What Are The Different Types Of Pregnancy Tests
There are two main types of pregnancy tests: urine and blood tests. Urine tests are typically done at home though you can have a urine test done at your healthcare providers office while blood tests are done by your provider.
At-home pregnancy test
An at-home test usually uses your urine to look for hCG in your body. According to most manufacturers, at-home pregnancy tests are about 99% effective when used as instructed. Thats about the same accuracy rate as urine pregnancy tests done in your healthcare providers office. These tests are available in most pharmacies or grocery stores and they dont need a prescription. They can take different amounts of time depending on the brand. Its important to read the instructions on these tests before taking them.
When you go to take an at-home pregnancy test, youll typically place one to several drops of urine on a prepared chemical strip or place the strip in the urine stream. The strip is specially-designed to detect hCG. For many of these tests, hCG can be detected in your urine about 10 days after conception. However, taking it after your missed period reduces the chance of getting a false-negative.
There are a few things to keep in mind when you take a home pregnancy tests, including:
A blood test for pregnancy might be done in special circumstances, such as for women who are having infertility treatments or when the healthcare provider thinks there might be a problem.
How Do I Use A Home Pregnancy Test
For best results when using a home pregnancy test:
- Make sure the test is current. Check the expiration date on the package, especially if you’ve had it for a while. If you’ve been storing the test anywhere that gets moist or warm, like the bathroom, it may have deteriorated. If that’s the case, it’s better to throw it away and get a new one.
- Test first thing in the morning. Your urine is most concentrated when you first get up, so hCG levels will be easier to detect at that time.
- Read the directions carefully. Directions vary with different brands. Some require you to urinate in a cup and then use the dropper provided to place a small sample in the testing well. With others, you can pee directly onto the testing device. And some let you do either.
The tests also vary in how they display the results. For example, some show pink or blue lines on the test strip, while others reveal a red plus or minus sign in a window. “Digital” tests tell you in words whether you’re pregnant. Most have a control indicator to indicate whether the test is valid.
It may take up to 10 minutes to see results. If the control indicator doesn’t show up properly, the test may be faulty. If this happens, you can usually call the manufacturer and have them send you a new one .
If you have questions about how to use a test, call the manufacturer’s toll-free number on the package instructions.
How Accurate Are Urine Tests
Urine tests or home pregnancy tests are around 97% accurate when done correctly. Home pregnancy tests are great to use because they can be done at home, they are usually low in cost , private, they give a fast result, and are easy to use.
However, if done incorrectly or taken too early, the result can be inaccurate. If you get a negative result and still have symptoms of pregnancy , wait a week and take another test or contact your doctor so you can have a blood test done.
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Pregnancy Tests That Your Doctor May Do
Your GP will probably do a urine pregnancy test to detect whether you are pregnant.
It is always a good idea to bring a sample of urine to the GP surgery with you if you think you may be pregnant. This will mean your appointment is not delayed.
It will also avoid the stage fright that can occur when you are trying to pee and you know someone is waiting on you.
The pregnancy testing kit that your GP will use is like the kits that you can buy over the counter.
How Soon Can You Take A Pregnancy Test
You should wait to take a pregnancy test until the week after your missed period for the most accurate result.
If you dont want to wait until youve missed your period, you should wait at least one to two weeks after you had sex. If you are pregnant, your body needs time to develop detectable levels of HCG. This typically takes seven to 12 days after successful implantation of an egg.
You may receive an inaccurate result if the test is taken too early in your cycle.
Here are some signs that you should take a pregnancy test.
One of the first and most reliable signs of pregnancy is a missed period.
If you dont track your cycle closely, it might be hard to determine whether or not youre late. Many women have a 28-day menstrual cycle. Consider taking a test if its been more than a month since your last period.
Also pay attention to your flow if you suspect pregnancy. Its common to experience light bleeding or spotting in the early weeks as the egg buries deeper into the uterine lining during implantation. Take note of any difference in the color, texture, or amount of blood.
Contact your doctor if you have bleeding and a positive pregnancy test.
Implantation can also produce a feeling similar to menstrual cramps. In early pregnancy, you may feel this discomfort and think your period is just around the corner, but then it never comes.
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Home Pregnancy Test Kits
Home pregnancy test kits are available from pharmacists. These kits offer accurate readings if performed strictly according to the manufacturers instructions. However, many women who use home pregnancy test kits get inaccurate results.The most common mistake is to test for pregnancy too soon after the missed period. The manufacturers instructions will tell you when is the best time to use the kit. It is very important to follow the manufacturers instructions exactly.
What Should I Do If I Get A Positive Pregnancy Test
From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.
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If The Result Is Positive
Before you let your emotions take over, keep in mind that its possible a false-positive result if you have blood or protein in your urine, where the test says youre pregnant when you actually are not, Copperman explains.
Some medications can also cause false-positive results, such as:
- fertility medications
If youre taking any of those and receive a positive result, Copperman recommends taking a blood test to confirm.
That said, urine tests are somewhere between 95 and 99 percent accurate.
Once youve confirmed your pregnancy status, know this: You are going to be OK! And that stands, whether youve been wanting to become pregnant for a long while, or not.
If you want to continue the pregnancy, its best to reach out to a doctor or other healthcare professional to book a prenatal appointment.
If you dont wish to continue the pregnancy, or if youre unsure if you want to continue the pregnancy, make an appointment at your local Planned Parenthood or family planning clinic. Theyll have professionals who can answer any questions you have and offer judgment-free, medically accurate advice and information.
When Is The Best Time Of Day To Take A Pregnancy Test
The best time of day to take a pregnancy test is first thing in the morning because at that time your urine contains the highest concentration of hCG. This is particularly important the earlier you are taking your pregnancy test. You can test later in the day, but you will have a higher chance of seeing a false-negative test result because your urine will be diluted. Tips for testing include:
- Use first-morning urine .
- Dont drink a lot of fluid that could dilute your hCG levels before your test.
- Check to make sure the pregnancy test is not expired, which can provide inaccurate results. Checking the expiration date is particularly important if you keep pregnancy tests at home just in case.
- It is understandable that once you have the pregnancy test in your hands, you want to get to the answers quickly. Plus, it seems like a no-brainer because they are designed to be easy to use. Take time to read all of the instructions and follow them precisely. Even if you have taken pregnancy tests before, little variances between them can be the difference between a result you can count on and a wrong one.
- We all know how easy it is to lose track of time, so do not try to estimate when to read your results. Set a timer so you can read your test results exactly at the time directed in the instructions. Do not read the test window after that set time because a faint evaporation line can appear, which makes your test appear to be positive when it is really negative.
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If You’re Not Sure You Want To Be Pregnant
If you’re not sure about continuing with the pregnancy, you can discuss this confidentially with a healthcare professional. Your options are:
- continuing with the pregnancy and keeping the baby
- having an abortion
- continuing with the pregnancy and having the baby adopted
As well as a GP or a nurse at your GP surgery, you can also get accurate, confidential information from the age of 13 from the following:
- the National Unplanned Pregnancy Advisory service website
All these services including community contraceptive clinics are confidential. If you’re 13 or older, the staff won’t tell your parents. They’ll encourage you to talk to your parents, but they won’t force you.
If you’re under 25 and would prefer advice specifically for young people, the sexual health charity Brook provides a range of services for young people. The Brook website contains information on pregnancy choices. You can also use the Ask Brook 24/7 service.
How Soon After Sex Can I Take A Pregnancy Test
If you think you may be pregnant, waiting to take a pregnancy test can feel excruciating. If youve recently had unprotected sex or experienced contraception failure, you probably want to know as soon as possible. Before you begin to worry or make any plans, taking a home pregnancy test is a good first step. Of course, if you want to, skip the home test and come see us first. We can provide lab-grade pregnancy testing for you free of charge.
When Should You Take a Pregnancy Test ?
Before You Miss Your Period
The earlier you take a test, the less accurate it will be. Taking a test before you miss your period or less than two weeks after sex can cause a false negative.
Some women take a test too early and assume they are not pregnant. This can be especially confusing if they spot or bleed during their first-trimester, making them believe they had their period.
We see women already in their second trimester before they notice more obvious pregnancy symptoms. They are often shocked to find out how far along they are.
Two Weeks Later
Many women test according to the two weeks rule. This means waiting to take a test until two weeks after unprotected sex. It can provide accurate results for women who are on a predictable 28-day cycle and who ovulating once and at a regular interval.
However, some womens cycles are not as predictable, or medications such as birth control and antibiotics can change their cycle and date of ovulation. Even stress can cause interruptions.
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Which Pregnancy Test Provides The Earliest Results
First Response and Modern Fertility can both detect pregnancy up to 6 days before your missed period. However, its important to note that the accuracy isnt as high. Its still ideal to test after your missed period for the best results. Most at-home pregnancy tests can be up to 99 percent accurate on the day of a missed period.
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False Positive Pregnancy Tests
A false positive pregnancy test means that you get a positive result, but aren’t pregnant. These are uncommon, but they can happen under certain circumstances:
- You had a miscarriage or a pregnancy termination in the previous eight weeks or have a molar pregnancy.
- You’ve taken a fertility drug containing hCG .
- You have a rare medical condition, such as an hCG-secreting tumor.
- You’re using an expired or faulty test.
- You’re experiencing menopause or perimenopause.
If you have an early positive result and then get your period soon after, you may have had what’s sometimes called a chemical pregnancy. This means a fertilized egg implanted in your uterus and developed just enough to start producing hCG, but then stopped developing for some reason. This form of early pregnancy loss usually happens when the fertilized egg has defects that prevent it from growing normally.
After a chemical pregnancy, your period may be a little heavier and a few days later than usual.
Note: An ectopic pregnancy usually results in a positive pregnancy test, even though these pregnancies show slower hCG rises. No matter what result you get from a pregnancy test, call your healthcare provider right away if you:
- Feel dizzy or faint.
- Have abdominal pain .
- Have abnormal bleeding.
How Soon Can I Take A Home Pregnancy Test
It is recommended that you wait until you have missed a period to take a home test. A missed period is often one of the first signs of pregnancy. If you cannot wait that long to find out and you know the day you may have conceived, then the earliest you can take a test would be 14 days from possible conception.
Are Home Pregnancy Tests Accurate
Home pregnancy tests are fairly accurate, though they may have difficulty diagnosing a pregnancy if a woman has only recently missed a period. In addition, fertility drugs or certain medications can interfere with the results.
If you are pregnant, its important to begin your prenatal care right away.
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When To See A Doctor
Most women who have a positive pregnancy test should wait a week or two before calling the Ob/Gyn office for a pregnancy blood test or ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy. We suggest waiting because the rate of early pregnancy loss is high, and its possible that you might have had a chemical pregnancy.
However, women with a history of ectopic pregnancy or current abdominal pain should call the doctor right away to be examined. Ectopic pregnancies implant outside of the uterus and produce hCG, resulting in positive pregnancy tests. However, these pregnancies can cause abdominal bleeding and prompt medical care is necessary. Women who have congenital heart defects or other chronic physical or mental health conditions should also see a doctor right away because treatment plans or medications might need to be altered to protect the woman and the fetus.
Advances in home pregnancy tests give women greater insight into whats going on in their bodies sooner than ever before. No matter what your childbearing plans might be, its essential to get quick, accurate results at home to plan your next steps accordingly.
What Do The Pregnancy Test Results Mean
Results may show up as a line, a color, or a symbol such as a “+” or “-” sign. Digital tests show the words “pregnant” or “not pregnant.” It’s important to know what a positive or negative result means.
If you get a positive result, youâre pregnant. This is true no matter how faint the line, color, or sign is. If you get a positive result, you may want to call your doctor to talk about what comes next.
In very rare cases, you can have a false-positive result. This means you’re not pregnant but the test says you are. You could have a false-positive result if you have blood or protein in your pee. Certain drugs, such as tranquilizers, anticonvulsants, hypnotics, and fertility drugs, could cause false-positive results.
If you get a negative result, youâre 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.
- Youâre 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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Family History And Risk Assessment
Once you and your doctor have thoroughly covered your medical history, they will ask about your family history and ethnic heritage, as well as that of the other parent. This can help them evaluate your risk for certain genetic or inherited conditions.
Ethnic heritage is important because some medical conditions occur more frequently among certain populations. Its important for your doctor to know if you have a family history of diabetes or high blood pressure.
A family history of diabetes puts you at an increased risk of developing the condition during pregnancy or at some other point in your life. If are at risk for diabetes, your doctor may want to perform a screening test sooner rather than later.
Diabetes that occurs during pregnancy is known as gestational diabetes, and it can increase your risk for a large baby, the need for cesarean section, and delivery complications.
Similarly, if you have a family history of high blood pressure, one of the problems that can develop during pregnancy can be preeclampsia, and it can be life threatening when left untreated.
If you are at risk for high blood pressure, your doctor will monitor your blood pressure very closely throughout your pregnancy.
Your familys obstetrical history may be important. Your doctor might ask you if you have a family history of twins, recurrent miscarriages, and stillbirths.