27 Aug Everything You Need to Know About Pregnancy Tests
You may think you know all there is to know about taking a pregnancy test. I mean, how hard could it be, right? Well, what you don’t know may surprise you! Follow along below to test your knowledge.
What it tests for: Pregnancy tests (urine or blood) test for human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Human chorionic gonadotropin can be detected slightly earlier with blood tests (about 11 days after conception) than with urine tests (about 12-14 days after conception).1 It is produced by cells of the placenta after an embryo implants in the lining of the uterus.1
The levels of hCG normally double every 72 hours and reach their peak in the first 8-11 weeks of pregnancy.1 An hCG level of less than 5 mIU/mL is considered negative for pregnancy, and anything above 25 mIU/mL is considered positive for pregnancy.1
When you should take it: It is recommended to wait until the first day of your missed period.2 A missed period is one of the most obvious signs you may be pregnant. If you take a pregnancy test at the first indication of a missed period, that should be around two weeks from conception, which allows for a detectable amount of hCG.2 However, a blood pregnancy test may be able to detect a pregnancy before your missed period.
How accurate are they really? Around 97% (when used correctly).2
What’s up with false-negatives? If a test is taken too soon, before hCG levels are high enough to be detected, a false-negative may occur.2
What about false-positives? False positives are extremely rare. Although they can happen, most often false-positives are a result of certain cancers or a sign of an early miscarriage.1
Better together? When it comes to taking a pregnancy test, is it better to have emotional support or to take it alone? Well, the answer to that one totally depends on personal preference. Some women may find it comforting to rally the support of friends or family, while others may appreciate the privacy. Each person is different.
References: 1. American Pregnancy Association. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG): The Pregnancy Hormone. http://americanpregnancy.org/while-pregnant/hcg-levels/. Reviewed August 16, 2018. Last updated: August 22, 2017. 2. American Pregnancy Association. Taking a Pregnancy Test. http://americanpregnancy.org/getting-pregnant/taking-a-pregnancy-test/. Reviewed August 16, 2018. Last updated: March 14, 2017.