How Pregnancy Tests Work
Think you might be pregnant?
Even with the most effective birth control methods, theres always a chance for error. After all, it takes just one sperm to fertilize the egg. Finding out whether or not thats happened is as easy as taking an over-the-counter pregnancy test.
OTC pregnancy tests typically test your urine for a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin . HCG is only present if youre pregnant. The hormone is only released if a fertilized egg attaches outside the uterus or to your uterine lining.
There are different ways to collect your urine for the test. Depending on the test you choose, you may have to:
- collect your urine in a cup and dip a testing stick into the liquid
- collect your urine in a cup and use an eyedropper to move a small amount of fluid into a special container
- place the testing stick into the area of your expected urine stream so that it will catch your urine midstream
According to Cleveland Clinic, most tests are 99 percent effective if taken after a missed period. The best part is that you can do it in the privacy of your own home. Simply open the test, follow the instructions, and wait for the recommended amount of time to view the results.
After the recommended waiting time has passed, the tests will display your results in one of the following ways:
- a change in color
How Soon Can You Take A Pregnancy Test
You should wait to take a pregnancy test until the week after your missed period for the most accurate result.
If you dont want to wait until youve missed your period, you should wait at least one to two weeks after you had sex. If you are pregnant, your body needs time to develop detectable levels of HCG. This typically takes seven to 12 days after successful implantation of an egg.
You may receive an inaccurate result if the test is taken too early in your cycle.
Here are some signs that you should take a pregnancy test.
One of the first and most reliable signs of pregnancy is a missed period.
If you dont track your cycle closely, it might be hard to determine whether or not youre late. Many women have a 28-day menstrual cycle. Consider taking a test if its been more than a month since your last period.
Also pay attention to your flow if you suspect pregnancy. Its common to experience light bleeding or spotting in the early weeks as the egg buries deeper into the uterine lining during implantation. Take note of any difference in the color, texture, or amount of blood.
Contact your doctor if you have bleeding and a positive pregnancy test.
Implantation can also produce a feeling similar to menstrual cramps. In early pregnancy, you may feel this discomfort and think your period is just around the corner, but then it never comes.
What If The Result Is Positive
A positive result generally means that you are pregnant. You should make an appointment to see your GP to confirm the pregnancy and to sign up for antenatal care.
If you are not sure you want to be pregnant it is good idea to make an appointment with your GP to discuss your options.
Your GP will listen and will not judge you.
Free advice may also be available from a family planning clinic.
Sometimes counselling can help you to work through your feelings about the pregnancy. It may help you make a decision on what is the right choice for you.
www.myoptions.ie has details of the support services available to you.
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How Does The Online Pregnancy Test Am I Pregnant Quiz Work
The MomJunction online pregnancy test is designed with a set of questions that are based on the ovulation cycle, the number of times you have had intercourse, type of birth control methods you were using, and symptoms you are experiencing. We have also included questions about basal temperature and implantation. The results will depend on the answers you choose.
Whether or not you get a positive result in this quiz, you should get a pregnancy test done or visit a doctor if you miss your period.
When You Should Take A Pregnancy Test
You should wait to take a pregnancy test until the first day of your missed period. Since HCG is only present once implantation of the egg occurs, there often isnt enough of the hormone to be detected until you miss your menstrual cycle.
Pregnancy tests pick up the hormone secreted after implantation, which usually occurs about two weeks after the sperm meets the egg, says Dr. Culwell. For women who have regular periods, this usually means that HCG can be detected as soon as you miss a period.
This, of course, assumes you have a regular menstrual cycle that can be easily tracked and predicted. If this isnt the case, you may choose to instead track ovulation, or when an egg is released and makes its way to the uterus where it can potentially be fertilized. An at-home ovulation predictor kit can help you track fertilization.
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When You Should Get A Pregnancy Blood Test
A pregnancy blood test at your doctors office is another way to confirm a pregnancy.
The blood test can detect the pregnancy earlier than an at-home urine test eight days after ovulation is the earliest a blood test could detect a pregnancy, says Dr. Merhi.
Should you receive a positive at-home pregnancy test result, your doctor will often perform an in-office blood test to confirm the presence of HCG. This and additional blood tests also provide additional information about your health and the health of your pregnancy.
Blood tests are also needed to check for complications of pregnancyfor instance, if you are at risk for ectopic pregnancy , miscarriage or an abnormally progressing pregnancy, says Dr. Culwell. because they can measure whether your pregnancy hormone levels are progressing normally or decreasing.
Should you experience a miscarriage, HCG can remain in your body for a few weeks, and additional tests taken in the weeks following can lead to a false-positive result, says Dr. Merhi.
How To Use A Home Pregnancy Test
Buy your pregnancy test from a trusted seller and check that the expiry date has not passed.
Carefully follow the instructionsâââthese can vary depending on the brand. A 1993 study of pregnant women found that only a third of users complied with all test kit instructions. The incidence of false-negative results in this study was 1 in 4 .
You can do a urine test at any time of the day, because hCG production does not change throughout the day .
If you drink large quantities of water or other fluids during the day, you might want to do the test first thing in the morning, as the accuracy of the test can be affected if the urine sample is extremely diluted .
Whether your home test is positive or negative, itâs wise to confirm the results with a healthcare provider, if you can. Home tests are not as sensitive as those done in a healthcare providerâs office, and thereâs also more chance for human error.
Brand Name Versus Generic Pregnancy Tests
Home pregnancy tests, both brand name and generic, are very accurate at detecting the HCG hormone and any positive result, even a faint line, can be considered positive. HCG is only produced by a pregnancy any positive result indicates a pregnancy.
You dont need a serum pregnancy test to confirm pregnancy. Both urine and blood detect HCG, although the blood test is more sensitive and can detect HCG levels at much lower levels than a urine test. In certain situations, your doctor may want to perform a blood HCG test but its not typically needed to confirm a pregnancy.
Although most tests advertise 99% accuracy, the ability of a particular brand to detect HCG at levels less than 50 ml may vary. Some brands may be better able to detect lower levels of HCG than others. If your HCG level is more than 50 ml, which is the detection rate of most tests, even generic tests will detect a pregnancy accurately.
/5how The Test Kit Works
OTC pregnancy kit tests your urine for a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin , which is present in your pee only if you are pregnant. This hormone is released if a fertilized egg attaches outside the uterus or to your uterine lining. This process may take 6-7 days after the fertilisation of the eggs by sperm in the fallopian tube.
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Dont Solely Rely On Pregnancy Tests
Pregnancy tests are typically accurate at signaling a pregnancy. However, you shouldnât rely on those results alone. An ultrasound will confirm the pregnancy and check the early health of the embryo to see if the pregnancy is viableâthis assurance is important for women who are experiencing pain or bleeding during pregnancy and those who have had previous miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies.
Visit TheSource.org today to schedule a free pregnancy test or ultrasound to confirm your pregnancy. Our clinic staff is available to help you tackle these early days of pregnancy and give you the support, medical care, and the guidance you need.
Davina is a native of Grenada and a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin. She’s a content specialist with a passion for empowering women to thrive and reach their full potential. In her free time, Davina is probably painting, reading, or baking something unnecessarily sweet.
How Does A Test Tell If You Are Pregnant Or Not
A pregnancy test detects the presence of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin in your blood or in your urine. hCG is produced in the placenta shortly after the embryo attaches to the uterine lining and builds up rapidly in your body in the first few days of pregnancy.
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Testing When You Feel Pregnant
You may decide to take a pregnancy test because youre having early pregnancy symptoms, including:
- Breast tenderness
- Mood swings
- Slight morning nausea
Depending on whether a positive pregnancy test would be good or bad news, symptoms like these may fill you with dread or excitement. But heres the good news: pregnancy symptoms dont mean youre pregnant. In fact, you can feel pregnant and not be pregnant, or not feel pregnant and be expecting.
The same hormones that cause pregnancy symptoms are present every month between ovulation and your period.
Many symptoms similar to pregnancy symptoms can be caused by other things, like a cold, the flu, or even a few nights of poor sleep.
Effect Of Fertility Treatments
If youre going through fertility treatments, an early pregnancy test may pick up on the hormones used in these treatments. Specifically, if you have a trigger shotor an injection of hCG, sold under the brand names Ovidrel, Novarel, Pregnyl and Profasiyoure injecting pregnancy hormone into your system.
This means that if you took a pregnancy test the day after the injection, you would get a positive result. But that doesnt mean youre pregnant. Wait at least 10 days after the injection to test .
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How Long To Wait Before Pregnancy Test
Home pregnancy tests are qualitative and can only detect the presence of hCG hormone in your urine. They cannot determine the source or the amount of hCG present in your blood.
After fertilization, the egg divides through a process called cleavage. When it reaches the stage of blastocyst then it implants in the lining of the uterus. The placenta formation begins after implantation which is the source of hCG.
The pregnancy hormone increases in blood and also in urine. When the concentration of hCG in urine reaches up to the sensitivity of pregnancy test the test line appears.
Follow My Babys Growth
This doesnt mean you cant take a pregnancy test later in the day. It just means that youre more likely to get a false-negative, especially if youve been drinking a lot of water. Its easy to forget in the morning, so it might be helpful to leave yourself a note the night before. You can close the lid of the toilet and leave a note there to remind yourself.
What if you have an unconventional sleep schedule and cant test your urine first thing in the morning? You can increase the level of hCG in your urine by not using the bathroom for at least four hours.
Before taking a pregnancy test, dont drink more water than you normally would. Drinking a lot of water can dilute your urine and affect the result of your test.
If you got a negative result but still think you might be pregnant, take the test again after several days. False positives and false negatives are rare, but they do happen. Repeating a test can also be a good idea.
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When Is The Best Time To Take A Pregnancy Test
You can take a pregnancy test any time of the day. But if theres a chance youre early in pregnancy, take it in the morning when your urine is most concentrated so the test can more easily detect the HCG hormone, says Dr. Culwell.
The best time in the cycle to take a test would be after you have missed a period, says Dr. Culwell. This will make it less likely that you might miss an early pregnancy if the HCG levels are too low to be picked up by the test.
When To Get A Blood Test
You might be wondering if you should also have a blood test to check if youre pregnant. It is something to consider if you get a positive or negative result. Your doctor may order a test, or you may be thinking about ordering one yourself. Many labs now allow people to order and pay out of pocket for their blood work.
Before you do that, there are a few things you should know. First of all, there are two types of pregnancy blood tests: qualitative and quantitative.
- Qualitative tests measure whether hCG is present in your blood or urine. They pretty much give a yes or no answer as to whether youre pregnant. Or, more accurately, whether you have enough pregnancy hormone to get a positive result. Home pregnancy tests are qualitative.
- A quantitative pregnancy test measures the amount of pregnancy hormone in your blood. This is sometimes called a beta hCG test. These are usually done to see how a pregnancy is progressing. For example, your doctor may order a beta hCG test on Monday, and then another test on Wednesday or Thursday. The purpose would be to see whether the level of hCG is increasing as expected or not. This might be important if you had trouble conceiving, have a history of early miscarriage, or an ectopic pregnancy is suspected.
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