LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A new pregnancy test, which advertises its claimed ability to tell a woman how far along she is in her pregnancy, is sparking worries in women who say reported inaccuracies are giving them development scares.
The Clearblue Advanced pregnancy test with a weeks estimator says it can inform a pregnant woman whether she is 1-2 weeks pregnant, 2-3 weeks pregnant, or if she is over 3 weeks pregnant.
The idea, Clearblue says, is to give a woman as much information as possible, apart form the simple answer of whether she is pregnant or not.
However, women, who compare their Clearblue test results with what they’re doctor tells them, find that their feedback is not always accurate. The result for many of these women is that they become worried for the worst.
“More than anything, I was so excited,” customer Monica Asdourian, of Marina Del Rey, told CBS2’s Andrea Fujii. “Then I went to the doctor, and they’re telling me it’s like a two-week difference. So, I was wondering, is the baby not developing correctly?”
Searching on a number of baby-related websites shows that concerns similar to Monica’s are not uncommon.
Another user, on the site BabyCenter.com, says, “I took one yesterday, and it still has me 2-3 (weeks). Testing it again tomorrow, even though I’m five weeks today..”
On the site NetMums.com, another customer said, “Five weeks three days, but Clearblue indicated only 2-3 weeks… am thinking I need to prepare for the worst!”
A number of medical professionals, such as Dr. Jon Matsunaga, chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Providence St. John’s Health Center, agree that results from the Clearblue Weeks Estimator can certainly mislead women, who may want to take the test to get an idea of how well their pregnancy is progressing.
“You cannot judge how well your pregnancy is doing by doing a test like this,” Dr. Matsunaga said.
Dr. Matsunaga argues that, while the test says its estimation is based on the time of ovulation, OB/GYNs’ measurements are based on the first day of her most previous period.
The total time of difference between the two is about two weeks.
Additionally, Dr. Matsunaga says the woman’s pregnancy hormone, HCG, also plays a factor in the test’s accuracy.
“A lot of very normal, healthy pregnancies will have lower than normal levels of HCG in urine,” Dr. Matsunaga said. “So, if it’s lower, don’t be alarmed.”
Even the time of day may impact the test’s results, with HCG readings reported to be most accurate during the morning hours. As the day progresses, urine can become more diluted, further affecting results.
Clearblue released a statement, reiterating in part:
“Extensive consumer research found women want as much information as possible when pregnancy begins. However, we are clear this product… cannot be substituted for a doctor’s determination of gestational age.”
While Dr. Matsunaga says that a standard pregnancy test is a convenient, useful tool to have, he suggests that the potential emotional distress caused by the weeks estimator test may produce more stress than good.
“It is causing a lot of concern unnecessarily, because they do claim to estimate how far along you are when they really can’t,” Dr. Matsunaga said.
Monica, meanwhile, says that her doctor, ultimately, is the only one who has the solid answers to provide a peace of mind.
“I think if you are taking the test, you have to take it with a grain of salt.”