Pregnancy test lets you know if you are pregnant or not, by one way or the another. Pregnancy tests are contemplated to tell if your urine or blood contains a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). This hormone is produced (after the fertilization of the egg) when the fertilized egg binds up with the wall of a woman’s uterus.
This is what exactly happens, but it is not necessary that the process is always the same, i.e., about after six days of fertilization. If you’re pregnant, levels of HCG continue to rise rapidly, doubling every two to three days, because every woman’s body reacts differently with the same course of action.
What are the types of pregnancy tests?
Usually, there are two types of pregnancy tests,
- One uses urine (home tests); and,
- The other uses blood, a quantitative blood test detects HCG earlier than a qualitative blood or urine test.
Urine tests can be done at home or at doctor’s office, usually, women decide to take the urine test first, as home pregnancy tests are easy, private and convenient.
Blood tests are done at doctor’s clinic or at hospitals, but these tests are not used majorly. These tests can detect the result of pregnancy earlier than the home pregnancy tests.
There are two types of blood tests for pregnancy a qualitative HCG test and a quantitative HCG test.
A Qualitative HCG tests only detect the presence of the HCG hormone and tells you whether you are pregnant or not. Doctors usually order this test as early as 10 days after a missed period to confirm pregnancy.
A quantitative HCG tests are very precise and accurate, these determine the exact amount of HCG present in the blood, it measures even very low concentrations of HCG which are useful in tracking pregnancy also during the miscarriage of woman when the level of HCG falls suddenly.
How does a pregnancy test work?
Sometimes After taking all the precautions, there is always a possibility of an error. After all, it just takes one sperm to fertilize the egg. To find out whether it has happened or not you can perform on the counter (OTC) pregnancy test.
There are different methods to collect your urine for the pregnancy test, the way of collecting urine purely depends on what type of test you choose to confirm your pregnancy.
- You can collect your urine in a cup and dip a testing strip into the liquid.
- You can also collect your urine in a cup or a container and use an eyedropper to place a drop of the urine sample on the pregnancy testing strip.
- Alternatively, you can hold the strip into your urine midstream.
Best to test in the morning.
It is always advised to take the pregnancy test in the morning for exact results, as the morning urine is highly concentrated and can detect the presence of the pregnancy HCG hormone precisely.
Note:- Intake of the excessive fluids before taking the pregnancy tests dilute the HCG and this can make the results hard to read.
The best factor of the OTC pregnancy test is that you can do it in the privacy of your home. You simply have to open the pregnancy test kit, read and follow the instructions carefully written on that and wait for the prescribed period of time to get the results.
Your results are displayed in one of the following ways mentioned below, after waiting for a stated period of time.
- A line on your testing strip.
- A symbol, such as plus or minus.
- A change in color
- The words “pregnant” or “not pregnant”.
When to take a pregnancy test?
It is important to keep in mind, the timing of the pregnancy test does not depend upon when you had sex. It depends on your ovulation cycles. If you don’t have 28 days ovulation cycle or have irregular cycles, here are some symptoms which indicate that you should go for a pregnancy test.
- Missed periods.
One of the most important and reliable sign of pregnancy is missed periods.
If you are pretty regular and suddenly missed your periods then you should go for a pregnancy test. It is also important to keep the track of your menstrual cycle to determine whether you are late or not for your period.
Also, it is not necessary that you are pregnant if you missed your period, periods can sometimes be skipped or delayed because of stress, poor diet, exercise and certain hormonal changes.
One of the most common pregnancy symptoms is tender and swollen breasts. As the presence of the HCG hormone releases a high amount of estrogen and progesterone, these hormones tend to bring changes in body which support the growth of the baby.
Your boobs may feel very sensitive and bigger due to the increased circulation of blood.
Your nipples might also hurt and veins appear darker under the skin.
Also, note that women experience breast discomfort during their period, so this symptom is not always an indication of pregnancy.
- Feel discomfort.
Along with sore breasts and missed periods, early periods may also cause:
- Severe cramps-
Implantation of the fertilised egg along the uterine wall of the woman, produce contraction, which feels very similar to the pain of menstrual cramps, you think your period is around but it never comes.
- Food aversions-
Suddenly you find that food you used to enjoy, are now completely repulsive to you. If you are freshly pregnant that being repelled is not uncommon, but sometimes this may be a side effect of increasing level of estrogen in your body.
- Mood swings-
A very common symptom during pregnancy, because of the various hormonal changes which affects the neurotransmitters. And as every body responds differently, some women have heightened emotions and some may get depressed or anxious at times.
- Abdominal bloating-
Hormonal changes leaves you feel bloated, which is very similar to the feeling usually women face after their periods. That’s why your clothes may feel more tight than usual near your waistline, when your uterus is quite small.
No one exactly knows what causes fatigue, but all of sudden you may feel exhausted, increasing level of the progesterone adds to your sleepiness.
Nausea also called as morning sickness.
The nausea usually starts around 6 weeks of pregnancy, but it can begin as early as 4 weeks. And not just in morning pregnancy related nausea can be a problem in morning, noon, or night.
- Frequent urination-
As soon as you get pregnant your blood flow from your kidney increases and fills your bladder more quickly than usual, which causes you to pee more often. As your blood content increases during pregnancy which leads to the processing of extra liquids ending up in the bladder.
- High basal body temperature-
Basal body temperature is the lowest body temperature attained during rest, if you have been noticed that your BBT temperature has been elevated for more than two weeks, you are probably pregnant.
What does a positive pregnancy test look like?
A line or symbol will appear only very faintly on the display screen. If this happens, you should consider it as a positive result as this indicates that the test has picked up HCG in your urine.
- Sexually active women in their reproductive years have a chance of pregnancy every month, even when using protection.
What does a negative pregnancy test look like?
A negative pregnancy test will not show any other line except the original control line, when the urine has been passed through the window. And hence the test should be discarded.
Pregnancy test kits are available at drugs stores, pharmacies and other convenience stores.
So if you take a pregnancy test after facing the symptoms mentioned and the result is positive, you should go to doctor to consult and get a follow up test.