When Should You Take a Pregnancy Test
Certain signs usually necessitate a pregnancy test. These include:
- Missed period
- Just feeling off
- Abdominal cramps
- Tender breasts
When in doubt, especially after an incident of failed contraceptive or a missed menstruation period, taking a pregnancy test is advisable.
Tests Used to Confirm Pregnancy
There are several tests that can be used to confirm if you’re expectant. These should be done several days after you miss your period to avoid getting a false negative. Tests that are ideal are:
- Home pregnancy tests
- Clinical urine test
- Blood test
Home Pregnancy Tests
Tests work by detecting the levels of the hormone hCG (Human chorionic gonadotropin) in your urine. This hormone is only found in the body when you’re pregnant. A chemical found in the stick changes color when it comes into contact with this hormone. This usually takes up to ten minutes.
Home test kits are available at your local chemist. To get sure results, it’s advisable to test using three separate kits. This rules out the chances of having a faulty kit. Ensure that you follow the instructions that come with the pack to get the correct result.
Clinical Urine Test
This is done at the hospital. It is similar to the home pregnancy kits because what the doctor is interested in is the hormone hCG in urine. The only difference is the doctor may eliminate any errors that may cause false negatives. The duration of your results may vary from doctor to doctor with some doctors, requesting that you wait up to a week.
The blood test is the final confirmation of pregnancy and is usually very accurate. Here blood is drawn and tested for hCG.
There are usually two types of blood work that are done for pregnancy. They are
- Qualitative hCG blood test– tests whether hCG is being produced and gives a yes or no answer.
- Quantitative hCG blood test-measures the level of hCG in your blood.
The level of hCG in your blood is determined by how long you have been pregnant. A high level could mean that you’re further along in your pregnancy than you think and your doctor may ask for an ultrasound.
These are usually the basic test carried out for pregnancy. If you test positive, consider starting your antenatal clinic visits immediately.
Please note that development differs from one child to another.
Content intended for educational purposes only, and not a substitute for medical advice from your doctor.
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Last reviewed March 2019