Whether you are trying to conceive or concerned about an unplanned pregnancy, a pregnancy test is an important tool. Designed to detect the presence of early pregnancy signs such as (HCG) in a woman’s blood or urine, which your body has produced in response to a fertilised egg attaching itself to the wall of your uterus, and congratulations are in order. This process usually takes place around six days post fertilisation. So how do pregnancy tests work? Are they reliable? And what are the different types of pregnancy tests available? From trusted and respected brands such as Clearblue, First Response, Midstream and Core our range offers up to 99% accuracy and features a pregnancy test that can boast a sensitivity of confirming your pregnancy as soon as 6-15 days post conception.
How Do Pregnancy Tests Work?
Home pregnancy tests work by detecting early pregnancy signs such as the presence of HCG in your urine, which your body has started to release shortly after conception. The pregnancy sticks or cups that are used when you test contain antibodies coated with a chemical that bonds to HCG if it’s present, delivering a positive result. If the molecules do not bond you will receive a negative result, however due to HCG levels being extremely low early on in the pregnancy (they do infact increase substantially as the pregnancy progresses) it is possible to get a negative test result (but actually be pregnant) if you test too early. From dipping strips to the more advanced digital pregnancy tests, the Inhealth.ie range of market leading pregnancy tests can offer results in as little as 2 minutes, from 4 days prior to your period and up to 99% accuracy from the day your period was due. Traditionally to confirm your pregnancy it was best practice for your GP to confirm using a blood test, but due to the advanced technology being used with the digital home pregnancy tests, many offices are no longer carrying out blood tests because of the high sensitivity now on offer with the at home pregnancy tests available.
How Soon Can I Take a Pregnancy Test?
It may depend on the type of pregnancy test that you choose to use. All pregnancy tests measure the amount of HCG, the pregnancy hormone in your body, however some tests are more sensitive than others. The higher sensitivity pregnancy tests may be able to detect very low levels of HCG as early as four days prior to your periods due date, and in some tests up to six+ days after the actual conception. You can locate the sensitivity of a pregnancy test on the packaging, it is described as mlU/ml (milli-International Unit per millilitre), and you will find most pregnancy tests range in sensitivity from 10mlU/ml to 40miU/ml. The lower the number the higher sensitivity of the test and the earlier it can detect pregnancy and confirm those tell-tale early pregnancy signs. It may eventuate that if you test too earlier into the pregnancy even with a sensitive test the amount of HCG in your urine may not be high enough to detect, and receiving a negative result can be quite stressful and disappointing. However most pregnancy tests will give up to 99% accuracy if you test around the time your period is due (about two weeks post ovulation), remember a negative pregnancy test may be negative for a variety of reasons, you may not be pregnant or you may have ovulated later than you had thought and therefore not be as far along into the pregnancy as you first thought. One in 10 women experience very low levels of HCG at the time of a missed period, so if you do receive a negative result and still do not get your period, test again three days later, as the HCG levels may have increased enough to be detected by the test.
What Are The Different Types of Pregnancy Tests?
You will note that all at home pregnancy tests are urine based but with the variety of pregnancy tests available it’s not surprising that many women end up confused as to what is the ‘right’ pregnancy test for them. So whether you are looking to confirm those early pregnancy signs as quickly as possible, or you are budget concious there is a pregnancy test for every need.
Midstream Pregnancy Tests: The term midstream refers to the manner in which the sample is collection – midstream! Brands such as Clearblue and First Response for example enable you to urinate directly on the top of the stick as the sample is collected – midstream. The midstream pregnancy test allows for ease of sample collection and the reputation of the brands that employ this method of collection.
Pregnancy Test Strips: For detecting those all important early pregnancy signs a pregnancy test strip offers a low cost format, because of the minimal material required and the straightforward manner in which they work. Commonly used by healthcare professionals and couples who are trying to conceive and use a higher volume of pregnancy tests, the pregnancy test strip such as the Core HCG Pregnancy Test Strip available on Inhealth.ie are cost effective and highly sensitive. Usually each strip will come in an individually wrapped foil pack and contain a reagent strip with the testing area at one end. Pregnancy test strips are not normally available through retail outlets and can only be found online through sites such as Inhealth.ie
Digital Pregnancy Tests: The digital pregnancy test is fast becoming the pregnancy test of choice for trying to conceive couples worldwide, it offers an easy to read screen, which eliminates any doubts as to whether your have a positive or negative result. The premise of detection is the same as both midstream and pregnancy strips in that it detects the presence of HCG the pregnancy hormone in your urine. While some women may have faintly detectable amounts of HCG in their urine at all times the levels would be below 5mIU which would be negative and not register on any pregnancy test. A digital pregnancy test determines your pregnancy by placing the absorbent tip of the test into your urine either by holding it in a stream or by dipping it into a cup. Accuracy will also depend on the sensitivity of the test and when you choose to use it. The major advantage of a digital pregnancy test is that it eliminates any confusion or doubt by simply stating ‘Pregnant’ or ‘Not Pregnant’. Clear, concise and accurate.