Whether you are trying to conceive or are concerned about an unplanned pregnancy, a pregnancy test is an important tool which essentially detects the presence of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) in a woman’s blood or urine. HCG is a hormone produced by the placenta following implantation of a fertilised egg, which takes place around six days after 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 the ability to confirm your pregnancy as soon as 6-15 days after conception.
How Do Pregnancy Tests Work?
Pregnancy sticks or cups 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 since HCG levels are extremely low early in the pregnancy 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 with up to 99% accuracy from the day your period was due. Traditionally, confirmation of a pregnancy was carried out using blood tests taken by a GP, but due to advanced technology being used with digital home pregnancy tests, many offices no longer carry out blood tests because pregnancy tests are sensitive enough to offer sufficient confirmation of a pregnancy.
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, however some tests are more sensitive than others. Higher sensitivity pregnancy tests may be able to detect very low levels of HCG as early as four days prior to your 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). You will find most pregnancy tests range in sensitivity from 10mlU/ml to 40miU/ml. The lower the number, the higher the sensitivity of the test and the earlier it can detect and confirm those tell-tale early pregnancy. If you test too earlyeven a sensitive test may not be able to detect a pregnancy 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 after ovulation.
Remember, a 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 first assumed. 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.
If you are trying to conceive and find you are continually getting negative pregnancy test results over time, the feeling of disappointment can be increasingly frustrating and stressful as time goes on. In such circumstances, couples may benefit from using tools that can help to measure and track fertility. Ovulation tests can help you to calculate your expected ovulation date (when an ovary releases eggs) by detecting levels of luteinising hormone (LH), helping determine when you are most likely to conceive. Fertility tests are also available for both women and men. Tests for women can help to measure levels of Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), which is released around ovulation and commonly rises significantly as women mature. For this reason, fertility tests can be a useful indicator of ovulation in older women. Tests for men measure the concentration of sperm which is a major determinant of male fertility levels.
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. Whether you are looking to confirm those early pregnancy signs as quickly as possible, or you are budget conscious there is a pregnancy test for every need.
Midstream Pregnancy Tests
The term midstream refers to the way the sample is collectedmidstream. 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, allowing for ease of sample collection.
Pregnancy Test Strips
For detecting those all-important early pregnancy signs, a pregnancy test strip offers a low-cost format due to 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 so use a higher volume of pregnancy tests, pregnancy test strips 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 worldwide for couples trying to conceive. It offers an easy to read screen, which eliminates any doubts as to whether you 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 the pregnancy hormone HCG in your urine. 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.