How Do Pregnancy Tests Work?


Before (or even after) you take a pregnancy test, you may be wondering how they even work. There are two types of pregnancy tests: urine tests (like your over-the-counter/at-home tests) or blood tests (done at a doctor's office). Both tests detect the presence of the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone in your urine or blood. The hCG hormone is produced after the fertilized egg implants into the uterine wall, which is why it is often called the "pregnancy hormone."

Once pregnant, the hCG hormone rises very quickly, even doubling every few days. Implantation typically happens about six days after fertilization, but in some women, implantation won't happen until the  first day of your missed period. This is why it is generally recommended to wait until after your missed period to take an at-home pregnancy test: The test has a better chance of detecting the hCG hormone. If you think you are pregnant but get a negative result from a pregnancy test, you can wait about a week to take another one, or you can schedule an appointment at Birth Choice to get a free medical-grade pregnancy test.

The blood pregnancy test is used at some doctor's offices if the test needs to be done very early. There are two types of blood tests, one of which simply detects the presence of the hCG hormone (similar to a urine test, but with the ability to detect the hormone earlier on), the other of which can actually measure the amount of hCG in the body. Doctors will often order this second type of blood test if the pregnancy is high-risk.

Is my at-home pregnancy test accurate?

At-home pregnancy tests are around 97% accurate, though  there is room for error based on a number of factors such as: 

  • How carefully you follow instructions (how long you hold the stick in your urine stream or how long you leave the test before looking at results, for example)
  • The expiration date (Tip: Always check the expiration date on a pregnancy test before using it!)
  • Whether implantation has occurred yet

If you doubt the accuracy of your at-home pregnancy test, schedule an appointment for a free pregnancy test with Birth Choice. We use medical-grade urine pregnancy tests, and the  results are confirmed by a Registered Nurse (RN). We also offer free counseling. Being pregnant is a big life-change, and we want to make sure you feel comfortable and confident moving forward. You can schedule an appointment through our website or by calling 214-631-2402. 

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Sunday, 05 December 2021