Blood Pregnancy Tests Used By Doctors
Your doctor can give you a blood pregnancy test as early as 1114 days after ovulation. To perform a blood pregnancy test, the doctor draws blood from a vein in your arm. This blood is sent to a laboratory for testing. The results of most blood pregnancy tests take at least a couple of days. The laboratory then advises the doctor of the result.Blood test results are about 99 per cent accurate and can detect lower amounts of hCG than urine pregnancy tests. The 2 main types of blood pregnancy test include:
- Quantitative blood test measures the exact amount of hCG in the blood and can give you an estimate of how far along the pregnancy has progressed.
- Qualitative blood test only checks for the presence of hCG. Since this test doesnt measure the exact levels of hCG, it cant offer an estimate of gestation.
How Doctors Track Baby Bump Progression
By week 20, your doctor will start measuring your fundal length that’s the distance between the pubic bone and the top of the uterus. Typically, this number should correlate with your week of pregnancy.
So, for example, if your fundal length is 25 centimeters, you should be in or near your 25th week of pregnancy.
If, however, your fundal length is too high, it could indicate growth problems with the baby, like fetal macrosomia, which is when a baby is significantly too large.
On the flip side, if your fundal length is too low it could mean restricted growth, which is when the baby isn’t large enough. While not all small babies suffer from restricted growth, it’s worth checking in with your maternal health practitioner if you are concerned.
Note: Doctors caution, though, that the fundal length isn’t a perfect measurement, and variables like weight or carrying multiple babies can change your numbers significantly.
When Can You Get A Positive Pregnancy Test Result
Home pregnancy tests look for human chorionic gonadotrophin in your urine. This is produced after the egg implants, but not at detectable levels until 6 to 14 days after fertilization. Your most reliable results will be starting on the day of your missed period, since all cycles are unique.
You can purchase a test at supermarkets, drugstores, or online. Follow all instructions and follow up with your doctor if you have a positive result or if you have a negative result but your period does not start.
In some cases, you may want to go in and have a blood draw, which can detect lower levels of the pregnancy hormone hCG.
To recap, the following things need to happen to achieve pregnancy:
Above all else, you can increase your chances of pregnancy each month by gaining a better understanding of the menstrual cycle and pinpointing your fertile window. You can have sex a million times, but if youre not in the right part of your cycle, it wont result in pregnancy.
Sex as early as 5 days before ovulation can lead to conception, but the chances are highest with sex the day immediately before the egg is released.
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When People Start Showing
“Showing” during pregnancy occurs at different intervals for people. It can be hard not to compare pregnant bellies, but it’s best to avoid comparing your pregnancy to someone else’s.
While it is not an exhaustive list, these are a few reasons that will influence when a pregnant person will start showing.
- Having prior pregnancies
- How many babies you’re carrying
- Your baby’s position
- Your body type and weight
Your pregnancy weight gain will also alter your body’s shape. You will want to take your pre-pregnancy weight status into account when trying to predict when you will start to show. If you have a very slim build, a baby bump might be more obvious. If you were overweight or obese before you become pregnant, you might be worried that you won’t show at all.
Many pregnant people feel the need to be out of regular clothes and into maternity clothes by the fourth or fifth month of pregnancy.
In addition to an expanding belly, the changes to your breasts during pregnancy will affect how your bra fits.
Basal Body Temperature Charting
Basal body temperature can predict and suggest ovulation. This only works if you have been taking your temperature in the days prior to ovulation. Temperature elevation begins one or two days after ovulation and persists for several days.
Temperature elevation identifies prior ovulation it does not diagnose pregnancy.
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What Other Symptoms Can Be Early Signs Of Pregnancy
Every person and every pregnancy is different. So, if you are pregnant, youll likely experience a unique combination of common, not-so-common and sometimes overlapping symptoms. And, they may show up earlier or later than expected. Here are more than a dozen possible symptoms of early pregnancy.
1. Spotting or light bleeding
Many women are surprised to learn that spotting or light bleeding can be an early sign of pregnancy, but about one-third of women experience it. This is often called implantation bleeding because doctors believe it occurs as the fertilized egg attaches itself into the uterine lining. This is different from bleeding that could occur from something like a miscarriage which is usually heavier.
When does implantation bleeding occur?
Implantation bleeding typically occurs 10 to 14 days after conception, which is just before or right around the time your period is due. So, you may think youve gotten your period.
But implantation bleeding is a light flow, which may start and stop over a couple days. And while it can take on a range of colors, its more likely to be pink, brown or light red.
Your period, on the other hand, may start off light in flow and in color but after a couple days becomes heavier, changes to a crimson red color and lasts up to a week or so.
2. Lower abdominal pain or cramping
While cramps and lower-abdominal pain can signal a coming period, they can also be a sign of egg implantation.
What do implantation cramps feel like?
When Is The Best Time In Your Cycle To Test
Although your body begins to produce hCG 7 to 10 days after fertilization, waiting provides the most accurate results. In order to give your body enough time for hCG to build up to a detectable level in your urine by a pregnancy test, it is best to take a pregnancy test about 14 days after fertilization. For a woman who has a 28-day cycle and ovulates 14 days after her last period, this would mean testing on the day you expect your next period if you suspect you are pregnant. For the most accurate results, take a pregnancy test a couple of days after your missed period.
If your test is negative and your period does not start, you still might be pregnant, but your hCG levels are just not high enough to register on the test. Most testing kit instructions recommend you wait one week to take another test however, many women test a few days later. Contact a healthcare professional if you still have a negative pregnancy test or have further questions.
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What Causes Some To Show Early In Pregnancy
There are a few factors that might affect when you start showing:
- Height: If you have a short abdomen, your bump will likely pop out sooner than for taller women with a longer abdomen. “Women who have a long abdomen may have more space for their uterus to develop upwards rather than outwards, which can give the appearance of a smaller bump,” Wilson says.
- Weight: If you’re smaller with less body fat, you’ll probably show much earlier than someone with more body fat.
- Multiple buns in the oven: If you’re carrying twins or multiples, you’re more likely to show earlier as early as 6 weeks. That’s because your uterus will expand more to create space for the additional fetuses.
- Not your first rodeo: You’re more likely to show early if this isn’t your first pregnancy. “The uterus is held in position at the front by the abdominal walls: skin and muscle strength,” says Wilson. “For women who have had several pregnancies, the skin and muscle become weaker and the pregnant uterus can fall forward more.”
How To Use A Home Pregnancy Test Kit
Home pregnancy test kits vary in their sensitivity to hCG. Most test kits are best used about one to two weeks after your period was due. Always strictly follow the manufacturers instructions. Generally speaking, most home pregnancy tests follow the same basic principles:
- You collect urine in a small container and dip the test strip into the urine. Alternatively, some kits offer a test strip that you hold under your stream of urine.
- To improve accuracy of results, it is best to test your urine when you first get out of bed. Early morning urine is concentrated and contains higher levels of hCG than at other times of the day.
- Most test strips indicate the presence of hCG by the appearance of a coloured line or dot.
- Results are rapid. Most test kits take only a few minutes to complete.
- Most kits come with a second test strip. This allows you to test again at a later stage.
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How Early Can I Take A Home Pregnancy Test
An early pregnancy test becomes positive only after the fertilized egg implants in the uterus and then sends enough amounts of hCG, human chorionic gonadotropin, the pregnancy hormone, into your bloodstream, and from there into urine. A urine pregnancy test checks for the presence of the pregnancy hormone hCG.
How fertile are you? Get your own free personalized fertility report.
A urine pregnancy test is usually not positive until the time of a missed period, about 5-6 days after implantation, while the blood hCG test can be positive a few days earlier than the urine test.
Where Can I Go To Get A Blood Pregnancy Test
For those who are wondering where they can go to get a blood pregnancy test, there are many places that offer this service. Many drugstores and clinics offer blood pregnancy tests, and they are generally accurate. There are also home pregnancy tests that can be used, which are also accurate, but a blood pregnancy test is the most accurate way to determine if you are pregnant.
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Morning Sickness Or Nausea
That telltale, queasy feeling known as morning sickness can hit you at any time of day and it typically begins when you’re about 6 weeks pregnant, though it can vary and strike even earlier. For most women, nausea starts by week 9.
Hormones, mainly increased levels of progesterone , can cause the stomach to empty more slowly, resulting in this early pregnancy symptom resembling seasickness.
When Do You Start To Show With A Second Pregnancy
If youve been pregnant before, dont be surprised if you start showing earlier. Actually, its not uncommon to develop a baby bump in the first trimester after your first pregnancy.
A previous pregnancy can stretch your stomach muscles, and sometimes, these muscles dont return to their original size. Because of this change, a baby bump might appear earlier.
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How Long Will A Pregnancy Test Be Positive After A Miscarriage
How long it takes for your hCG level to gradually return to normal will depend on how far along you were in your pregnancy and what kind of pregnancy you had. Levels may persist even after miscarriage but will generally start to fall and return to their baseline or pre-pregnancy levels, which can take up to 6 weeks. If your pregnancy ended very early you will likely have low levels of hCG whereas if your pregnancy was further along you will have more in your bloodstream.
Cramping And Spotting During Early Pregnancy
From weeks 1 to4, everything is still happening on a cellular level. The fertilized egg creates a blastocyst that will develop into the fetuss organs and body parts.
About 10 to 14 days after conception, the blastocyst will implant in the endometrium, which is the lining of the uterus. This can cause implantation bleeding, which may be mistaken for a light period. It does not occur for everyone. If it does occur, it will usually happen around the time you expect your period.
Here are some signs of implantation bleeding:
- Color. The color of each episode may be pink, red, or brown.
- Bleeding. Implantation bleeding is usually much less than your usual period. Its often described as light bleeding that never turns into a flow or enough to need a tampon.
- Pain. Pain is usually milder than your usual menstrual pain. It may involve some cramping. It can be moderate or severe, but its most often mild.
- Episodes. Implantation bleeding is likely to last less than 3 days and does not require treatment. It can sometimes last only a few hours.
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Things To Think About
In the early days and weeks of pregnancy, you may not know if you’re pregnant.
But you can do the following things:
- take a folic acid supplement of 400 micrograms a day while you’re trying to get pregnant and until the 12th week of pregnancy
- take a vitamin D supplement of 10 micrograms a day
- avoid some foods to protect against infections
- stopping smoking is one of the best things you can do for your baby’s health
You can get supplements from pharmacies and supermarkets, or your GP may be able to prescribe them for you.
If you want to get your vitamin D or folic acid from a multivitamin tablet, make sure the tablet does not contain vitamin A .
You can get vitamin supplements containing folic acid and vitamin D free of charge if you’re under 18, pregnant or breastfeeding and qualify for the Healthy Start scheme.
When Can I Take A Home Pregnancy Test
Although you may start to feel early pregnancy symptoms before your period, most women have to wait for an average of two weeks from the time they ovulate for a positive home pregnancy test result. Home pregnancy tests measure levels of human chorionic gonadotropin in your urine.
This placenta-produced hormone makes its way into your urine almost immediately after an embryo begins implanting in your uterus, between six to 12 days after fertilization. You can start using most home pregnancy tests as soon as hCG can be detected in your urine and hCG levels usually arent high enough to be picked up by a home pregnancy test until your periods expected.
Cant wait until then? Some HPTs promise 60 to 75 percent accuracy four to five days before you expect your period. Wait until your period and the rate jumps to 90 percent wait another week and the results are 99 percent accurate.
Know that false negatives are much more common than false positives, so if the time for your period comes and goes without your monthly flow, check in with your health care provider. Either way, youll want to get a blood test to confirm your pregnancy status.
No matter what symptoms you’re having, the only way to know for sure that you’re pregnant is to make an appointment with your OB/GYN.
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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.
Raised Basal Body Temperature
If you’ve been using a special basal body thermometer to track your first morning temperature, you might notice that it rises around 1 degree when you conceive and stays elevated throughout your pregnancy.
Though not a foolproof early pregnancy symptom , it could give you advance notice of the big news.
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Your Fitness Level Can Affect Your Bump
It seems as if it only makes sense for thin, in-shape women to develop a baby bump rather early. However, these women are often able to hide their bump much longer.
Although being thin can cause your bump to become more prominent, those who frequently work out have an extra layer of protection.
A woman with defined abdominal muscles will be able to mask her baby bump because her abs will hide her uterus from view. Some extremely fit pregnant mothers barely show even a couple of weeks before delivery. This is perfectly normal, as long as the doctor judges that a womans pregnancy weight gain is within her recommended range.
This is an extreme case, of course, but if you have strong abdominal muscles, its possible your bump will make its appearance later.