If you have missed your period by more than a few days and have recently had unprotected sex, then you are probably thinking about purchasing an at-home pregnancy test.
It’s especially important you confirm your pregnancy if you’re experiencing other early pregnancy symptoms such as tender breasts, frequent urination, fatigue, or nausea (sometimes confused for PMS symptoms).
How Do Pregnancy Tests Work?
A woman’s body begins to produce a hormone called human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG), which is called the “pregnancy hormone.” It is formed by cells in the placenta which will nourish the fertilized egg after it’s been implanted in the uterine wall.
This hormone is what pregnancy tests are designed to detect. Levels are detectable in a blood test as early as 6-8 days after conception and 12-14 days after conception in a urine test.
Urine pregnancy tests are the most commonly used type of pregnancy test. They have a reactive paper strip that will detect the levels of hCG. This hormone level doubles every 2-3 days, so it’s best to wait up to a week after your missed period to ensure there are enough levels of hCG so you get the most accurate reading. When used correctly, some urine tests boast up to 99% accuracy.
Blood tests are conducted at a doctor’s office and then analyzed at a laboratory. You usually get results in one day. Blood pregnancy tests can detect pregnancy earlier than urine (just 6-8 days after ovulation). Based on the levels of hCG present in the blood, they can confirm how far along the pregnancy is and they can also detect whether or not it is an ectopic pregnancy (located outside the uterus).
Confirming Your Pregnancy
Even if you’ve used an at-home pregnancy test, it’s best to schedule a lab-quality pregnancy test and ultrasounds. According to the Mayo Clinic, up to 20% of known pregnancies end in a natural miscarriage, so you can still get a positive tests for a few days if your body thinks it is still pregnant. An ultrasound will confirm the viability of the pregnancy, how far along you are, and also alert you to a possible ectopic pregnancy.
Contact us to schedule your no-cost ultrasound or pregnancy test today!