Women who believe that they may be pregnant are often eager to take pregnancy tests. After all, pregnancy can be one of the most exciting times in a woman's life. Most women have received a myriad of advice from their friends, favorite magazines and women's websites about pregnancy testing. However, it can be difficult to sort out which information and advice is correct.
Pregnancy Testing Types
When choosing a pregnancy test, a woman will need to select from the two major types of tests available on the market. Choosing the right test will help to ensure that results are accurate. Women who understand their test options will be able to choose the right test given their personal situation.
Urine Pregnancy Tests:
Urine tests also measure the amount of HCG present in the body in order to determine if a woman is pregnant. Urine tests are conducted either by urinating in a sample jar or on a small sample collection stick. It is important to remember that urine becomes diluted throughout the day as a woman consumes liquids and foods. The most accurate urine pregnancy tests are available at professional laboratories or doctor's offices.
Blood Pregnancy Tests:
Blood tests have long been considered the most accurate type of pregnancy test available to women. Blood tests measure the level of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in a woman's blood stream. This is the chemical that a woman's body produces while she is pregnant. In early pregnancy, the level of the chemical doubles rapidly, allowing for accurate blood testing.
Medical professionals use both quantitative and qualitative blood tests in order to determine pregnancy. Quantitative tests measure the level of HCG present in the bloodstream and report it according to the formula described above. They can be helpful in determining a woman's due date. Qualitative tests return a simple result of pregnant or not pregnant.
At-Home Test Kits:
Many companies produce at-home pregnancy tests that measure the levels of HCG in a woman's urine. While these tests can be accurate, they are susceptible to a higher level of error than laboratory tests. Taking a test too early can also result in a false negative.
When Should I Take A Pregnancy Test?
Medical professionals advise women to wait at least until the day of their missed period to take a pregnancy test. In general, women who wait four to five days after a missed period to take a pregnancy test will receive the most accurate results. Some home pregnancy tests claim to be accurate several days before a missed period.
Medical professionals have noted that home tests can be misleading. Women who wish to gain the most accurate results should be sure to wait a few days after a missed period and should have a professional lab test conducted.
Questions About Pregnancy Testing