Pregnancy tests are designed to tell you if you are pregnant or not, based on the levels of hCG in your urine or blood. Human chorionic gonadotropin(Hcg) is a hormone produced after the fertilized egg gets attached to the wall of the uterus. The levels of hCG usually start increasing about six days after fertilization, and are doubled every two to three days. But, this will not happen always. There are cases when the levels of hCG are very low, even if pregnant.
There are two types of pregnancy tests: urine tests and blood tests. Urine tests can be performed at home or at the doctor’s office, while blood tests are usually performed at the doctor’s office.
At home pregnancy tests are mostly used as they can be bought everywhere, are easy to use and cost almost nothing (up to 20$). You will have the results within couple of minutes. It is very important to read the instructions carefully, as there could be false positive and false negative results. After testing, you can confirm the results with your doctor, who will perform even more sensitive pregnancy tests.
Blood tests are not routinely performed, even though they can detect the pregnancy earlier then the urine tests. These tests are performed at a doctor’s office and the waiting period for the results is longer, compared to urine tests performed at home. There are two types of blood tests: a qualitative and a quantitative hCG test. A qualitative hCG test will only detect the presence or not of the beta – hCG, while a quantitative test will detect the exact amount of beta-hCG in the blood.
How accurate are pregnancy tests?
The homemade urine tests are about 97% accurate. Blood tests are more accurate than urine tests. Accurancy of homemade pregnancy tests depends from how closely you follow the instructions, the time when you take the pregnancy test and how soon the implantation occurs. It is recommended that pregnancy tests should be taken at least a week after a missed period, in the morning, when the urine is more concentrated.
Today, there are also online pregnancy tests available, mostly asking you questions about your age, menstrual cycle, signs and symptoms you might have. According to the answers you give they calculate the possibility of you being pregnant or not.
How should a pregnancy test be taken?
At home urine pregnancy tests are very easy to use and can be bought in almost every drugstore without e prescription. There are many different kinds of urine pregnancy tests, but mostly the process of the testing is the same. There are urine pregnancy tests that require the collection of the urine in a cup, and then dip the test’s stick into it. There are also urine homemade pregnancy tests that require the collection of the urine in a cup, and with the help of a dropper to put urine into another container. There are also urine pregnancy tests that require to hold the test stick in the urine stream. The waiting period for the results is usually only a few minutes. The results can appear in color, line or + and – symbols. The most important thing is to follow the exact instructions of the urine test, for more accurate results.
If you get a positive result this means that you are pregnant. If you get e negative results this means that you are not pregnant. However, there are cases with false positive or false negative results.
What is a false positive test?
A false positive test is when you are not pregnant, but the test shows that you are pregnant. This can happen in cases when you took the test wrong and didn’t follow the exact instructions, the test has expired, you are taking certain medications like hypnotics, tranquilizers, etc.
What is a false negative test?
A false negative test is when you are pregnant, but the test shows that you are not pregnant. This can happen in cases when you took the test wrong and didn’t follow the exact instructions, the test has expired, your urine was not concentrated enough and the levels of beta-hCG were low, you took the test too soon, you are taking certain medications like diuretics, etc.
If you suspect and if you are not sure about your results of the first test, take another one within one week. Most homemade pregnancy tests suggest to double check the results. But, what if you get two different results? In this case the best idea is to go and visit your doctor. A blood test and pelvic examination will help clear this situation.
If your test shows that you are pregnant, go and visit your doctor. Start prenatal care as soon as you can.
If your test shows that you are not pregnant, but you are still missing your period, take another test after couple of days. If you are still missing your period and the test is still negative, visit your doctor. You can miss your period not only because you are pregnant, but also because of stress, weight loss, hormonal imbalance, etc.