A pregnancy test is done to confirm if a woman is pregnant or not. It is essential to get the tests done as early as possible so that it becomes easy to make life decisions quickly. It also helps to take care of the health right from the early stages of pregnancy. Ideally, a woman of childbearing age who has a missed period should take this test. These tests are done in the urine or on the blood and the levels of a hormone called Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, HCG is checked. This hormone is present after about 2 weeks after conception. The levels of HCG doubles every few days.
There are two types of tests done to confirm pregnancy: Blood test Urine test Urine test At home A Urine test to check for pregnancy can be done at a clinic or at home. Usually, when there is a missed period of a pregnancy test at home using the home pregnancy test, HPT is done. This home kit checks for the levels of HCG in the urine. Only during pregnancy is the hormone present in the blood and urine. The home kit will contain a chemical that changes colour when it comes in contact with the hormone. The result of this test can be obtained in about a few minutes depending on the quality of the kit brought. Additionally, the Pregnancy test price is less and depends on the type of kit brought. A blood test at home for pregnancy options is also available from many clinics where a trained professional will come to your location to draw your blood sample. At clinic If you are wondering why to opt for a clinical urine test, it is because: The clinical urine test done at the doctor’s office is not just to check for pregnancy but it is also done to eliminate any errors that can make the result inaccurate. The results of the test take longer than the HPT but it will be more detailed. The pregnancy test price is higher as it needs to be done by professionals. Blood tests These lab tests have to be done at the doctor’s clinic or a trained professional has to draw the blood for testing at home. A pregnancy test by blood can tell if you are pregnant earlier than HPT. After 6 to 8 days after ovulation, the tests can give a result. Two types of blood pregnancy test is done: Qualitative HCG test: It is a pregnancy test by blood that checks for the presence of HCG. It gives a positive or negative result to determine if you are pregnant. It can be done after 10 days of conception and hence people can get to know pregnancy earlier. Beta HCG or Quantitative HCG test: This pregnancy test by blood checks the measure of the HCG in the blood. Sometimes it can be very low and can help in keeping track of problems in the later stages of pregnancy. It is also used to find out if it is ectopic pregnancy where the egg gets implanted outside the uterus. These tests are more accurate but the blood pregnancy test cost is higher than the other tests as they can calculate even the smallest amount of hormone than a qualitative test. Other tests: Doctor’s may order more tests like Ultrasound other than blood and urine tests, if The HCG is lower or higher than it should be. The abnormal levels can be due to the wrong period dates you provide to the doctor. To determine how far the pregnancy has reached.
The main reason to go for a pregnancy test is if you have missed a period. Most women have a menstrual cycle period of 28 days. If it has been more than a month since your last menstruation then considers taking a test. Sometimes if you do not track your cycle it may be hard to know if you are late or not. Even then as a precaution you can take the test using a home pregnancy test. At times you may have spotting or bleeding but still, be pregnant. That is because when the egg buries into the uterus there can be light spotting or bleeding which can be confused as periods. If you suspect pregnancy you should note the difference in texture, colour, and quantity of blood. To remove any confusion take a pregnancy test at home if you see differences in your period. Many times periods can be delayed for other reasons other than pregnancy. It can be because of diet, exercise, stress, medical conditions, etc. You are the best judge to determine if you need a pregnancy test or not!
Every woman has a different experience when it comes to periods or pregnancy. So the symptoms of pregnancy may not be the same. Moreover, the early symptoms of pregnancy are similar to that of menstruation; you may not know that you are pregnant. So the surest way is to take the pregnancy test. But here are some signs to watch out for if you are wondering if you are pregnant or not. Missed periods: This is an obvious symptom especially if you have periods regularly and at the right time. Missing periods is one of the most noticeable symptoms for expectant mothers. Sometimes a few women who have light periods think that the light spotting and bleeding is their period. It can be implantation bleeding and not period and you mistake it as the period at first. Failed contraception: There are many contraception methods but one thing common is that they are not 100% safe. There is always a chance that it has failed you irrespective of the care you have taken. These defects in contraceptives can lead to an unplanned pregnancy. Women who are on the pill can get pregnant if they do not take it as directed. If you are worried about contraceptive failure then it is best to take a pregnancy test and also look for the early signs. Cramps and Bleeding: Another common symptom of early signs of pregnancy cramps and it is also one of the things that happen before a period. Since it resembles cramps that women suffer before menstruation, it is often confused. It is caused due to implantation and that produces a feeling similar to menstrual cramps. However, the cramps and bleeding are usually not as heavy as during periods. That is an indication that it can be a pregnancy. Also apart from cramps early pregnant women notice a white discharge from the vagina. That happens to thicken the walls of the vagina to prepare for the child’s birth. Tenderness in the breast: Changes in the breast is another early indication of pregnancy. The hormone levels undergo many changes after conception due to which there will be changes in the breast. It may feel tingly, swollen, or sore after a week or two. It may also feel tender to touch and swollen especially around the areola or the nipples. The soreness or any pain in the breast eases up after the body gets used to the high levels of hormones. A note here is that many women also feel discomfort in the breast before periods and hence may not always be a great indicator of pregnancy. A pregnancy test at home will remove any confusion. Fatigue: Some women can feel very tired a week after conceiving. That is because of the high levels of progesterone, low blood pressure, low blood sugar, and an increase in blood production. Also, a great amount of energy is spent on building the placenta and can also be a reason for excessive fatigue after conception. Other signs: Early pregnancy apart from the above cause: Nausea Frequent urination Morning sickness Food aversions Smell sensitivity
The preparation depends on the type of pregnancy test being taken. Preparing for the urine test at home: If you are taking a home pregnancy test using urine, do it first thing in the morning before passing urine. Read the instructions on the test kit properly before using it. Do not drink too much water before taking the test. Use a urine cup if you are scared of dropping the stick. Preparing for tests at the clinic: Do not drink too much fluid as that can dilute the urine. For a blood pregnancy test, be prepared to get a blood sample drawn. For urine tests, a sterilized cup will be provided to collect urine.
The pregnancy test at home is done by using the urine sample. A chemical strip is provided in the home pregnancy kit which is the component on which urine is placed. There are a few ways to place that sample on the strip: The individual will collect the urine in a container and dip the strip into the cup Use a dropper to collect from the container and place the sample on the strip. Hold the strip in the urine stream. The result may appear in different ways and can be as: A change in colour The marked line changes in appearance with + or - An answer window shows ‘pregnant’ or ‘not pregnant’.
There are not many risks or side effects of the pregnancy test done in a clinic. The blood pregnancy test is done by professionals and hence safe. Though the home test is cheaper than the blood pregnancy test cost they may not produce the right results. Also, it may cause a false-negative if: The test is taken too early after a missed period. Do not give enough time for the test to work and check it too soon. Wait for the time prescribed in the package. Test with diluted urine and not get accurate results. It is very rare that a home test that is positive turns negative unless it is an ectopic pregnancy.
Lab results As mentioned above the blood and urine tests conducted by gynaecologists online are the surest way of determining pregnancy. Urine Test Blood Test Quantitative test (high-sensitivity) 20 to 50 mlU/mL 5 to 10 mlU/mL Qualitative test (low sensitivity) 1500 to 200 mlU/ml 1 to 2 mlU/mL Home Pregnancy Test Results Result Changes Positive Line, symbol, sign, or change in colour Negative No change If the pregnancy test at home shows positive then it is best to consult a doctor. The doctor will confirm if the results are accurate and also advise on prenatal care. If the results are negative and you do not get your period even after 3 to 5 days, a retest can be done. Sometimes the ovulation can happen later or you may have taken the test too soon.