How Pregnancy Tests Work
Think you might be pregnant?
Even with the most effective birth control methods, theres always a chance for error. After all, it takes just one sperm to fertilize the egg. Finding out whether or not thats happened is as easy as taking an over-the-counter pregnancy test.
OTC pregnancy tests typically test your urine for a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin . HCG is only present if youre pregnant. The hormone is only released if a fertilized egg attaches outside the uterus or to your uterine lining.
There are different ways to collect your urine for the test. Depending on the test you choose, you may have to:
- collect your urine in a cup and dip a testing stick into the liquid
- collect your urine in a cup and use an eyedropper to move a small amount of fluid into a special container
- place the testing stick into the area of your expected urine stream so that it will catch your urine midstream
According to Cleveland Clinic, most tests are 99 percent effective if taken after a missed period. The best part is that you can do it in the privacy of your own home. Simply open the test, follow the instructions, and wait for the recommended amount of time to view the results.
After the recommended waiting time has passed, the tests will display your results in one of the following ways:
- a change in color
All You Need To Know About Testing Early For Pregnancy
After the egg is fertilized, it travels to the uterus and implants itself in the uterine wall. At this stage tiny amounts of the , start to appear in your urine. It is this hormone that all home pregnancy tests detect. can tell you 6 days sooner than your 1.
No matter when you test, you can be confident in the accuracy of a ‘Pregnant’ result with any
But if you are testing early, you should be aware that even if your result , you may still be pregnant. This is because levels of hCG vary from woman to woman and there may not yet be enough hormone for the test to give a . rise rapidly in early pregnancy, as shown in the graph below, meaning that if you test again on the day of your expected period, your result will be over 99% accurate.
You May Need An Accommodation At Work
You might decide to tell your employer earlier in your pregnancy depending on your job. For example, you may need to request a workplace accommodation such as if you won’t be able to lift certain weights or be exposed to certain chemicals or simply explain to your boss why youve been running to the restroom every few minutes. Sometimes, pregnancy symptoms can make the announcement for you even if thats sooner than you hoped.
Listen to the What to Expect Podcast for more about when and how to spill the beans about your pregnancy:
You May Like: Does Donating Plasma Affect Fertility
How Reliable Are Home Pregnancy Tests
According to the NHS, home pregnancy tests are reliable as long as you follow the instructions correctly. It may not be reliable if you didnt follow instructions or youve taken the test too early.
Most pregnancy tests can be taken after the first missed period, with any tests taken before this time running the risk of being inaccurate. Professionals also recommend avoiding drinking too much fluid ahead of doing a test, as it can dilute the level of HGC.
Negative tests may not be reliable if youve taken it too early, as the level of HGC might not be enough at the time of taking it. Tests can also vary in their sensitivity and so its recommended you read instructions thoroughly before using one, as theres no guarantee each one will be the same.
You Can Predict Your Newborn’s Weight
Equation Just as Good as Ultrasound, Easier to Use
Sept. 26, 2002 – A new baby’s gender, name, time of birth, and birth weight are nice information for a birth announcement, but birth weight is especially important for an obstetrician. A large size at delivery has long been associated with an increased risk of injuries to a newborn and its mom. So the better a doctor can predict birth weight, the easier the delivery may be.
Most of the time, birth weight is predicted with ultrasound. Now researchers say a mathematic equation is just as good a predictor and can predict birth weight earlier than ultrasound for some newborns.
Duke University Medical Center doctors tested the accuracy of an equation that calculated birth weight based on stage of pregnancy, mother’s height and weight, third-trimester weight gain rate, the number of other children, and fetal sex.
When they used it for 244 women who gave birth to single babies, the equationaccurately predicted birth weight within an average of 8% of actual birth weight. For 87% of the births, weight was predicted within 15% of the actual weight. Ultrasound is estimated to predict within 8-15% of true birth weight.
It was also easier for doctors to identify babies who might be bigger than 8.8 pounds, a weight at which the risk of delivery problems begin to increase.
For those of you who have a thing for math, here’s the equation:
Birth weight = gestational age x .
Pointers for performing the calculations:
Read Also: Is It Bad To Donate Plasma While Pregnant
Will You Notice Any Pregnancy Symptoms During Weeks 1 2 Or 3
During weeks one, two, or three, you may not even suspect youâre pregnant and you might not notice any pregnancy symptoms at all, as itâs still very early. Donât worryâthis is common .Missing a period is often the first clue that you may be pregnant, and around the time you miss a periodâor a little laterâyou may start noticing those very early pregnancy symptoms. One common early pregnancy symptom is implantation bleeding, which is light spotting that occurs when the tiny ball of cells attaches to the uterine lining. Not everyone experiences it, but this light bleeding is normal and can sometimes be mistaken for menstrual blood. It usually happens 10 to 14 days after conception.Other signs of pregnancy in the first month can include
Morning sickness is another common symptom of early pregnancy, but it usually crops up between weeks 4 and 9.Now that you know these early signs of pregnancy, take our quiz to test your knowledge!
Other Early Signs Of Pregnancy
These early pregnancy symptoms tend to appear around or after the time that you miss your period, usually sometime between weeks 4 and 9. But again, every woman and every pregnancy is different, so you may not experience these symptoms at all, while other moms-to-be may notice them a little earlier.
Don’t Miss: Is It Safe To Use Vagisil Cream While Pregnant
Vulva Change In Colour
One of the early signs and symptoms of pregnancy can be a change in colour of your vulva and vagina. Your vulva and vagina are usually pink, but this changes to dark purplish-red as your pregnancy progresses. This happens because more blood is needed in that area to build the tissue, a change which midwives refer to as Chadwicks sign.
What else could it be?All of the maintenance we perform on our vaginas can contribute to a change in colour. If you have been using razors or hair removal creams you could be suffering from reddening or a rash. Also, watch out for washing products that arent sensitive to the hormone balance as this can have an effect too. Look for gentle products to prevent irritation to your vagina.
We Know You’re Wondering: Is It Possible To Be Pregnant And Still Have A Period
Nope, experts say. Some people may experience bleeding or spotting, but those are different bleeding patterns from the cyclical menses your body experiences in absence of a pregnancy.
Dr. Michele Hakakha, an OB-GYN and author of Expecting 411: Clear Answers and Smart Advice for Your Pregnancy, told Parents that people definitely can experience vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, but that “when they bleed, they are not having a ‘period.'” That’s because your body needs to reserve the uterine lining as nourishment for the growing pregnancy.
Although bleeding during pregnancy doesn’t always mean cause for concern, it can indicate something more serious like a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, according to the Mayo Clinic.
In the earliest stage of pregnancy, however, some very light bleeding is totally normal and leads us to our first pregnancy clue: implantation bleeding.
Implantation bleeding usually doesn’t last more than a couple of days, and it’s much lighter than most people’s periods .
You May Like: Lasik Eye Surgery While Pregnant
What Is The Best Way To Confirm Pregnancy
The best way to confirm pregnancy is to do a blood test measuring the human chorionic gonadotropin hormone. Women can also take a home pregnancy test. Home pregnancy tests are fairly reliable but may occasionally be a false-positive. This can occur for a number of reasons, including having a chemical or ectopic pregnancy or even taking certain medications. Following a positive home pregnancy test with a doctors visit for a urine or blood test to confirm the pregnancy is the best way to confirm a pregnancy.
Will You Notice Early Signs And Symptoms When You’re 1 Week Pregnant Or 2 Weeks Pregnant
Your journey through pregnancy has officially begun, but as mentioned above, youâre not actually pregnant yet. Remember that healthcare providers calculate your pregnancy as 40 weeks, or 280 days, from the start of your last period. So, if you have a typical 28-day menstrual cycle, the first two weeks are mainly just Aunt Flo doing her thing.
But after two weeks, other things start to happen.
One of your ovaries will release an egg around 14 days after the first day of your last period.
The egg will travel down one of the fallopian tubes where it may unite with sperm.
Itâs worth noting that sperm can live inside your body for up to five days, and your egg has a lifespan of up to one day. This means your window of fertility is about five days before you ovulate to one day after.What this all means is that you wonât feel any of those very early signs of pregnancy in weeks 1, 2, or possibly even 3. If you have yet to conceive, then it makes sense that you wouldnât notice anything!
Don’t Miss: Restylane While Pregnant
You Have Spotting & Cramps
If your period is not due yet, but you’re spotting, it could be an indication of pregnancy. “You will experience menstrual cramps, light spotting or bleeding before a week or two of your missed period,”Dr. Jacqueline Walters of Bravoâs tells Bustle. This is called “implantation bleeding,” according to the Mayo Clinic, and generally occurs 10 to 14 days after conception. If you have reason to believe this may be because you’re pregnant, making an appointment with your doctor can help confirm it.
Changes In Cervical Mucus
Have you become a student of your cervical mucus? Then check it out now: If it becomes creamy and stays that way after ovulation, its a good sign youll have a positive pregnancy test.
As your pregnancy progresses, youll also notice increased vaginal discharge, called leukorrhea. This thin, milky-white discharge is normal and healthy, but speak to your practitioner if it appears lumpy or thick.
Also Check: Is Kinesio Tape Safe For Pregnancy
Blood Test From The Doctor
For the most accurate way to know if youre pregnant, head to your doctor’s office to get a blood test. Blood tests are more sensitive than urine tests, since less hCG needs to be present to get a positive result.
Most women don’t undergo a blood test if their at-home test was positive, but Dr. Perez explains that it can help evaluate for a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy . Therefore she recommends scheduling an appointment once you get a positive pregnancy test.
Going Off The Pill To Get Pregnant
How long does it take for the effects of birth control medication to subside? It’s actually possible to become pregnant immediately after going off the pill — as soon as the pill’s hormones are out of your system — although it may take a few months before ovulation begins normally again.
Is it safe to conceive right after you go off the pill? Yes. Women who conceive immediately after going off the pill are as likely to have a healthy baby as women who waited a few months in between.
Also Check: How To Check Your Stomach For Pregnancy
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.
How Soon After Unprotected Sex Can I Take A Pregnancy Test
how soon after having sex without a condom can i take a test to see if im pregnant
Home pregnancy tests work best if you take them after youve already missed your period. Some tests say they can tell you if youre pregnant a few days before a missed period, but theyre not as accurate before that missed period.
Pregnancy actually doesnt start the day you have sex. It can take up to 6 days after sex for the sperm and egg to join, and then it has to form into a fertilized egg. It then takes another several days for the fertilized egg to grow, travel to the uterus, and implant itself into the lining of the uterus to start a pregnancy. So from when you have sex to when pregnancy happens can be up to 2-3 weeks.
If you dont want to be pregnant and youve had unprotected vaginal sex, you can use emergency contraception within 5 days of unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy.
Don’t Miss: Donating Plasma While Trying To Conceive
First Response Pregnancy Test Accuracy Vs Date
Period is expected.
Test is 99% accurate
As you can see above, roughly one in four pregnant women who take this test will get a false negative when they take it six days before the day of their missed period. Five days before the day of the missed period, however, it will be accurate for 96% of women, and 99% of women will get the correct result if they take it four days or less before the day of the missed period.
In general, the accuracy of home pregnancy tests gets better the longer you wait to take them. If you take a test and it comes out negative and you still think you might be pregnant, wait three days and test again. If you test and it’s positive, you’re pregnant.
Other pregnancy tests are also very reliableâthey just can’t be used as early as First Response. Most brands of pregnancy test are accurate from the day of the missed period.
Be sure to follow the testing instructions of the pregnancy test brand that you bought very closely. Different brands have different instructions.
When Pregnancy Is Unintentional
If you had unprotected sex or a contraceptive failure and fear you could get pregnant, emergency contraception is an option. Commonly called the “morning-after pill,” medications are available over-the-counter that can prevent pregnancy if taken within five days of having unprotected sex.
The sooner you take these medications, the more effective they are in preventing an unintended pregnancy. These medications do not cause an abortion, but rather prevent a pregnancy from being established.
Recommended Reading: Why Can’t You Donate Plasma While Pregnant
Don’t Worry About The Best Positions For Getting Pregnant
Myths abound about the best positions for getting pregnant, but they are just that — myths. There is really no scientific evidence saying that the missionary position is better than the woman being on top when it comes to maximizing your chances of making a baby.
“Very rarely, a woman’s cervix is in an unusual position where certain positions can make a difference,” Goldfarb tells WebMD.
Certain gravity-defying positions, such as sitting or standing during intercourse, however, may discourage sperm from traveling upstream. “It’s a matter of gravity you don’t want all the semen to run out — and semen are quick little critters,” Hillard says.