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Jan 19, 2023

Pregnancy Tests: How They Work & What to Expect

Gone are the days of detecting a pregnancy through cravings, fainting spells or bouts of nausea. While these markers can be physical effects of pregnancy but now, as soon as women miss their periods or suspect being pregnant— they can just take an at-home pregnancy test without any discomfort or get their doctor to prescribe blood or a urine test.

What is a pregnancy test?

By looking for a specific hormone in your urine or blood, a pregnancy test can determine if you are pregnant. Human chorionic gonadotropin is the name of the hormone (HCG). After a fertilized egg implants in the uterus, HCG is produced in the mother's placenta. Normally, it is only produced during pregnancy.

About a week after you have missed a period, the HCG hormone can be detected in urine during a pregnancy test. The test can be carried out either at a doctor's office or at home using a test kit. Since these tests are almost identical, many women decide to do a home pregnancy test before seeing a healthcare professional. Home pregnancy tests are 97-99 per cent reliable when done appropriately.

A blood test for pregnancy is performed at a doctor's office. It can confirm or rule out pregnancy earlier than a urine test and detect lower concentrations of HCG. Even before you've missed a period, a blood test can identify pregnancy. Blood tests for pregnancy have a 99.9 per cent accuracy rate. The findings of a home pregnancy test are frequently confirmed by a blood test.

Other names: HCG test, human chorionic gonadotropin test

Signs that you should take a pregnancy test

  1. You have missed your period - One of the most obvious signs of a pregnancy is a missed or a very late period. It could be challenging to tell whether you're late if you don't constantly monitor your cycle. The average woman's menstrual cycle lasts 28 days. If it has been more than a month since your last period, think about getting tested.
  1. You feel physically ill - Pregnancy can cause nausea, tiredness, stomach cramps and frequent urination. If you are repeatedly feeling most of these symptoms, it may be a cue for you to take a test.
  1. Your breasts hurt - In order to promote the baby's growth, estrogen and progesterone, which are produced in increasing amounts throughout pregnancy, begin to alter your body in order to support the growing baby inside of you. 
  1. Skipping Contraception Methods- Condoms, birth control pills, and other forms of contraception do not completely prevent conception. In other words, no matter how careful you are, there is always a small possibility of having an unplanned pregnancy.

False test results

Both false positive and false negative pregnancy tests are possible. False negatives happen considerably more frequently than false positives, though. Therefore, if your at-home pregnancy test shows a positive result, you are probably pregnant.

A false negative pregnancy test result is most frequently the consequence of either taking the test too soon or failing to follow the instructions on the label.

When should you take a pregnancy test?

You can take a pregnancy test as soon as you realize your period is significantly late while also feeling the other aforementioned symptoms of pregnancy. The earlier you take the test and find out, the easier it will be to focus on the next steps of the pregnancy. Furthermore, to be more sure, taking a blood test is also a viable option.

Once you get a positive pregnancy result, it is important to stay cautious of the next few steps. First things first, one must decide for themselves if they choose to keep the baby or not. If you choose the former, consult your local doctor, and begin the process of preparing your body for the pregnancy.

Testing early helps to ensure that you get proper care for yourself and, if applicable, prenatal care for your baby. In the event of a positive result, contact your doctor as soon as possible to discuss your options and potential next steps.

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