Am I Pregnant? Test

Thinking that you may be pregnant, but having to wait to take a pregnancy test can be a very stressful time in a woman’s life.

It would be so much easier if our bodies could just let us know immediately! Unfortunately, there is no alternative but to get through those anxious days of waiting.

Why Do We Have To Wait So Long?

The best way to explain this is to start with what happens after fertilization.

After fertilization, the cells start dividing forming a zygote, then becoming a morula and a blastocyst by the time it reaches the uterus. Now it is ready for implantation to occur.

This process takes about 6 to 12 days and implantation occurs around days 8, 9 or 10. Pregnancy really starts once implantation has occurred (around day 20 to 23 after your last menstrual period).

This is when the levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) will start rising. It is produced by the cells that will form the placenta.

Pregnancy tests detect the presence of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) therefore you have to wait for the levels of this hormone to rise before taking a pregnancy test. About 2 weeks after conception, the hCG should be detectable in the urine.

pregnancy testIn a non-pregnant woman the levels of hCG in the blood would be <5 mIU/ml.

After implantation, hCG levels start rising rapidly, doubling every 2 to 3 days and leveling off around week 12 of pregnancy.

How Does A Pregnancy Test Work?

There are 2 types of pregnancy tests: urine test and a blood test.

The blood test is the most sensitive pregnancy test and the most accurate as it can detect the presence of hCG earlier than the urine test and it can also measure the level of hCG. It is therefore called a quantitative test. However pregnancy blood tests are not done routinely if you suspect that you are pregnant.

A home pregnancy test kit can be bought and used at home . It simply detects the presence of hCG in the urine and is therefore called a qualitative test.

There are a variety of home pregnancy kit tests (for example: test strips, midstream and digital) so which one do you choose?

Make sure that it is FDA approved, has clear instructions, check the level at which hCG can be detected, what it costs, is it easy to use, accuracy and how early you can use it. If you decide on the test stripe one, choose the widest so as to be able to read it properly.

When is The Best Time To Take A Pregnancy Test?

The best time to get the most accurate result is to take a pregnancy test 1 week after a missed period.

The “standard’ urine pregnancy test will detect the presence of hCG in the urine if the levels exceed 20 to 40 mIU/ml.

How do you determine the sensitivity of the test? The sensitivity of a urine pregnancy test is determined by the number of mIU/ml. The lower the mIU/ml, the more sensitive the test and the earlier it can be used.

There are early detection pregnancy tests that can detect the presence of hCG if the levels exceed 10 mIU/ml. These can be used 7 to 10 days after conception (before you missed a period).

The best time of the day to take a pregnancy test is first thing in the morning as your urine will be concentrated.

If you drink a lot of fluid, you may get a false negative result due to the urine being too diluted.

What If You Have A Missed Period And A Negative Pregnancy Test?

If you are using a home pregnancy test kit, first check that you have followed the instructions correctly and that is has not passed its expiry date.

Have you taken the test using the first early morning urine sample? If you have had a lot of fluid, it may have diluted the urine.

Are you using any medication that may interfere with the results? (Check the package)

It can also be that you have tested too soon and that the hCG levels are not high enough. It would be best to wait about 3 days and then test again. If this one is still negative, then you need to discuss it with your health care provider, who will probably want to check it with a more accurate blood pregnancy test.

What Does A False Positive Pregnancy Test Mean?

In a very small percentage, a pregnancy test may be positive but you will not be pregnant. This may be  due to the presence of blood or protein in your urine or due to certain medications or fertility drugs (which contain hCG).

A Chemical Pregnancy will give a positive pregnancy test but result in an early miscarriage, usually within the first 2 to 4 weeks of pregnancy.

But, in the majority of positive urine pregnancy tests, this confirms that you are pregnant. Congratulations!

Read all about What Happens To Your Body During Pregnancy