What Exactly is a Pregnancy Test?

A pregnancy test looks for a hormone that becomes activated when conception takes place. This hormone is called human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG. 

When taking any pregnancy test, hCG is either detected or not detected. When the hormone is detected, this means you are pregnant. If negative, you are not pregnant because no hCG was found. 

However, there is such a result as a “false negative.” If this occurs, it may be an indication that the pregnancy test is being taken too early and a sufficient amount of hCG has yet to build in the body, causing the test to read inaccurately.

What Types of Pregnancy Tests are There?

There are two types of pregnancy tests. One is a urine test that looks for hCG levels within a urine specimen. The other type is a blood test that looks for hCG in a small blood sample.

A Urine Pregnancy Test

A urine pregnancy test can be found and bought over the counter. These tests have specific instructions so women understand their use and results. It is important to know when the best time is to use these tests, though. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, it is recommended that a home pregnancy test be used one week after a missed period for the most accurate results. Sometimes due to testing too early or human error, these tests do not prove to be the most accurate pregnancy test. 

After a urine pregnancy test, scheduling with a provider or pregnancy care center is essential to confirm pregnancy by ultrasound and to understand your options.

A Blood Pregnancy Test

Medical professionals can perform a blood pregnancy test at a qualified medical facility. These tests take a small blood sample and identify hCG levels. 

The Cleveland Clinic states these tests actually detect the specific amount of hCG present and are marginally more sensitive to the presence of HCG than urine tests. However, since these tests are more costly, they are rarely used unless there is a need to understand more about a pregnancy. 

A blood test may be utilized to detect ectopic pregnancies, if a woman is carrying multiples, or if undergoing infertility treatments.  

Take Away

Confirming pregnancy isn’t always easy. Understanding your results is helpful with the proper support and care, so you know your options. If you want to take a free pregnancy test or discuss your results, make your appointment with us today so we can help serve you.