Pregnancy Tests

If your period is late or missed, you must be wondering if you are pregnant and might have a number of questions running in your mind. A pregnancy test can help get you some answers and provide you with peace of mind. 

Wondering what types of pregnancy tests are available? How to take one? How much will it cost? How accurate are its results? If yes, you have arrived at the right place. We will be discussing everything about pregnancy testing right here in this blog. 

Pregnancy Tests: Types, How To Take, Price, Results, and Accuracy

What Are The Types Of Pregnancy Tests Available?

There are two main types of pregnancy tests available, including blood tests and urine tests.

Blood tests

Blood tests for pregnancy are done at a doctor’s clinic and are not used as frequently as urine tests. These tests are able to detect pregnancy much earlier than home pregnancy tests, nearly 6-8 days after ovulation. However, it takes much longer to obtain pregnancy test results as compared to home pregnancy tests.

Blood pregnancy tests are of the following two types:

Qualitative hCG test: It simply checks for hCG. This test provides a “yes” or “no” answer to the question - “Are you pregnant?” Healthcare providers usually order this test to confirm pregnancy as soon as after ten days after conception. Some can spot hCG in the blood much earlier. 

Quantitative hCG test: It monitors the exact level of hCG in your blood; even very low levels of hCG can also be found with this test. A quantitative hCG test, along with other tests, can help your doctor rule out the possibility of pregnancy complications such as an ectopic pregnancy or a miscarriage. 

Urine tests

You can take this test at your home or at a doctor’s clinic. In addition to being convenient and private, home pregnancy tests are relatively quick and simple to use. It provides accurate pregnancy test results when you do it appropriately by following all the instructions of your doctor. These tests work in a similar way and require you to test your pee in any one of the following ways:

  • Pee on the test stick
  • Collect your pee in a cup and dip the test stick into it

You will need to wait for a couple of moments before discerning the pregnancy test results. To confirm your pregnancy, kindly consult your healthcare provider. He or she will perform more sensitive tests to confirm whether you are actually pregnant. 

How To Use A Home Pregnancy Test: Best Tips To Follow

It is very easy to do the home pregnancy test. Consider the following tips for obtaining precise results:

  • Buy your home pregnancy test kit from a reputed pharmacy or grocery store and check that it hasn’t expired.
  • Read the instructions carefully before using them. The guidelines may vary depending on the brand of the product you choose. Make sure to take the test exactly as per the instructions to avoid false-positive or false-negative results. 
  • You may do the urine test at any time of the day as hCG production remains the same throughout the day. 
  • If you consume plenty of water and other fluids throughout the day, you should do the urine test the first thing in the morning as the test accuracy may get affected if the urine sample is very diluted. 
  • Irrespective of whether your test result is positive or negative, you should always confirm your pregnancy results with a healthcare professional. Home pregnancy tests are highly accurate, but there are still chances for human error.

How Soon Can I Take A Pregnancy Test?

This is an important question - ‘How soon can you take a pregnancy test for accurate results?“ Well, you can take the test anytime when your period is late; that’s the time they work the best. It would be a great idea to take a pregnancy test as soon as you have missed your period or think that you might be pregnant.

The sooner you know that you are pregnant, the earlier you can consider your alternatives and do whatever possible to stay as healthy as you can. 

Various tests claim that they can detect pregnancy some days before a missed period, but in that case, the pregnancy test results are less likely to be accurate. 

Also Read: Ectopic Pregnancy: A Rare, But Life-threatening Condition

Can I Get A False Positive Or A False Negative Pregnancy Test?

Yes, you can get both false positive or false negative pregnancy test results. However, false negatives are much more common than false positives and could happen when you have taken the test too early or haven’t taken the test correctly. 

If you have taken a home pregnancy test and the result comes out to be positive, you are likely to be pregnant. Schedule an appointment with your doctor immediately and confirm your pregnancy. 

On an early pregnancy test, you can get false positive results too before further tests come back negative. In some cases, that’s because early testing identified a chemical pregnancy in which a fertilized egg never got implanted for some specific reason. 

These early miscarriages are increasingly prevalent and account for about 3 in 4 pregnancy losses. As these happen so early, most women couldn’t even realize that they have conceived. 

It’s natural to feel upset about the pregnancy loss, but knowing the chances are in your favor and you can conceive again will be highly beneficial. This is why consulting a medical professional is always recommended to get more precise pregnancy test results.

Can Any Medication Affect Pregnancy Test Results?

Most medications don’t affect your pregnancy test results. However, fertility medications containing hCG hormone are a marked exception. If you are uncertain, just talk to your doctor and determine if any of your medications can affect the pregnancy test results.

How Much Do Home Pregnancy Tests Cost?

You can buy pregnancy test kits from numerous places, including pharmacies, grocery stores, etc. These test kits are basically the same, though their prices may vary depending on the specific brand and type of home pregnancy tests. Pregnancy test price ranges between $5 and $25 and generally comes in a pack of two or three. 

Does a more expensive pregnancy test mean more accuracy? Certainly not! However, they may have some special features you might like. 

Examples of such features include a digital pregnancy test that reads “Pregnant” or “Not Pregnant” or “Yes” or “No” as compared against conventional two lines or a ”+” sign to show a positive pregnancy test. Some women love this feature, while others prefer to see whether the line is faint. 

The cost of a urine test at a doctor’s clinic may vary, and so you should ask regarding the cost before it’s done, even if you have insurance. 

How Much Do A Blood Pregnancy Test Cost?

A blood pregnancy test is relatively more expensive than the home pregnancy test. This test also measures hCG hormone but in your blood rather than urine. Your healthcare provider may order a blood pregnancy test to confirm your pregnancy or monitor the specific level of hCG in your blood. 

The blood pregnancy test is also covered by some insurance providers, but if you are paying on your own, you will need to ask the doctor about the cost of the test. In general, any lab test now costs about $49 for a quantitative hCG test. You need to pay them separately from your healthcare provider. This makes it even more costly and thus is usually reserved for those with complicated pregnancies.

How Accurate Are Pregnancy Tests?

When used correctly, pregnancy test results are very accurate. Various pregnancy tests are available on the market, which work about 99 out of 100 times. They are as accurate as the urine test that you would get at a doctor’s clinic. These tests are most accurate when you get them after you have missed your period. 

Pregnancy tests will be less accurate when you don’t use it appropriately or if it is expired. So, whenever you go to buy a home pregnancy test, please make sure to check the expiry date on the product label and read the instructions carefully.