How To Use A Pregnancy Test

Fast facts on pregnancy tests

  • Pregnancy tests work by detecting human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG).
  • Some conditions and some medications can produce false or inaccurate readings in pregnancy tests.
  • Each brand of pregnancy test works slightly differently, so it is important to read the instructions before use.
  • Used properly, pregnancy tests can be 99 percent accurate.
  • A pregnancy test functions by estimating the HCG hormone level. HCG levels increase during pregnancy.

    Because it is produced by the cells that make up the placenta and feed the developing embryo, HCG is referred to as the pregnancy hormone.

    It is released when a fertilized egg attaches itself to the lining of the uterus.

    HCG can be present in the blood and urine around 10 to 14 days after conception. It peaks between 8 and 11 weeks of gestation.

  • A negative HCG result is a level less than 5 mIU/ml (milli-international units per milliliter).
  • A positive HCG for pregnancy is greater than or equal to 25 mIU/ml.
  • Pregnancy tests involve testing urine or blood. While a blood test must be administered by a medical professional, a urine test can be self-administered at home.

    The urine is applied to a chemical strip for a home test. Although different test brands may have different turnaround times for results, the result is ready in about 1 to 2 minutes.

    The person gathers urine in a container and either dips the pregnancy test stick into it or drops a sample onto the test strip using an eyedropper.

    An alternative is to hold a pregnancy stick in the urine stream.

    It is crucial to read the package insert to learn how to interpret the results because each testing brand has its own method of providing results.

    Depending on the test, the result may appear as:

  • a change of color
  • a change in a marked line, or the appearance of a symbol, such as a plus or minus
  • an answer in a test window, for example, the words “pregnant” or “not pregnant”
  • HCG tests can be performed using blood in two different ways: quantitatively and qualitatively.

  • A quantitative blood test measures the exact amount of HCG present in the blood.
  • A qualitative test detects whether HCG is present or not.
  • It can measure HCG concentration and allows for early pregnancy detection.

    The test must be carried out in a medical office, and it is more expensive and the results may not be available right away.

    14 days after a possible conception is the earliest time for a home urine test, but waiting until a missed period will yield a more accurate result.

    Some tests on the market can be taken earlier. This depends on how sensitive they are.

    To determine the best and earliest time to take the test, it is crucial to read the package insert.

    The earliest hour of the day after waking is ideal for performing a urine pregnancy test.

    This is so that, even if the woman is pregnant, drinking a lot of liquids before the test could result in a false negative.

    Used correctly, a urine pregnancy test should be around 99 percent accurate. However, incorrect use can result in an inaccurate reading.

    A negative home pregnancy test can mean a number of things, while a positive test simply indicates that HCG is present in the urine.

    Negative results can either indicate that there is no pregnancy or that the test was conducted improperly or too early to detect HCG.

    If the outcome is favorable, the woman should schedule a consultation with a healthcare provider so they can advise her on what to do next.

    If the test is negative but the woman exhibits pregnancy symptoms, she should retest in a week or consult a doctor about a blood test.

    The conception date and subsequent due date can be estimated by some modern pregnancy tests and kits. However, this information is not always accurate.

    Some medications can affect a pregnancy test’s accuracy.

    These include:

  • Promethazine, used to treat certain allergies
  • Parkinson’s disease medication
  • Sleeping tablets
  • Some antipsychotics, including chlorpromazine
  • Opioids, for instance, methadone
  • Tranquilizers
  • Anticonvulsants, including epilepsy treatments
  • Infertility medication
  • Diuretics
  • Because it interferes with the measurement of hormone levels, alcohol in the blood does not affect the pregnancy test.

    However, anyone who is trying to or expecting to become pregnant should avoid alcohol, as it can affect fetal development. Drinking during early pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriage, premature birth, and low birth weight.

    A positive test result might occasionally occur even though the woman is not pregnant. High levels of the hormone can also be a sign of certain medical conditions.

    This could be:

  • a deficiency of immunoglobulin A (IgA), an important antibody in immune function
  • gestational trophoblastic disease, a rare, pregnancy-related tumor
  • gestational trophoblastic neoplasms, a rare uterine tumor
  • Some cancers can cause an increase in HCG. These include gastrointestinal cancers, prostate cancer, renal cancer, and transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder and urinary tract. A pregnancy test may be used to assess for these.

    Pregnancy tests are offered at pharmacies, drugstores, and a few convenience stores. Some health centers provide free home pregnancy tests, and they can be purchased for as little as a dollar.

    Where you can get a pregnancy test

    Pregnancy test kits are available from pharmacies and some supermarkets. You can take the test privately, and they can provide a quick result.

    The following places provide free pregnancy tests:

  • sexual health services
  • some young peoples services – call the national sexual health helpline on 0300 123 7123 for details
  • Brook centres for under-25s – find your nearest Brook centre
  • Your doctor might also be able to provide you with a free pregnancy test.

    Can a positive test be wrong?

    A false positive is rare, but it can happen. If you have a chemical pregnancy or miscarry soon after the fertilized egg attaches to your uterine wall, this might be the case.

    How to Take a Pregnancy Test at Home | Pregnancy Test Results Live

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