How Do Pregnancy Tests Work?

Every test in life causes angst, but for women, a pregnancy test could change a lot of things. If you’ve missed a period or are experiencing symptoms, a home test could verify that you are pregnant. But before you make a decision about your future, you should know how pregnancy tests work.    At Alternatives Medical Clinic, our licensed medical professionals welcome your questions and provide free pregnancy testing   What is a home pregnancy test?  A home pregnancy test detects the presence of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in your urine. About 8 days after conception (when a sperm fertilizes an egg), the embryo begins to produce HCG before implantation into the uterus. HCG sustains the pregnancy and can be detected in a woman’s urine with the home pregnancy test. During the first few weeks of pregnancy, HCG doubles almost every day.    How accurate are home pregnancy tests? Every home pregnancy test works differently, so women should read and follow the instructions that come with the test. When used correctly, home pregnancy tests can be up to 99% accurate.    Women should follow home pregnancy test instructions. If taken too early, used improperly, or read wrong, the test could lead to a false negative. False negative tests are rare but can happen. After a negative home test, many women wait a few days and then take another test.    False positive pregnancy tests are rare, but could occur in women taking fertility drugs,  in postmenopausal women, and in the presence of some rare diseases.    Does the type of pregnancy test matter? Home pregnancy tests are available over the counter (without a prescription). Some women find that digital tests are easier to read, but when used correctly, all home pregnancy tests are up to 99% accurate. At Alternatives Medical Clinic, our medical professionals use lab grade urine pregnancy tests.    How early can I take a home pregnancy test?  Although HCG can be detected near the time of  implantation (10 days after conception), most home tests are more reliable to detectHCG until about 14 days after conception. So, most tests recommend that a woman waits until she has missed a period (14 days after conception) before taking a test. If taken too soon, a home test could be falsely negative.    When should I take a pregnancy test if my period is irregular? A variety of factors could cause an irregular period. Irregular cycles occur less than every 21 days, more than every 35 days, or vary in length. So women with irregular periods should take a pregnancy test two weeks after sex and speak with a healthcare provider about the possibility of pregnancy.    Can a urine pregnancy test tell me how far along I am in my pregnancy? Most urine pregnancy tests simply show the presence of HCG in urine, but not the amount of HCG. A faint positive could indicate an early pregnancy, but it could also be because of dilute urine. Some new home urine pregnancy tests show a possible gestational age (how far along you are in your pregnancy). However, ultrasounds provide the most accurate measurement of gestational age.    Can you have a positive pregnancy test after a miscarriage? Depending on how far along a woman was in her pregnancy, a woman could have a positive pregnancy test for a few weeks to a couple of months after a miscarriage. After a miscarriage, a woman should speak with a healthcare provider about her next steps. Alternatives does not offer post-miscarriage medical care. Speak with your own OB/GYN or seek emergent medical care if you believe you are having or had a recent miscarriage.    What should I do if I get a positive and a negative result?  If you’ve missed your period and taken pregnancy tests that gave you both positive and negative results, you could wait a few more days before taking additional tests. But you should also speak with a healthcare provider.    What time of day should I take a home pregnancy test?  Take a pregnancy test in the morning, when HCG is usually most concentrated in your urine. But, most pregnancy tests can detect HCG in your urine, no matter the time of day.    When should I get a blood pregnancy test?  In a clinical setting, blood tests detect the presence and the amount of HCG in blood. In special circumstances, healthcare providers use blood tests to verify pregnancy and to determine the gestational age of a pregnancy. Sometimes HCG blood tests may be drawn over a few days to monitor the progression of pregnancy and evaluate for complications. Most often, urine pregnancy tests suffice for women and they do not need to spend the money or the time obtaining a blood HCG test.    Can I get an abortion after a positive pregnancy test?  Although a positive pregnancy test detects HCG in your urine, the test does not tell you how far along you are in your pregnancy and whether the pregnancy is viable. You’ll want to know those things before deciding whether abortion is an option for you. At Alternatives Medical Clinic, our licensed/certified medical staff offer free ultrasounds to evaluate the gestational age (how far along you are), verify the presence of a heart rate,  and to rule out an ectopic pregnancy. Every ultrasound is reviewed and finalized by one of our physicians.   What should I do after a positive pregnancy test?  The first few moments after a positive pregnancy test can cause a lot of emotions. Some women experience anger or sadness. Others feel nervous but happy. And others feel numb. Allow yourself to feel the emotions. Then, take the next right step and know your options for your unplanned pregnancy.    At Alternatives Medical Clinic, our team wants to empower you to make the right decision for your life, your body, and your future. Our medical professionals will provide free pregnancy testing and verify the viability of your pregnancy. Request an appointment online or call us today at 760-741-9796!    **Alternatives Medical Clinic does not have blood pregnancy tests. Also, Alternatives Medical Clinic does not provide nor refer for abortions.**   References: (digital tests) (biological differences)   
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