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How Pregnancy Tests Work

Updated on March 24, 2013

So you’ve missed a period and you wonder if you are pregnant – what is it you do first? You go pick up a home pregnancy testing kit to make sure you are and it is only after that is done and the results are positive that you go make a doctor’s appointment. Do you really think about how these test kits work or do you just take them for granted?

The pregnancy hormone

The home pregnancy test kits as well as the test kits that are used in labs test for the presence of a hormone that is referred to as the pregnancy hormone. This hormone is produced in the body from the time the egg gets implanted on the uterus wall – this is a little less than a week after conception takes place. What begins as a small amount of hormone being secreted grows in volume as your pregnancy progresses. However, it is the presence of that little bit that gets tested. The hormone is called human chronic gonadotropin or hCG and you can detect its presence in the blood as well as the urine, The home pregnancy tests test the urine while many lab tests us e the blood.

Home pregnancy tests

You need to wait till two weeks after you have missed a period to be able to test as the test kit can only detect the hormone after this period.  If you do it before this, you might get a negative result when in fact you could be pregnant simply because there is little or no hCG hormone in the urine. If your test is positive, you should see your doctor and he might want you to do a blood test to be sure. The presence of this hormone is more in the blood than it is in the urine so you could need a lab test to be absolutely positive. In fact, a blood test could tell if you are pregnant before the urine tests positive.

Pregnancy Testing – so easy

Yes, it’s so easy today. All you have to do is to pick up a pregnancy test kit from the store, come home, collect a urine sample in the cup and stick the tester in. In a very short while, the colour reading will tell you if you are pregnant or not. That’s how simple it is. The ease of having home pregnancy tests has made life so much easier for women. Whether it is a pregnancy you have been waiting for, whether it is one that is a surprise or whether it is one you don’t want, knowing early has so many advantages because you will need to plan for it.


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