for women who are trying to prevent pregnancy.  The stress from worrying about whether or not you may have gotten accidently pregnant is enough to put your period on hold.  This vicious cycle of anxiety is what leads many women to ask themselves, can birth control affect a pregnancy test?  To avoid any unwanted stress, try taking an early detection pregnancy test instead.  These tests are much more sensitive and need very little of the hCG hormone to give you a clear result.  If you are still getting a negative, try looking for other signs of pregnancy like spotting, morning sickness and breast tenderness.  If you find that you are still getting a negative, you might want to see a doctor to check to see if your hormone balance is off.

Final Thoughts

When can birth control affect a pregnancy test?  Easily said, it cannot.  The only time that you will find your birth control messing with a pregnancy test result is when it comes to human error.  To avoid any further frustration try to remember that birth control is a plan.  You must follow the instructions on whatever birth control you are using very carefully in order to get the best result.  If you are worried about your birth control not being as effective as you want which may lead to an unplanned pregnancy, try to exercise other precautions.  Most importantly, always see a doctor if any of these fears arise.  If you cannot get to a doctor right away, use other forms of birth control, like condoms, until your doctor assures you that your birth control is working properly.  Good luck.

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