How Do Pregnancy Tests Work?

Pregnancy tests work by detecting the presence of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in either urine or blood.

You can take a urine test at home or in a clinical setting. Quick and simple, this involves placing the test in a urine stream or dipping it into a urine sample. These tests give a result in minutes, but they don’t provide any specifics about the levels of hCG.

A blood test performed by a healthcare provider can take longer to deliver results but will also report the amount of hCG. This test is usually only performed in certain cases, such as during fertility treatments or when a healthcare provider thinks there could be an issue (miscarriage).

When Should You Take a Pregnancy Test?

During pregnancy, a placenta will form and begin producing hCG. This hormone can be detectable about 10-11 days after conception. It takes time for this hormone to reach detectable levels for a pregnancy test to return a positive result.

Usually, waiting to test until a day or two after your missed period will ensure you receive an accurate result. However, if you received a negative result at that time, and you still think you could be pregnant, try taking another one week later.

Ovulation can vary from month to month, and implantation can occur at different times. Some of these factors can lead to hCG taking more time to build up.

Irregular periods can also lead you to miscalculate your missed period date. Try testing a week after a negative result, or contact a healthcare provider for more insights into your delayed period.

Can Pregnancy Tests Deliver False Results?

While false negatives can happen due to pregnancy test timing or human error, false positives are rare.

There are a few reasons why you could have a false-positive pregnancy test result. These include having an early pregnancy loss, taking fertility medicine that contains hCG, or having issues with your ovaries or menopause.

Find Out More Details

After a positive pregnancy test, your next step is to schedule an ultrasound. This scan will provide more details on your pregnancy, such as how long you have been pregnant, whether your pregnancy is progressing, and where your pregnancy has implanted.

The results of your ultrasound will help you learn your pregnancy options and detect and treat early complications like miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy.

Schedule a free and confidential appointment with Relevant Options for a pregnancy test today, and talk with us about ultrasound scans. We’re here to be a helpful resource for you.

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