While many women just use the pregnancy symptoms to know when they conceive, pregnancy test remains the best way to confirm if you are pregnant or not. These tests are simple, cheap and can be done right at home. So every woman should actually know how pregnancy test works.
What Is a Pregnancy Test
A pregnancy test is any test used to confirm if a woman is pregnant or not. The test can be chemical in which case the test method is based on the presence of a pregnancy hormone called Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG). The tests check if HCG is present in your urine or blood.
This hormone is produced after a fertilized egg attaches to the wall of the womb. This process is called implantation. It usually occurs six days after you conceive. It may also occur any day within the first twelve days after your have conceived. If you’re pregnant, HCG continue to rise rapidly, doubling every two to three days if you are pregnant.
Pregnancy test can also be inform of medical imaging via Ultrasound scanning. This is usually done by your doctor or a professional radiographer.
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Methods and Types of Pregnancy Test
There are three major types of pregnancy tests with one readily done at home.
- Urine pregnancy test also know as home pregnancy test.
- Blood pregnancy test
- Radiology scan or ultrasound scan.
- A more modern test is is called rosette inhibition assay, that tests for a chemical called Early pregnancy factor (EPF). This can be used as soon as two days after you conceive.
Urine Pregnancy Test:
This is the commonest way of testing for pregnancy. It makes use of a pregnancy test kit which checks for the presence of the B-sub unit of HCG in urine. The test kit is also cheap and can be gotten without a doctor’s prescription. Most women do this test even before seeing the doctor. Can be done one week after you miss your period.
How to do Urine test for Pregnancy: This is very simple because most of the test kits come with instructions. Just follow the instructions and you are good to go. Simply you just urinate into a liitle container or just hold the kit and urinate over it in read the result in minutes depending on the instruction.
The results of a home pregnancy test may show up as a line, a color, or a symbol such as a “+” or “-” sign. The modern digital tests produce the words “pregnant” or “not pregnant.” It all depends on the type of pregnancy test kit that you are using.
Blood Pregnancy Test
This test is usually done by your doctor. It is also done to check for HCG in the blood. EPF test is also a form of blood pregnancy test. Blood tests for pregnancy can detect pregnancy earlier than a home pregnancy test, or about six to eight days after ovulation.
The Blood Pregnancy Test For HCG: These tests can be qualitative test in which case you just check if B-HCG is in the blood or not. More importantly, this test can be quantitative. This measures the actual amount of the hormone in the blood. This can be very important in monitoring the progress of the pregnancy. It can also tell if the pregnancy is an ectopic pregnancy or normal pregnancy.
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How Accurate Is The Home Pregnancy Test Result
Most of the home urine pregnancy test kits have an accuracy of about 99%. So it is very accurate. To increase the accuracy of the urine HPT, do at about a week after ovulation when enough HCG might have been produced. Also the test is best done first thing in the morning. This time, your urine is more concentrated.
What determines the accuracy of the urine home Pregnancy Test: Some of the things that determine the accuracy of the test are:
- Timing of the test. It is better done one week after conception.
- The sensitivity of the pregnancy test kit itself.
- How much of the instructions you followed as prescribed by the producers of the kit. Example is reading the test exactly when it is supposed to be read and stuff like that.
Interpreting Pregnancy Test Results
The interpretation is very simple. Generally, you can either have a positive pregnancy test or a negative pregnancy test. If your test is positive, it means you are pregnant. If it is negative then you are not pregnant.
In some rare cases you can have a false positive pregnancy test or a false negative pregnancy test. By this it means that some times, you may get a positive result when you are not pregnant or get a negative result when you are actually pregnant. So seeing your doctor is important.
Causes of a False Positive test
The possible causes of getting a false positive results will include all but not only the following:
- You’re using an expired or faulty test kit.
- Use of drugs containing the hCG molecule. Some drugs like tranquilizers, anti-convulsants, or hypnotics can cause a false positive home urine test for pregnancy. Examples are chlorpromazine, phenothiazines and methadone and so on.
- Poor application of the test like doing the test the wrong way.
- If you have a hCG-secreting tumor.
- You’ve taken a fertility drug that contains hCG like those used to induce ovulation in fertility treatments.
- You had a miscarriage or a pregnancy termination in the previous eight weeks before taking the test.
- Molar pregnancy.
Causes of a False Negative Result
As already stated, a false negative test means you are pregnant but the test result says you are not. The causes of false negative urine test for pregnancy are:
- You tested too soon. You should wait till one week after ovulation/ conception and repeat the test.
- Using an expired or faulty test kit.
- You took the test the wrong way. So make sure that you follow the instructions strictly.
- If your urine is too dilute when you are taking the test. This is the urine test is better done in the morning.
- Medications too can be the cause of a false positive result. Some examples of such drugs are Diuretics and Antihistamines.
Pregnancy Test Online
Some companies and health It is important to know that you cannot do a pregnancy test online. Some companies and health facilities however offer women opportunities to pay for the test online before going to do the test proper in their facility or labs. The result might be given to you after a day or two via phone or online. These online pregnancy tests start at about $40.
The home pregnancy test cost are cheaper as the kits can cost as low as between $6 and $20. You can just do the home urine test first before going to take a pregnancy quiz in the hospital with your doctor. After this you just go ahead and consult your doctor. You can also order for the home pregnancy test kits online and have it delivered to your door step.
Pregnancy scanning or Obstetric Ultrasonography is also a form of pregnancy test. It can be done either by your doctor or a radiographer. With pregnancy scan you can see the gestational sac or baby sac as early as four and a half weeks of gestation or two and a half weeks after ovulation.
At about five weeks’ of pregnancy you can see yolk sac. The heartbeat may be seen as early as six weeks, and is usually visible by seven weeks’ gestation.
With pregnancy scan, you can know if it is twin pregnancy or singleton pregnancy. You will also know if the baby is inside the womb or outside the womb in a condition called ectopic pregnancy. It is the most perfect way of knowing your due date or expected date of delivery, EDD. Later in pregnancy, scanning helps to know if the baby is normal or its is abnormal baby or malformed baby.
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