Early Pregnancy Testing:
A little piece of history – Pregnancy tests actually originated in Ancient Egypt!
In 1350 BC, women who suspected were pregnant were advised to urinate on wheat and barley seeds!
After several days; if the wheat sprouted: she was having a girl, and if the barley sprouted, a boy.
If neither sprouted, she wasn’t pregnant!
Of course in this day and age, science has given us the ability to perform a simple test to check if you are actually having a baby.
How is this done?
When you are pregnant, your body produces a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG).
This hormone is produced right after a fertilized egg attaches to the wall of a woman’s uterus.
By checking a simple HCG level, we can easily tell if a woman is pregnant.
(yes, no more wheat and barley seeds!)
What types of pregnancy testing are available?
Two main types of early pregnancy tests can tell you if you’re pregnant:
1) Urine pregnancy testing
Urine tests can be done at home or in a clinic by your doctor.
This is often the first choice for many women – ladies usually take this test about a week after they note that they have missed their period.
How accurate a home pregnancy test depends upon:
How closely you follow the instructions
How soon after pregnancy you take the test
The sensitivity of the pregnancy test
Usually, urine home pregnancy tests are about 99% accurate.
However, after a positive Urine pregnancy test, you can confirm your results by seeing your doctor, who can perform follow up tests.
2) Blood pregnancy testing
Blood pregnancy tests are done by your doctor. The blood pregnancy test checks for blood levels of HCG, and is more accurate than the urine pregnancy test.
These tests can detect pregnancy earlier than a home pregnancy test, starting from a week after you ovulate (produce egg).
However, the results are not immediate. Results usually can be obtained within the day (if done early in the morning), or by the next day.
In fact, there are two types of blood pregnancy tests available:
A qualitative hCG test
This simply checks to see if hCG is present. It gives a “yes” or “no” answer to the question of pregnancy.
A quantitative hCG test
This test measures the exact amount of hCG in your blood, down to very low levels of hCG. This test also gives you a rough gauge of how many weeks along you are.
How do I use the urine pregnancy test at home?
The best time of day to take the test is first thing in the morning when you are having your first morning pee.
Many tests instruct you to hold the stick in your urine stream and then place it on a flat surface for a certain number of minutes, although some may ask you to place the stick in a cup of your pee instead.
Read the instructions for your test carefully, and follow the instructions exactly.
Also, make sure the test has not expired, since that may affect the accuracy of its results.
What if I have one positive and one negative urine test?
Many women undergo urine pregnancy testing multiple times, in order to confirm the presence or absence of a pregnancy.
If you have performed the test more than once, and the results don’t match, visit your doctor for proper evaluation and testing.
(This article “Early Pregnancy Test: What you need to know!” is written by our guest writer Dr Mastura Shahrum)
Take care gals!
Dr. Mastura Shahrum
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