If you think you might be pregnant, the sooner you know, the better. This is because the first few weeks of pregnancy is crucial for fetal development. So the earlier you know of your pregnancy, the earlier you can start making important health choices for yourself and your baby. Early prenatal care is essential for a healthy pregnancy and baby’s survival.
What types of pregnancy testing are available?
After the egg is fertilised, it travels to the uterus (womb) and implants itself in the uterine wall. At this stage, your body starts producing a pregnancy hormone called hCG. It is this hormone that is used to detect if you are pregnant.
Two main types of early pregnancy tests available:
1) Urine pregnancy testing
This is often the first choice for many women as it is fairly simple to be done. Urine tests can be done at home or in a clinic by your doctor. Some urine pregnancy tests that is available today are so sensitive that it is able to detect pregnancy up to 5 days before your expected period, before you even start to notice any bodily changes! It is also highly accurate to detect pregnancy, with very low rates for a false reading. However, if you are still unsure after a positive home urine pregnancy test, you can confirm your results by seeing your doctor, who can perform follow up tests.
2) Blood pregnancy testing
Like urine pregnancy tests, the blood pregnancy test also checks for the pregnancy hormone hCG. It is a test to be carried out by your doctor and is more accurate than the urine pregnancy test.
These tests can detect pregnancy earlier than a home pregnancy test, starting from a week after you ovulate (produce egg). However, unlike the urine pregnancy tests, the results isn’t immediate. Results usually can be obtained within the day (if done early in the morning), or by the next day.
In fact, there are two types of blood pregnancy tests available:
1.) A qualitative hCG test
This simply checks to see if hCG is present. It gives a “yes” or “no” answer to the question of pregnancy.
2.) A quantitative hCG test
This test measures the exact amount of hCG in your blood, down to very low levels of hCG. This test also gives you a rough gauge of how many weeks along you are.
How do I use the urine pregnancy test at home?
The best time of day to take this test is when you wake up first thing in the morning, after your first early morning pee. Many tests instruct you to hold the stick in your urine stream and then place it on a flat surface for a certain number of minutes, although some may ask you to place the stick in a cup of your pee instead. Hence it is important to read and follow the instructions for your test carefully. Also, make sure the test has not passed its expiry date, as that may affect the accuracy of the results.
What if I have one positive and one negative urine test?
Many women undergo urine pregnancy testing multiple times, in order to confirm the presence or absence of a pregnancy.
If you have performed the test more than once, and the results don’t match, visit your doctor for proper evaluation and testing.