Early Pregnancy Tests

A pregnancy test is an accurate way of finding out if you are pregnant or not. Generally, there are two basic types of pregnancy tests – urine test and blood test. Both tests check for a hormone called hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) that is present only when a woman is pregnant.

The hormone hCG is produced by the embryo when it starts to implant itself into the uterine lining. Implantation usually occurs 6-10 days after conception and as the embryo grows, the amount of hCG increases and doubles every 2-3 days. The purpose of this hormone is to balance oestrogen and progesterone levels until the placenta is adequately developed. hCG levels peak at 10 – 12 weeks to as high as 300,000 mIU/ ml and then drop off.

Home Pregnancy Tests

The home pregnancy test kit is actually a simplified version of the urine test that was until now, only conducted in the laboratory. Home pregnancy tests can be bought over the counter at most Medical Stores. Convenient, inexpensive and private, most test kits can detect hCG in the urine about 14 days after ovulation.

The urine test should be done using the first urine when you wake up in the morning. If the test gives a positive home pregnancy test result, you should consult your Doctor, who will confirm your home test result with the help of a blood test and a pelvic exam.

Pregnancy Blood Test

Pregnancy blood tests are performed at the laboratory. They can detect or measure hCG levels in your blood, about 6 to 8 days after ovulation. There are actually two types of pregnancy blood tests:

Quantitative Blood Test: The quantitative blood test detects pregnancy by measuring the exact amount of hCG in your bloodstream. It can also be used to detect how far along you are in your pregnancy.

Qualitative Blood Test: The qualitative blood test detects pregnancy by indicating the presence of hCG in your blood. It does not measure your hCG levels, and only provides a yes or no answer as to whether or not you are pregnant.

Accuracy Of Pregnancy Tests

Timing is important in a pregnancy test. If you test too early in your pregnancy, the pregnancy hormone may not be present in the urine to provide a positive test result. Home pregnancy tests will be more accurate if you wait and test one day after your missed period is due.

Home pregnancy tests are usually about 97% accurate, but this varies from brand to brand. Blood tests performed at your clinic have a 99% accuracy rate and can detect pregnancy earlier than most urine tests. Blood tests can be performed 7 days after you ovulate (which is about a week before your period is due) and still provide accurate results.

If the home pregnancy test is negative and you feel you are pregnant, repeat the test again in a week if you still have not had your period. If the tests are still giving negative results and if you think you are pregnant, consult your Doctor.

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