Pregnancy tests: All you need to know

A pregnancy  test can confirm if a woman is pregnant. The test can be carried out at home or in the doctor’s office.

A pregnancy test is around 99 percent reliable.

It works by measuring levels of a hormone called Human Chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). HCG can be present in the blood and urine approximately 10 to 14 days after conception.

If a woman misses a period or other signs suggest she may be pregnant, it is a good idea to take a test.

A woman should know as early as she can if she is pregnant, as she will probably need to monitor her health more carefully, and she may need to make some lifestyle changes.

17-pregHow does a pregnancy test work?

A pregnancy test works by measuring the amount of HCG hormone. HCG levels increase during pregnancy.

HCG is known as the pregnancy hormone, because it is produced by the cells that form the placenta and provide nourishment to the growing embryo.

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

When can I take a test?

The earliest time for taking a home urine test is 14 days after possible conception, but waiting until a missed period will give a more reliable result.

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

It is important to read the package insert to know the best and earliest time to take the test.

The best time of day to take a urine pregnancy test is first thing in the morning, after waking.

This is because consuming a lot of liquids before taking the test, can lead to a false negative, even if the woman is pregnant.

What do I do with the result?

The pregnancy test indicates HCG levels, which be a sign of some cancers such as prostate cancer. The test can be used for both men and women to confirm any suspicions of such cancers.

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

A positive home pregnancy test simply means that HCG is present in the urine, while a negative test can have a variety of meanings.

If the result is positive, the woman should make an appointment to see a healthcare professional, who can guide her about the next steps.

Negative tests can mean that there is no pregnancy, or they can mean that the test was either taken too early to detect HCG, or that it was not done correctly.

If the result is negative, but the woman has the signs and symptoms of pregnancy, she should test again after 1 week or ask a doctor about a blood test instead.

 

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