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You suspect you are pregnant? The easiest way to check your suspicions is to take a pregnancy test from the pharmacy or drugstore. When is the right time for this, what you need to consider and what there is to know about pregnancy tests, you will learn in this article.
What Is A Pregnancy Test
The first sign of pregnancy for most women is the absence of periods. However, very few women have an absolutely regular cycle. Therefore, this alone is not a sure sign of pregnancy. A pregnancy test and an examination by a gynecologist can bring clarity.
There are different types of pregnancy tests. The most common and well-known variant is the urine test. It can be easily performed at home. Pregnancy tests are available in pharmacies or drugstores.
There are pregnancy tests usually in single or double packs to buy. Prices range from 5 to 15 euros. The fluctuations come from the fact that it naturally makes a difference whether you have one or two tests in the pack. There are also differences in the display. It is either digital with a small display or you get the result analog bylines and symbols.
If you suspect or hope that you are pregnant and cannot wait until your period stops, you can take an early test. You can take this test as early as 4 days before your period stops.
Then you can confirm or disprove your suspicion. You can also buy the early pregnancy test at the pharmacy or drugstore and easily do it at home.
How Does A Pregnancy Test Work
The commercially available pregnancy tests all work in the same way. They react to the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin – HCG for short. Over time, the tests have become more sensitive and reliable.
If a fertilized egg nests in the uterus, the placenta produces this hormone. Therefore, it is only detectable in the body during pregnancy. A pregnancy test measures the concentration of HCG in the body. It can therefore quickly and easily provide information about whether a pregnancy is present or not.
The Right Time For The Pregnancy Test
Early tests can already show a positive result about 4-6 days before the period is due. However, the error rate of these tests is relatively high because the level of hCG in the urine is still relatively low at the beginning of pregnancy.
Most pregnancy tests from the drugstore or pharmacy provide a reliable result approximately 14 days after the ovulation. This corresponds approximately to the day of the expected period. A blood test at the gynecologist can indicate pregnancy as early as 6 days after ovulation. This corresponds to approximately one week before the actual menstrual period.
How To Use The Pregnancy Test
In the meantime, the pregnancy tests are so sensitive that you no longer have to pay attention to a certain time of day when using them. However, if you want to do the test at a very early stage of a potential pregnancy or if you want to be particularly sure, you should do the test in the morning. Morning urine has the highest concentration of HCG.
The application of the test is very simple. The urine can be collected in a cup and the test stick can be held in it for a few seconds. It is also possible to simply hold the test under the stream of urine.
Then you have to be patient. It takes a few minutes until the result can be read. After a few minutes you can read on the display whether you are pregnant or not. You should also read the test result immediately when it appears. After more than 10 minutes, the result of tests with strips as a display, for example, is no longer clear.
The reason for this is the evaporation line. A negative test may appear positive after some time. This is because residual color from the control line settles due to moisture where a colored line is supposed to appear in pregnancy. Then the result appears positive, although it was actually negative.
Pregnant Or Not?
Most test sticks have two indicators. One is for checking that the test is actually working. The second shows the actual result. Depending on the manufacturer, the display of the result differs. There are digital displays that clearly show pregnant or not pregnant on the small screen.
In addition, there are still classic analog displays. Pregnancy in these tests is indicated either by a plus and a minus sign, or by the number of dashes. One dash does not mean pregnant. This line is only the control line. It turns color when it comes in contact with urine to indicate that the test is working.
Two dashes indicate that the pregnancy hormone was detected in the urine. This means that one is pregnant. Because of the second line, the question often arises as to what it means if the test is a little positive. A little positive in this case means that the second line is easily seen, but not as intense as the first line.
This second line indicates the level of hCG in the urine. The concentration of this value increases during pregnancy. So, if the test is done very early in pregnancy, only a little hCG is detectable in the urine and the line is only faintly visible. However, since hCG is only detectable during pregnancy, even a faint line means that you are pregnant.
Positive Pregnancy Test And Then?
If the pregnancy test result is positive, you should make an appointment with your gynecologist. A blood test can confirm the result of the pregnancy test. In addition, your blood pressure and weight will be checked on the spot. With an initial ultrasound, an ectopic pregnancy can be ruled out. It is also possible to calculate an estimated date of delivery.
However, it is also possible that the test result is positive, but there is still no pregnancy. There are various reasons for this.
For example, a result is falsely positive if an early miscarriage, early abortion, has occurred. The egg cell was then basically fertilized. As a result, the pregnancy hormone hCG was formed and indicates a positive test.
At this point, there is then also a pregnancy. However, almost half of all pregnancies before the 4th week of gestation end in such an early miscarriage. Early miscarriage is a mechanism of the body that prevents the eventual implantation of a non-viable egg.
If a woman waits until after her period, she does not notice this early abortion. This is because it becomes noticeable with menstrual bleeding. Women who wait until the period stops before testing for pregnancy may not notice the early miscarriage. A very early test is a sign of pregnancy, but not a definite sign of a permanent pregnancy.
Medications that contain hCG can also give a false result. Often the pregnancy hormone is contained in preparations that have to do with artificial insemination. Taking hormone preparations or antidepressants can also falsify the result.
The test result can also be wrong the other way round. Despite a negative test, pregnancy may still be present.
One reason for this may be that the pregnancy test was used too early. At a very early stage, it is possible that there is not yet enough hCG in the urine to detect a pregnancy.
If pregnancy is suspected despite a negative test, the test should be repeated at a later time. In addition, a visit to the gynecologist is advisable to have absolute certainty.
Another reason for a false-negative test is handling errors. If too much urine gets onto the test strip or it takes too long to soak in, this can falsify the test result. If a lot of fluid is drunk before the test, the concentration of HCG in the urine drops because it is diluted. This can also cause a false test result.
A third reason is taking a pregnancy test too late. If a woman notices her pregnancy relatively late, the test may be negative even though she is pregnant. This is because the maximum level of hCG is reached between the 8th SSW and the 12th SSW. After that, it drops again.
Therefore, if a woman only suspects that she is pregnant after several menstrual periods have failed to occur, this can lead to a negative test result. Then the concentration of hCG in the urine has dropped so much due to the progressing pregnancy that it is no longer detectable.
How Reliable Is A Pregnancy Test
As a rule, the available pregnancy tests that test the urine are very reliable. From the first day of the missed period, they talk about a reliability of 99%. This means that a negative test at this time is very likely to be correct.
Early pregnancy tests can indicate a pregnancy even earlier. However, the reliability is then much lower. The probability of a positive test result is only about 60%. This means 40% of pregnant women get a false result at this time.
Pregnancy Test: There Is To Consider It
When buying a pregnancy test, it is important to pay attention to the storage instructions and the expiration date. Incorrect storage or the use of an expired pregnancy test can affect the reliability and validity of the test.
The instructions for use should also be followed exactly. Only the gynecologist can give the final certainty regarding a pregnancy. If the test is positive, you should make an appointment directly with your gynecologist.
If the pregnancy test is negative, but you still suspect that you are pregnant, you should also discuss this with your doctor. The absence of periods should always be investigated.
Pregnancy Test Despite Taking The Pill
It is possible to become pregnant despite taking the pill. The probability is not very high, but it is not impossible.
The contraceptive pill has a Pearl index of 0.1-0.9, which means that if 100 women take the pill for one year, pregnancy will still occur in 0.1-0.9 cases. With the mini-pill, this index is between 0.5-3.0.
Thus, the pill does not offer 100% certainty of preventing pregnancy. In addition, there are medications such as antibiotics and laxatives that can override the effect of the pill. If you suffer from vomiting or diarrhea in the first three hours after taking the pill, its effect cannot develop in the body. This also overrides the pill.
This means that you can become pregnant despite taking the pill. It is therefore essential to take a pregnancy test if you do not have your period. It does not matter whether you have theoretically used the pill or not.
The pregnancy test is a cheap, safe and easy method to confirm or refute the suspicion of pregnancy. However, in order to get a reliable result, it is important to use it correctly and at the right time.
If you want to have a reliable result and you can wait that long, it is advisable to wait for the absence of the period. At that time, in case of pregnancy, the level of pregnancy hormone hCG in the body is so high that it can be safely detected.
In case of a very early miscarriage, which is very common in the first 4 weeks of pregnancy, you would not notice it. For you, your period would have taken place normally with the bleeding and you would therefore not have noticed anything.