The 411 on the pregnancy test
As the term suggests, the primary purpose of a pregnancy test is to determine whether or not a woman is carrying a baby. A pregnancy test works in such a manner that either the blood or the urine of a woman is examined in order to single out specific markers that would otherwise indicate that you are indeed pregnant.
History of the pregnancy test
Interestingly enough, the beginnings of the pregnancy test can actually be traced back all the way to almost 100 years ago. In 1930, the human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG was discovered. In layman’s terms, hCG cannot exist without the specific cells that are found in a fertilized ova or ovum. In other words, one would have to be pregnant for hCG to be present in her body.
Interesting facts about the pregnancy test
While the pregnancy test can be described as fairly reliable, it is absolutely crucial to note that hCG can only be detected once the embryo has been implanted in the womb. Having said that, it is not always the case that a “negative result” on a pregnancy test is 100 percent certain. This is particularly true in the very early days of pregnancy.
The best time to take a pregnancy test
It is highly ideal to take a pregnancy test immediately right on the day that you realize that you have missed your period. All you need to do is to produce a sample of urine. To be more specific, a reliable day to take a pregnancy test would be about 14 days or two weeks after you have had sexual relations.
There are some pregnancy tests that are extremely sensitive. In this case, they can detect pregnancy as early as eight days after you have conceived. There is no specific time of day that a pregnancy test needs to be taken, although some recommend taking the test first thing in the morning so that the concentration of your urine is more potent and therefore less prone to errors, with regard to results. All you need to do is go about collecting your urine and placing it in a clean container.
Different types of pregnancy test that are available on the market
With regard to the different types of pregnancy test that you can choose from out there, these can be divided into two categories: the urine pregnancy test and the blood pregnancy test.
For the urine pregnancy test, you can either choose to do this at a doctor’s office or from the comfort of your own home. Because of the benefits of privacy and convenience, it is the preference of most women to conduct a pregnancy test in their own homes.
Should you choose to go this route, the pregnancy test will come with detailed instructions. Be sure to follow them as closely as possible to ensure that a result is as accurate as possible. Should you receive a “positive” result, it is highly recommended that you visit a doctor as soon as possible to confirm the findings. One popular example of the urine test is the first response pregnancy test.
On the other hand, there is the pregnancy test that requires the drawing of blood. These are conducted at a physician’s office as opposed to a homemade pregnancy test but it is not performed very often as it is expensive. The advantage of going through this type of pregnancy test is that detection can be done earlier in comparison to urine tests. Once you have ovulated, a blood test can confirm that you are pregnant after a period of only six to eight days. However, the drawback as compared to a urine test is that it takes longer for results to be processed.
Two types of blood test
Qualitative hCG test — Essentially, what this test is detect the presence of hCG in your blood. As touched on earlier, if the answer is yes, then you are definitely pregnant. Conversely, without the presence of hCG in your blood, then there is no pregnancy.
Quantitative hCG test — Quantitative hCG tests tell you precisely how much hCG is present in your blood. The amazing thing about this test is that even when the levels of hCG present in your blood stream are very low, it can still help you track any potential problems. Quantitative hCG tests, alongside other types of tests, are useful for ruling out possible ectopic pregnancies.
Accuracy of the pregnancy test
With regard to accuracy rate, urine tests have an accuracy rate of about 97 percent. The rate is even higher for the blood pregnancy test. All in all, the accuracy of a pregnancy test is contingent on the following factors:
- Your compliance to the instructions
- Your ovulation cycle and the timing of the implantation thereafter
- When you take the test after conception
- How sensitive the test is