The Accurate Method of Testing Pregnancy
Women have a number of questions around pregnancy, how it is tested, what the most accurate methods are etc. Let’s try to address some of these questions in a very simple manner.
When to Take a Pregnancy Test?
Waiting for a minimum of 1 week post a missed period might just provide the most accurate result. The results might also be much more accurate if the test is done the 1st thing in the morning, when the urine is concentrated. Urine home-pregnancy tests are around 97% accurate but the accuracy of a blood pregnancy test is much higher than this. Some women might also be tempted to try a homemade pregnancy test, but these are not reliable.
If you are several days past ovulation and suspect that you might be pregnant, you might wonder if it is better to do the urine pregnancy-test at home or go to a doctor to get a blood test done. In reality, both these tests will identify if the human chorionic gonadotropin –hCG (the pregnancy hormone), is present. This will determine whether you are actually pregnant or not. In order to decide what the best choice for you is, the factors you will have to take into consideration are- convenience, accuracy, expense, & your fertility history.
False Positive Pregnancy Test
When you take a urine test, there may be instances in which it might be a false positive pregnancy test. This means that the test result has showed up positive but you are not actually pregnant. One reason for a false positive pregnancy test result is that you have not read the urine pregnancy test in the correct manner. All manufacturers indicate on the pregnancy test packs that it has to be read after 3 minutes and not after 10 minutes.
If you have a negative test post 3-5 minutes, the test should ideally be thrown out. If it appears positive after this time frame, it will be inaccurate and should not be considered to be a positive one. There is also a possibility of false +ve urine tests occurring under these circumstances:
- If you have received shots of hCG/gonadotropins for ovulation, it is possible that the urine/ blood pregnancy test will show up positive for 2-3 weeks post the shot. But this does not indicate a pregnancy
- If you are reading the test after the evaporation line/ suggested time has gone past
- Not following the proper instructions while testing
- Chemical pregnancy- this shows up as a positive pregnancy, however, the embryo/foetus has not developed
- If you suffer from some rare medical conditions
- Certain medications can interfere with the pregnancy test results
- Defective pregnancy test
Blood Tests for Pregnancy
In the event that you test positive but are not too sure whether the results of the home pregnancy test are accurate, you should consult your doctor. Blood tests for pregnancy can be conducted at the doctor’s office and can easily detect pregnancy much earlier than the home pregnancy test, or around 6-8 days after ovulation. However, it takes much longer to get these test results, in comparison to the home pregnancy tests. There are 2 types of blood pregnancy tests:
- Qualitative hCG Test– This will only check to see whether hCG is present. It simply gives a yes/no answer to whether you are pregnant or not. Doctors generally order these tests for confirming pregnancy even as early as ten days after a period has been missed.
- Quantitative hCG Test/ beta hCG- This typically measures the exact quantity of hCG that exists in your blood and can find even extremely low levels of hCG. These tests are useful in tracking problems (if any) during pregnancy.
Glucose Test Pregnancy
A glucose screening test during pregnancy checks the blood glucose level of the pregnant woman. It is generally used in the diagnosis of gestational diabetes. Women who are low risk as far as diabetes is concerned, might not have this screening test.
Thus there are a number of tests that a woman can choose from to test for pregnancy. Understanding how these work and more importantly, how to use then in the right manner is what their accuracy will largely depend on.