What is a pregnancy test?

A pregnancy test is a test that can determine if you're pregnant by examining a specific hormone in a sample of your urine (pee) or blood. hCG stands for Human chorionic gonadotropin is the name of the hormone. High hCG levels indicate pregnancy. hCG levels rise rapidly in the first ten weeks after a fertilized egg adheres to the uterine wall.

Urine pregnancy tests:

These are most accurate when performed a week or two after missing your monthly period. If you take a urine test too soon after becoming pregnant, the test may indicate that you are not pregnant even if you are. This is because your body may not have produced enough hCG to appear in the test.
You can have an hCG urine test performed at a hospital or at home with an at-home pregnancy test kit. Because these tests are almost identical, many people utilize a home pregnancy test before calling their clinician. Home pregnancy tests are 97-99% accurate if the instructions are followed precisely. They are capable of giving the results in minutes.

Pregnancy blood tests

These tests should be performed at a hospital or a lab. These tests can detect extremely small quantities of hCG, allowing them to determine if you're pregnant before you've missed your period. However, hCG blood tests are not widely used to detect pregnancy. This is because urine tests are less costly, more accurate, and produce findings faster than blood testing. The results of an hCG blood test might take several hours to several days.

Other names

HCG test, qualitative hCG blood test, quantitative hCG blood test, Beta-hCG urine test, total chorionic gonadotropin, hCG total OB.

What is its purpose?

A pregnancy test is used to determine whether you are pregnant or not.

When to take a pregnancy test?

You may take this test when you have pregnancy symptoms and doubt whether you are pregnant or not. Pregnancy symptoms differ from person to person. Missing menstruation is the most prevalent indicator of early pregnancy. Other frequent early pregnancy symptoms include:

What happens during a pregnancy test?

In Home pregnancy tests

Home pregnancy tests are simple to do. A home pregnancy test kit is available without a prescription. The kits contain test sticks or strips that react to the presence of hCG in your urine. The processes for doing a test differ depending on the brand; therefore, it's critical to follow the directions that come with your test. For the majority of test kits, you have to follow the following steps:

  • Insert the test stick or strip into the urine stream.
  • Fill a cup halfway with pee and dip the test stick or strip into it.

You will get your results on the test stick or strip after a particular amount of minutes. Further additional information will be specified in the instructions. In general, to obtain the most reliable results from any home pregnancy test, you should:

  • Double-check the expiring date before using the test.
  • Test your early morning pee. Morning pee often contains more hCG than urine collected later in the day.
  • Make use of a timer. If you predict the timing, your findings may be wrong.

In pregnancy blood tests

Blood tests will be performed at the hospital or a laboratory. A tiny needle will be used by a healthcare expert to draw blood from a vein in your arm. Following the insertion of the needle, a small quantity of blood will be collected in a test tube or vial. When the needle goes in or out, you may feel a slight sting. This procedure is normally completed in less than 5 minutes. The sample will be sent to the laboratory for testing.

How to prepare for the test?

If you're taking a urine test, avoid drinking a lot of liquids before you give your sample. This may dilute the hCG in your urine, causing it to fail the test. Otherwise, no specific preparations are required for a pregnancy test that uses urine or blood.

Is there any risk in the test?

There are no known risks associated with getting a urine test.

During a blood test you may experience some discomfort or bruising where the needle was inserted, but most symptoms will go away soon.

Understanding results

Your findings will reveal whether or not you are pregnant.

Negative: A negative result indicates that hCG was not detected in your sample, suggesting that you are not pregnant. However, a negative test does not automatically imply that you are not pregnant. If you performed a home urine test too soon, your body might not have produced enough hCG to show up on the test.
Because hCG levels rise every day during early pregnancy, it's a good idea to repeat the test in a week. If two home tests come up negative (not pregnant), but you still believe you're pregnant, contact your provider. If a test performed by your provider yields a negative result, ask your physician if an additional test is required.

Positive: A positive result indicates that hCG was detected in your sample. This typically indicates that you are pregnant. You must see your physician as soon as possible to ensure that you receive the proper care. If you used a home pregnancy test, your physician might order another one to confirm your pregnancy.
If you're on fertility medicines, your test results may indicate that you're pregnant when you're not. Your provider can determine whether you are actually pregnant or not.

Important factors to understand about pregnancy tests?

The majority of pregnancy tests simply determine whether you have hCG in your urine or not. Certain pregnancy tests, however, also assess how much hCG you have. These tests are known as quantitative hCG testing, and they are often performed on blood samples.

The level of hCG in your body can provide significant information to your provider about your pregnancy and the health of your unborn baby. Quantitative hCG testing can help in knowing:

  • The age of the fetus in the early pregnancy stage.
  • Whether there is a high chance of miscarriage and keeping track of your pregnancy.
  • Check for the following issues:

Ectopic pregnancy

It occurs when a fertilized egg attempts to develop outside of the uterus. When an egg is in the incorrect position, it cannot develop into a baby. It must be removed to prevent organ damage. This is potentially a medical emergency.

A uterine tumor

A uterine tumor (hydatidiform mole) is an abnormal development of tissue in the uterus. It is caused by a fertilized egg that has so severe genetic defects that it cannot develop into a baby. The growth has the potential to develop into cancer and must be removed.

Unborn infant abnormalities

Unborn infant abnormalities, such as Down syndrome, other chromosomal issues, and some birth disorders (hCG testing is usually part of a group of prenatal screening tests called a "triple" or "quadruple" screen test.)

A quantitative hCG blood test may also be prescribed by your clinician to assist in identifying or monitoring health concerns unrelated to pregnancy. These illnesses include ovarian or uterine cancer, as well as other conditions that can cause a rise in hCG levels.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. When is the best time to take a pregnancy test?

Most pregnancy tests may be performed as early as the first day of a missing menstruation. If you are unsure when your next period will be, take the test at least 21 days after your last unprotected intercourse.

2. What are the symptoms of pregnancy at 1 week?

The symptoms of pregnancy at 1 week are:

  • Nausea with or without vomiting.
  • Breast changes include tenderness, swelling, or tingling feeling, or noticeable blue veins
  • Frequent urination
  • Headache
  • Bloating in the belly or gas
  • Mild pelvic cramping or discomfort without bleeding.
  • Tiredness or fatigue

3. At what time should I take the pregnancy test?

It is best to take a pregnancy test in the morning.

4. What should you avoid doing before taking a pregnancy test?

Before taking a pregnancy test, avoid drinking too much water or any other beverages.

5. What can affect a pregnancy test?

The following can affect a pregnancy test:

  • Taking the test too early.
  • Reviewing test results too early.
  • Taking the test late in the day.

6. Can a pregnancy test show a false negative?

Yes, a pregnancy test can show a false negative result.

7. How reliable are pregnancy tests?

The pregnancy tests are 99 percent accurate.

8. Can I take a pregnancy test at home?

Yes, you can take pregnancy tests at home. There are pregnancy test kits available at the pharmacy.

9. Which urine is the most suitable for a pregnancy test?

Your first morning pee will provide you the best chance of having enough hCG levels built up for a positive pregnancy test.

10. Do pregnancy tests expire?

Yes, pregnancy test kits can expire, one must check properly for the expiration date given in the kit.