Pregnancy Tests

You can often tell if you’re pregnant by noticing at least one common symptom. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of pregnancy, you should take a home pregnancy test or visit to your doctor to confirm the pregnancy.

You’ll likely get accurate results from a pregnancy test one day after your first missed period. However, it’s best to wait at least a week after your missed period to be sure that you get the most accurate test results.

A pregnancy test can let you know if you are pregnant. Here are answers to some common questions about them.

What Is A Pregnancy Test, And How Does It Work?

Pregnancy tests check your urine or blood for a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Your body makes this hormone when a fertilized egg attaches to the wall of your uterus. This usually occurs about 6 days after fertilization. HCG levels rise rapidly, doubling every 2 to 3 days.

Types Of Pregnancy Tests 

Two main types of pregnancy tests are blood tests and urine tests.

1 Blood Tests

You get these at your doctor's office, but they aren't used as often as urine tests. These tests can detect pregnancy earlier than a home pregnancy test about 6 to 8 days after ovulation. It takes longer to get results than a home pregnancy test.

The two types of blood pregnancy tests are:

A Qualitative HCG Test - It simply checks for hCG. It gives a "yes" or "no" answer to the question, "Are you pregnant?" Doctors often order these tests to confirm pregnancy as early as 10 days after conception. Some can detect hCG much earlier.

A Quantitative HCG Test - It measures the exact amount of hCG in your blood. It can find even very low levels of hCG. These tests may help track problems during pregnancy. Your doctor may use them along with other tests to rule out an ectopic pregnancy, when the fertilized egg implants outside your uterus, or after a miscarriage, when hCG levels fall quickly.

2 Urine Tests

You can take these at home or in a doctor's office. Along with being private and convenient, home pregnancy tests are quick and easy to use. They’re also very accurate if you follow the directions. These pregnancy tests all work in a similar way. You test your pee in one of these ways:

  • Hold the test stick in your urine stream
  • Collect pee in a cup and dip the test stick into it
  • Collect pee in a cup and use a dropper to put it into another container
  • You’ll need to wait a few minutes before seeing the results.
  • After you take this test, you can confirm your results by seeing your doctor, who can do even more sensitive pregnancy tests.

How Accurate Are Pregnancy Tests?

Urine home pregnancy tests are about 99% accurate. Blood tests are even more accurate.

  • A home test’s accuracy depends on:
  • How closely you follow the instructions
  • When you ovulate and how soon the egg implants
  • How soon after pregnancy you take the test
  • The sensitivity of the pregnancy test
  • When to Take a Pregnancy Test

Some pregnancy tests can detect hCG before you miss your period. But the results will be more accurate if you wait until the first day after you miss your period.

Results may also be more accurate if you test first thing in the morning, when your urine is more concentrated.

Where Can I Get A Home Pregnancy Test?

You can buy a home pregnancy test at a drugstore without a prescription. The cost depends on the brand. But most tests are not very expensive.

What Does The Pregnancy Test Results Mean?

Results may appear as a line, a color, or a symbol such as a "+" or "-" sign. Digital tests show the words "pregnant" or "not pregnant." It is important to know what a positive or negative result means.

If You Get A Positive Result- You are pregnant. This is true no matter how faint the line, color or symbol may be. If you get a positive result, you can call your doctor to talk about what happens next. In very rare cases, you can have false-positive results. It means you are not pregnant but the test says you are. Your results can be false-positive if you have blood or protein in your urine. Certain drugs, such as tranquilizers, anticonvulsants, hypnotics, and fertility drugs, could cause false-positive results.

If You Get A Negative Result, you’re probably not pregnant. But you may be pregnant if:

  • The test is past its expiration date.
  • You took the test the wrong way.
  • You tested too soon.
  • Your pee is too diluted because you drank a lot of fluids right before the test.
  • You’re taking certain medications, such as diuretics or antihistamines.

If you get a negative result, try retesting within about a week to double-check. Some home pregnancy tests suggest doing this no matter what your first results are.

If you take the test twice and get different results, call your doctor. A blood test is a good idea to confirm results.

If you have any other questions about the pregnancy test or the results, call your doctor or the telephone number listed with the test.

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