Waiting to find out if pregnancy has taken place can be a very stressful time…

For more than one reasons waiting to find out if pregnancy has taken place can be a very stressful time for a woman. Whether it is a case of planned or unplanned pregnancy, this can bring about many emotions, most of all fear, anxiety and excitement. The sooner you find out if you are pregnant, the better it is so you can start making the right decision for you and the baby. Today we are thankful that the wait to find out does not have to be long as a pregnancy test is easily accessible.

Importance of Pregnancy Hormone

Simply, the pregnancy test is used to determine if a woman is pregnant. Like many other tests, the pregnancy test seeks to find out if there is a certain substance present in the body. It tells if the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is present in the blood and urine.  As soon as the egg of the woman is fertilized and conception takes place, the egg attaches to the wall of the uterus and the body begins to produce the hormone. hCG is essential as it helps to maintain the pregnancy. hCG can be found in the blood but also passes into the urine. It can be detected as early as 6 days after conception takes place and the amount rapidly increases after this. hCG hormone increases and peaks at about 14 weeks. The levels however gradually decrease up to birth and the hormone is totally removed after.

Types of Pregnancy Tests

Home Pregnancy Tests – There are two types of pregnancy tests – a urine test and a blood test. The urine test is the simplest of them. Test kits are sold in the drugstore and you can test yourself in the privacy of your home. In doing so however, you must follow all the instructions that are in the package. If you are not so confident, you may go to a health care provider or to your doctor and let a professional do it for you. The result will either be positive, a confirmation that you are pregnant, or negative an indication that you are not pregnant.

Blood Tests – This is not a popular method today and is done by a referral from your doctor. With this test however, you can know the results earlier than with the home pregnancy test, that is, as early as 6 – 8 days after ovulation. The disadvantage with the blood test is that it takes a much longer time to get back results. Two types of blood tests that can determine if you are pregnant. A qualitative blood test determines if hCG is present. This test gives a “yes” or “no” answer to whether pregnancy has taken place. A quantitative test on the other hand tells the amount of HCG that is present in the blood. Because this test can find even small amounts of hormone in the blood, it makes it possible to determine pregnancy at an early stage.

Meaning of Pregnancy Test Results

The pregnancy test relies on the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone. Therefore the result is whether you are pregnant or not. The home pregnancy test gives a positive indication which means pregnancy has occurred, or a negative result meaning there is no pregnancy. If you have received a positive result you should visit your doctor to confirm that you are pregnant. On the other hand, the test could return a negative result which means that you are not likely to be pregnant. However, as indicated by the Planned Parenthood Federation the result could mean that you have taken the test too early. The suggestion is to wait a few more days until after the missed period and take another test.

There are instances of tests giving false positive results. The human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone is also present in drugs used to treat infertility and can give a false positive result. hCG hormone can also be present because of a hCG secreting tumor. You can get a false positive reading also if you are using a defective pregnancy test .   On the other hand, a false negative result can arise in some women because hCG may not be present in sufficient amounts and the test not sensitive enough to detect the hormone.

Pregnancy Test Accuracy

Pregnancy tests manufacturers often claim that their tests have 99% accuracy, oftentimes indicating that you can get results as soon as you miss your period or earlier. However, research has shown that there are some tests that are not sensitive enough to detect hCG so soon. Part of the reason also is that the amount of hCG in the urine before or at the time of the period varies in different women. It therefore is best to wait a few days to a week after the period to take the test.

How to Take a Home Pregnancy Test

Pregnancy test kits can be had at your local pharmacy. It is important that the tester is not expired or deteriorated because it was not stored properly. If this happens you may not get a result or the reading may be faulty. The test kit comes as a test strip or dipstick. Some kits require you to urinate in a cup and then use a dropper to place some in the testing groove of the tester. Others may just instruct you to pee directly on the tester while you may do both with another brand.

The display of test strips can vary also. Some brands show pink or blue lines in a result window. Other brands carry a plus or minus sign. In a positive result the colors of the lines become bright. There are now digital kits that give you a reading in words to say whether you are pregnant or not. Results may take up to ten minutes to show; some just in three minutes. If a test shows faintly positive or negative, the test could be faulty or you may have done it too early. Wait a few days more and redo the test if you still miss your period. A positive result from a home pregnancy test should always be backed up by a confirmation from your doctor. This way you can start the necessary care for you and the  baby.