How Does a Pregnancy Test Work?

How Does a Pregnancy Test Work?

298128593 | © Rido |

How Do I Test Whether I Am Pregnant or Not?

Your period is overdue and you notice symptoms of pregnancy or maybe you are simply wondering whether you could be pregnant… A generic pregnancy test can provide some certainty while you remain in the privacy of your own home. This article tells you how a home pregnancy test works and what to look out for.

      You may like:

      Am I Pregnant? — The Home Pregnancy Test

      All store-bought pregnancy tests are urine based tests and can be taken at home. In order to test whether you are pregnant or not, the test stick is held into the stream of urine or dipped into a urine-filled cup. The test result will appear within minutes.

      Even though individual brands may have slight variations, all tests work by detecting the pregnancy hormone ß-hCG (colloquially: hCG) in your urine.

      How Do I Read a Pregnancy Test?

      The display on the pregnancy test stick will vary, depending on the brand. Most tests indicate the result through lines:

      • One line means you are pregnant.
      • No line means you are not pregnant.

      Sometimes pregnancy tests have a control window beside the test window:

      • A line appears in the control window to indicate that the test is working properly. If only the control line is visible, this means:
        The test worked - not pregnant.
      • If two lines are visible, one in each window, this means:
        The test worked - pregnant.
      • If no line appears in the control window, the test is either defective or was not performed correctly. The display in the result window is therefore irrelevant.

      Words may appear on digital tests, such as, "not pregnant.”

      In order to determine the meaning of each marker in your particular test, read the package insert. Some pregnancy tests indicate the approximate week of pregnancy. This result is based on the concentration of the pregnancy hormone ß-hCG, which increases week by week.

      How Reliable Is the Result?

      A reliable result is only achievable if the test is working properly and implantation of the fertilized egg has already taken place, i.e., about five to six days after fertilization. Only then can the pregnancy hormone ß-hCG be detected.

      Taking a pregnancy test too soon may falsify the result.

      When Is the Best Time to Take a Pregnancy Test?

      a) How Soon Can a Pregnancy Be Detected?

      Even though the production of pregnancy hormones begins with implantation, the amount is often too small to detect in the early days of pregnancy. Most pregnancy tests provide a reliable result after the first day of your missed period.

      For a more reliable result, wait at least 14 days after sexual intercourse, since your period may be delayed for other reasons.

      b) What Is the Earliest Test Possible?

      Early result pregnancy tests are made for women who want to know as soon as possible. They work just like all the other urine tests, but are more sensitive, reacting to minute amounts of pregnancy hormones in the urine.

      Many early pregnancy tests already respond a few days before one’s period is due (for more details, please refer to the package insert).

      c) What Is the Best Time of Day to Take the Test?

      For best results, take the pregnancy test first thing in the morning, when the concentration of ß-hCG in the urine is highest. Of course, this does not apply to women who work night shifts. Test after a prolonged period of sleep.

      Where Can I Get a Pregnancy Test?

      Every pharmacy or drugstore, as well as many convenience stores, carry home pregnancy tests. Your doctor can also supply you with a test, but may want to administer it in the office.

      If you want to avoid being recognized as you purchase a pregnancy test, you can simply order one online.

      Pregnancy Blood Tests at the Doctor’s Office

      In cases of uncertainty, your physician may order a blood test. Like in the urine test, the presence of the pregnancy hormone ß-hCG is determined. ß-hCG levels in the blood increase earlier than in the urine, making an accurate result possible only nine days post fertilization.

      If you are unsure whether your home pregnancy test result was accurate, or if you are feeling anxious, because you are suspecting a pregnancy, ask your doctor whether a blood test might be right for you.

      What is the Pregnancy Hormone ß-hCG?

      The abbreviation ß-hCG stands for human chorionic gonadotropin. This hormone begins to be released in the body of a pregnant woman after implantation of the fertilized egg in the uterus.

      This pregnancy hormone produces the hormone progesterone, which is responsible for preparing the uterus for pregnancy.

      Within days of implantation, ß-hCG can be detected in the blood and, to a lesser extent, in the urine. Pregnancy tests contain small absorbent test strips containing ß-hCG antibodies. These react as soon as they come into contact with ß-hCG in the urine.

      The display will show whether you are pregnant or not.

      Positive Pregnancy Test? Or Too Anxious to Test?

      Perhaps you do not feel ready to take a home pregnancy test, either because it is too early to know, or you just don’t want to deal with it yet. Try our free Online Pregnancy Test! You can take it on your device at any time of day and will receive an immediate result.

      If your test was positive, you are probably wondering what to do next. Make an appointment with your gynecologist as soon as possible.

      A positive pregnancy test can give rise to a mixed bag of emotions, especially if the pregnancy was unintended. You may feel panic, dread, or disbelief. You may be wondering what steps to take.

      You are not alone! Allow us to walk alongside you, by providing you with a judgement-free environment in which you can find the path that is just right for you.

      You may also like:

      Did you find the information in this article helpful?