Pregnancy tests measure the level of human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (HCG) in the woman’s blood or urine. The placenta starts secreting HCG during pregnancy and the embryo produces the hormone when it becomes implanted in the uterus, approximately eight or nine days following conception. Determining whether you are pregnant or not depends on several factors:
- The amount of HCG produced;
- The type of pregnancy test used (blood or urine sample)
- The pregnancy test’s sensitivity to HCG.
- If you think you might be pregnant, you can easily use a home pregnancy test using a urine sample.
Home pregnancy tests
Home pregnancy tests use a urine sample to determine the presence and quantity of the HCG hormone. When a certain level of HCG is attained, a change in colour indicates a positive result. The greater the sensitivity to HCG, the earlier the test will be able to detect pregnancy. In general, pregnancy tests sold in drug stores can detect a pregnancy 10 to 15 days after ovulation, about the time when your period should occur. A positive test is often reliable; however, a negative result cannot entirely exclude the possibility of a pregnancy. If you try another pregnancy test a week later, the result could be positive.
Pregnancy tests at the doctor’s office
It is recommended to confirm your home pregnancy test result with an appointment with your doctor. This is also the perfect time to discuss prenatal care with your doctor. The test doses the level of beta subunit of the human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (β-hCG) in your blood, giving a more precise measurement. Abnormal levels immediately indicate that something is not quite right.