Pregnancy Testing: How do I know if I’m Pregnant?
If you suspect you are pregnant, one of the best ways to determine a pregnancy is through a pregnancy test, either an at-home test or in a doctor’s office or at a pregnancy center.
There are two types of pregnancy tests, one tests the blood and one tests the urine for a chemical commonly referred to as hCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin (kohr-ee-ON-ihk goh-NAD-uh_TROH-puhn).
This is sometimes called the pregnancy hormone. Home pregnancy tests detect the HCG in urine, while a blood test needs to be performed in a doctor’s office.
Home pregnancy tests are one of the most common ways women use to confirm their pregnancy. At-home tests are quite reliable if done correctly and at the correct time. These tests may be purchased online and in most drugstores or grocery stores.
Costs can vary from $7 to $15 and up, based on the brand and quantity of tests in one box. Most of the tests works in the same way though, either by holding a test stick in the urine stream or dipping the test stick in a cup of urine. There is then a brief time period to wait for the test result to show in the “result window”
If the test gives you a negative result, you may want to wait a few days and test again because one negative result may not mean you truly are not pregnant. If the test gives you a positive result, you may want to schedule a doctor’s appointment to confirm the pregnancy.
Blood tests performed in a doctor’s office can pick up hCG levels much earlier in a pregnancy, as early as six to eight days after ovulation (release of an egg from an ovary)..
Testing at a pregnancy clinic has two advantages: tests are free and they have staff who will gladly talk with you about your next steps. If a positive pregnancy test will be something you did not want to find out—having staff to meet with you and talk with you about your options can be very helpful. You can locate a pregnancy center Help Near You.
Remember that each person’s situation is unique and items such as brand of home pregnancy test, as well as when and how you use the test can alter the results you receive. Be sure to check the expiration date and instructions carefully as brands can vary from one to another.
Also, the earlier you take a home pregnancy test the more difficult it may be to detect the levels of hCG. If you can wait until about one week after your missed period, most tests will pick up the hCG.
If a home pregnancy test gives you a positive pregnancy result, call a doctor right away. Your doctor will confirm the pregnancy through testing blood and/or urine, as well as perform a pelvic exam.
If a home pregnancy test gives you a negative pregnancy result, you may still be pregnant; if you do not start your menstrual cycle, wait a few days and test again or call your doctor for another test.
Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health