Pregnancy Test

Home tests versus doctor's tests

If you think you might be pregnant, you can confirm your suspicions by taking a pregnancy test. While this was traditionally done in a doctor's office, there are now very accurate home pregnancy tests you can use if you prefer to see the results in the privacy and comfort of your own abode.

 

All pregnancy tests check for one thing: the presence of a hormone known as human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). This hormone is found exclusively in the bloodstream of pregnant women, as it is a byproduct of the uterine system signaling to the ovaries that elevated levels of progesterone and estrogen are needed to help a fetus develop.

Home Pregnancy Tests

Standard home pregnancy tests seek the presence of HCG in a woman's urine. The reliability of home pregnancy tests depends on the system's ability to detect HCG; for the most accurate home pregnancy test results, choose a test that is able to detect even extremely low levels of HCG.

If you're going to use a home pregnancy test, be sure you follow the instructions to the letter; even a slight misstep can invalidate the entire procedure. It is also recommended that you confirm your initial results by performing a second test.

Doctor's Pregnancy Tests

Some women prefer to have a doctor perform the pregnancy test. In your doctor's office or health clinic, pregnancy blood tests rather than urine tests are used to confirm your pregnancy. There are two types of blood tests that check for pregnancy: quantitative and qualitative.

Quantitative blood tests are used to find out exactly how much, if any, HCG is in your bloodstream. Qualitative blood tests, on the other hand, don't concern themselves with how much HCG is in your bloodstream, but simply whether or not it's there. In both cases, your blood sample is sent to a lab, and the results of the test are confirmed within about one to two days.

Both urine tests and blood tests are extremely accurate; accuracy rates as high as 99 percent are claimed. However, blood tests are usually considered slightly more reliable, so if you want to remove as much doubt as possible, make an appointment to see your doctor or visit a clinic in your local health network.

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