Experts Share Their Pregnancy Test Advice
Waiting for the results from a pregnancy test can seem like hours. You risk an incorrect result if you test too soon. These guidelines will help you ensure accuracy of your test. For example, you need to know where you are in the menstrual cycle and when you last ovulated.
This article will explain everything about pregnancy tests. It will also tell you when and how to use them.
Pregnancy tests detect the presence of human chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG), also known as “the pregnant hormone.” It is produced from the placenta which connects the mother and the fetus. Once it is implanted along the uterine walls, HCG begins to form and protect eggs. This signals that pregnancy has begun. HCG levels start out low but then increase as the pregnancy progresses.
HCG levels rise, often increasing by as much as three times per day until they reach their peak in the first eight to eleven weeks of pregnancy. They can be detected with blood tests (conducted at a doctor’s office) or urine tests (most commonly taken at home).
There are three types at home tests: the strip, midstream and cassette. You will need to urinate in a cup and then place the test strip into your urine. Cassette tests are performed by urinating into a cup, then placing drops of urine onto the test stick. Midstream tests, on the other hand, require that you urinate directly onto a test stick.
To indicate a positive result, your HCG levels should be at least 25 milliInternational units per millimetre (mL). This is usually within three to five weeks of your last period. These HCG levels can be detected by home pregnancy tests. Depending on which test you choose, lines may appear or “Pregnant” will indicate a positive result.
Kelly Culwell M.D., also known professionally as Dr. Lady Doctor–a board certified OB-GYN, and a former medical officer at the World Health Organization in Geneva. A blood test can detect HCG levels above 2 (mIU) so a blood test may be positive before a urine testing is.
A typical urine test will give positive results between 20 and 25 mIU. However, this depends on the concentration of your urine. The less dilute the urine, the higher the HCG concentration. Because urine is more concentrated in morning, it is more likely that a test performed in this time period will produce positive results than one done later in the day. However, most urine tests are positive within one to two days of missing periods.
Wait until your first missed period to schedule a pregnancy test. HCG can only be detected once the egg is implanted.
Dr. Culwell says that pregnancy tests detect the hormone released after implantation. This usually happens about two weeks after the egg meets the sperm. This usually means that HCG can often be detected in women who have regular periods.
This assumes that you have a regular period that can easily be tracked and predicted. You may instead choose to track ovulation. This is when the egg is released into the uterus and can be fertilized. An at-home ovulation predictor kit can help you track fertilization.
This method should be used. It is best to have a pregnancy test within 14 days of a documented ovulation, says Zaher Merhi M.D., an OB/GYN, reproductive endocrinologist, and founder of Rejuvenating Fertility Center, which has locations in New York City and Connecticut.
Signs that you should take a pregnancy test
Missing periods are the biggest sign that it is time to have a pregnancy test. However, it is not the only indicator. Dr. Merhi says there are other signs that may indicate it is time to have a pregnancy test.
- You have missed a period
- Breast fullness/soreness
- Frequent urination
- Bloating in the abdomen
What is the best time to take a pregnancy test?
A pregnancy test can be taken at any hour of the day. Dr. Culwell says that if you are unsure if you have a pregnancy, it is best to take the test in the morning, when your urine is concentrated, so the HCG hormone can be detected more quickly.
Dr. Culwell says that the best time to test is after your period has ended. If the HCG levels are too low, this will reduce the chance of you missing an early pregnancy.
Where to Buy a Pregnancy Test
A pregnancy test can be purchased at most grocery and drug stores or online.
What is the earliest time you can take a pregnancy test?
The FDA regulates at-home pregnancy tests. This means that accuracy and labeling are checked before they go on sale. Research shows that inaccurate results are rare if the test has been used according to instructions. False-positive pregnancy tests are rare, but it is more common to receive an incorrect result. This is a sign that you are testing too early before HCG can detect it.
Dr. Merhi says that most women with a regular period can have a pregnancy test taken on the day they expect to be having it. “The earliest time to test would be on the day that is expected to occur. However, I advise patients to wait at most a few days or one week after the expected date of the period to reduce the chance of getting a false result.
It is important to note that accuracy claims for at-home pregnancy tests, which often advertise a rate of 99% within the expected time frame, are based on data collected in a sterile laboratory environment. You can wait to test again or visit your doctor to get a blood test. This test can detect HCG sooner than at-home tests, and has a 99 percent accuracy rate.
What are the Accuracy of At-Home Pregnancy Tests
A home pregnancy test can be as accurate as 99%  if it is used in accordance with the instructions. A positive home pregnancy test result should be referred to your doctor. This will confirm that you are indeed pregnant and give you the next steps.
What is the best time to have a pregnancies blood test?
Another way to confirm pregnancy is with a blood test.
Dr. Merhi says that a blood test can detect pregnancy sooner than an at-home urine testing. A blood test could detect pregnancy as early as eight days after ovulation.
If you have a positive pregnancy test at home, your doctor may order an in-office test to confirm HCG. These and other blood tests can provide additional information about you and your pregnancy.
Dr. Culwell says that blood tests can also be used to determine if there are any complications. For example, if you have a risk of ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy implanting outside the uterus), miscarriage, or an abnormally developing pregnancy. They can determine if your pregnancy hormone levels have decreased or progressed normally.
HCG can be retained in your body for up to two weeks after a miscarriage. Additional tests in the following weeks can result in a false positive, according to Dr. Merhi.
What is the average time it takes to perform a pregnancy blood test?
Sometimes, a pregnancy blood test may take a few hours to get results. To get a result, a tube of blood is drawn.
How accurate are pregnancy blood tests?
A blood test to determine pregnancy can be as accurate as 99% because it detects less hCG than a pregnancy test .