Pregnancy tests are performed to confirm if you are pregnant or not. There are two types of tests and both look for a special hormone – human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) – that is developed in a woman’s body only when she becomes pregnant. This hormone is found in both urine and blood and either may be tested for confirming pregnancy. You should know that a pregnancy test will tell you if you are pregnant even before your early pregnancy symptoms appear.
A woman may want to test herself for pregnancy for various reasons:
- She has planned to become pregnant and has missed a period
- She does not want to become pregnant, for whatever reason, and has missed a period
- Her doctor wants to confirm her nonpregnant status before starting her on a drug that is contraindicated in pregnancy
There are some issues that can arise:
- For example, you could get a false-positive test result. Read this post to solve this problem
- You could have had a missed period with a negative result and you may or may not be pregnant. Read this post to know why this happens.
Types of pregnancy tests
There are two main types of pregnancy tests:
- urine test for pregnancy, which can be done at home, and
- blood test for pregnancy which is done in the laboratory
Both these tests work in a different manner to produce results and boast of good accuracy when used as instructed. You should also know When to take the pregnancy test because taking it too early or late can give false results.
The urine test to see if you are pregnant or not can be done at home. Since this test is done at home, it is also called the home pregnancy test.
Blood testing for pregnancy is more sensitive and elaborate and has to be performed in a laboratory.
Home or urine pregnancy test
The home pregnancy test is a convenient and easy-to-use method to test yourself for pregnancy at home if you have missed a period.
The urine pregnancy kit, which is available at most drug stores without prescription, offers explicit instructions, which you can follow and do the test yourself.
Additionally, it offers the advantage of convenience, privacy, and is inexpensive. You can then see your doctor if the test is positive for advice, or if the test is negative for a more sensitive test. Read home pregnancy test for a full note.
The urine pregnancy test gives the most accurate result in the week following your missed period and boasts of 97% accuracy.
Blood test for pregnancy
Pregnancy blood tests are done in a laboratory and not at home. A blood sample is drawn from the vein on the inner side of the elbow or it may be drawn from the back of the hand.
Blood pregnancy tests are more sensitive and can detect lower levels of the hCG hormone and pregnancy earlier than the home pregnancy urine test.
This test can give a result about a week after the ovulation day – that is even before you would know whether you will miss your period or not. Additionally, blood pregnancy tests are more accurate and boast of 99% accuracy.
This helps to satisfy the anxiety of an over-anxious mom–to–be. Read pregnancy blood test for a full note.
How do pregnancy tests work?
Urine and Blood Pregnancy tests detect pregnancy by identifying a hormone called human chronic gonadotropin (hCG), which is present in blood and secreted in urine during pregnancy. This hormone is also called the pregnancy hormone.
HCG is a glycoprotein hormone or marker, which is produced at higher levels in the body when a fertilized ovum gets implanted onto the wall of the uterus.
This happens usually 6 to 8 days after conception, which means that the ovum gets implanted onto the wall of the uterus 20 days after the last menstrual period in a woman who has a regular 28-day menstrual cycle.
This implantation takes place about six to eight days after the sperm has fertilized the ovum but it is known to happen even much later.
HCG is produced during early pregnancy by the embryo after conception and later by the placenta. Levels of hCG in the body rise rapidly doubling every 2 to 3 days as the pregnancy progresses.