Are tests accurate, and can we trust the results?
We had sex without a condom. What if I am pregnant? Can I trust a home pregnancy test? Breast tenderness, nausea, and missed periods often trigger the equation, “Could I be pregnant?” Couples trying to get pregnant anxiously check their fertility apps waiting for the right day to find out.
Stressing out is unnecessary. Home pregnancy tests offer a simple solution and are readily available at any pharmacy. These tests will provide you with an answer within minutes of use.
How do Pregnancy tests work?
Pregnancy tests detect the presence of a hormone called HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). Hormones are chemicals produced by the body. As soon as fertilization and implantation occur, the production of this hormone begins.
Once the production of HCG starts, the hormone levels rise quickly. HCG hormone levels increase by 66% every two days. When the levels are high enough, tests can detect the chemical in blood and urine.
Because of the predictable pattern of HCG rise, a home pregnancy test will be accurate about ten days after conception.
By the time a woman is due for her period, a pregnancy test has a high likelihood of being accurate. Home pregnancy tests are highly sensitive, allowing for early pregnancy confirmation. In other words, we can trust the test results.
Are home pregnancy tests accurate?
Home pregnancy tests are 99% accurate. They are the same tests used in a doctor’s office. Home pregnancy tests are very reliable when used correctly.
Some home pregnancy tests are more accurate than others meaning they can detect lower levels of HCG hormone. These tests allow earlier detection of pregnancy.
The best time to take a test is after a missed period. If one waits until then, any home pregnancy test will work to give an accurate result. The slight variation of various pregnancy test sensitivity no longer matters.
It is important to check the test’s expiration date. Expired tests may give inaccurate results.
Do I need a blood pregnancy test?
HCG hormone is not only secreted in urine. It is also present in the bloodstream. A blood test still detects HCG hormone, but doctors can check the hormone levels instead of a “yes or no” answer.
A blood pregnancy test is more accurate, but they also take longer and require a doctor visit. Physicians often use HCG blood testing to determine the viability of early pregnancy and to exclude the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy.
In most cases, a home urine pregnancy test is sufficient to answer the question, “Am I pregnant?”
I have my results…now what?
Assuming you have followed the package instructions and waited the recommended time, then the results are reliable.
If the test is positive, then you are pregnant. Repeating the test costs money. Start taking a daily prenatal vitamin containing Folic acid and schedule your first prenatal visit.
If the test result is negative, you are not pregnant. If you are trying to conceive, then continue the efforts. If your goal is to avoid pregnancy, consider scheduling a family planning visit to discuss the many available contraceptive options.
Blog Author: Dr. Jeff Livingston