pregnancy tests, how do they work?

How do pregnancy tests work?

How do pregnancy tests work?

POV: You think you may be pregnant and need a pregnancy test. Your mind is a spinning tornado with anxious possibilities. Let me, Sonographer Haley, walk you through what to do and answer your questions so that you can be confident when taking a pregnancy test or walking alongside someone who is taking a test. 

pregnancy tests, how do they work?

Question 1: How does a pregnancy test work?

Let’s start with the basics. Both urine pregnancy tests and blood pregnancy tests are searching for the pregnancy hormone called HCG (or the fancy term human chorionic gonadotropin). The most common form of pregnancy testing is a urine test that can be done either from home or in a clinical setting.

**To confirm pregnancy and know all your options it is vital to get an ultrasounds, not merely look at higher than usual levels of HCG**

Question 2: When should I take a pregnancy test?

Depends what type of test you’re taking! If you go to the drugstore and purchase a standard urine pregnancy test it is recommended that you wait until at least the day you miss your period. The HCG hormone doubles every 2 to 3 days if you are pregnant, so you can feel more confident if you wait until you have actually missed your period because the amount of hormone present in your urine will be higher. 

Question 3: Could the pregnancy test be wrong?

As noted, at home tests check HCG level, an ultrasound is needed to ensure not just the health of the pregnancy but also YOUR HEALTH. You are a priority. An ultrasound is the only way to ensure that you are pregnant in the correct location (i.e. inside your uterus, not ectopic) and confirm viability of your pregnancy. Furthermore, the ultrasound can tell you exactly how far along you are in your pregnancy.

How common are false-negative readings? 

There are 3 simple reasons you could have a negative pregnancy test. 

  1. You might have taken the test too early. If you took the test on the first day of your missed period and your ovulation is not on a normal routine schedule you could have taken the test too early for HCG hormone to show in your urine.
  2. You could have checked the results of your pregnancy test too soon. We all get eager! Set a timer based on the instructions on the pregnancy test and walk away until your timer goes off. 
  3. You took the pregnancy test later in the day. Odd right? For the most accurate result you should take the pregnancy test first thing in the morning. Your urine is the most concentrated first thing when you wake up making the HCG levels a lot easier to read.

What are the chances that it is a false positive?

This is extremely rare. If you have received a positive pregnancy test it is about 99% confident that you are indeed pregnant. Some reasons that it could be a positive test and you are not pregnant are:

  1. A very early pregnancy loss soon after the fertilized egg attached to the uterine lining
  2. Taking a test too soon after you took fertility medicine that contains HCG
  3. Problems with your ovaries or if you are near menopause age

Simply put, if you receive a positive pregnancy test you are most likely pregnant and should schedule an appointment with an OBGYN and/or see us at BFR Medical to walk you through your options. 

A simple solution to get all of your questions answered is to give us a call! There is a group of women ready and excited to answer any and all of your pregnancy questions. We offer medical-grade pregnancy testing and ultrasounds all for free! Give us a call or shoot us a text so that we can help you through this journey!