Blood and urine pregnancy tests are similar in that they test for pregnancy by detecting human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in a woman’s body. Keep reading to learn more about these tests.
What is hCG?
Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a hormone produced in pregnancy by the placenta. Once an embryo implants, around 6-10 days after conception, the placenta begins to develop and releases hCG into the body. Throughout early pregnancy, hCG levels rise, doubling every 2-3 days before peaking around 8-11 weeks.
Urine Pregnancy Tests
Urine pregnancy tests work by detecting hCG in a woman’s urine. The accuracy of a urine pregnancy test is dependent on timing. They are most accurate if used one week after a missed period, though some brands of home pregnancy tests claim to be accurate up to 5 days before your missed period. Results from a urine pregnancy test take just a few minutes.
If you choose to test at home with a urine pregnancy test, here are a few tips to ensure accurate results:
- Test one week after your missed period. If you test negative but do not get your period, test again in another week.
- Test first thing in the morning when you wake up. Urine is most concentrated when you wake, so the hCG will be easier for the test to detect.
- Follow all instructions included with the test. Failing to follow the instructions can increase the odds of receiving a false result.
- If you test positive, follow up with a medical provider to confirm your pregnancy through medical-grade testing and ultrasound.
Blood Pregnancy Tests
Blood pregnancy tests also work by detecting hCG in a woman’s body. They are more sensitive than urine tests, so they can be administered earlier than urine pregnancy tests. Blood pregnancy tests results vary from health care facilities. Most test results return within 24 hours.
Because urine pregnancy tests are less expensive but offer accurate results quicker than blood tests, testing for pregnancy confirmation is usually done through urine testing. Medical providers monitoring the progression of a pregnancy will instead use repeated blood tests to follow the increase in hCG to ensure that the pregnancy is continuing.
After a Positive Result
Regardless of the testing method, accurate pregnancy confirmation can only come through an ultrasound. As many as 20% of pregnancies end in natural miscarriage, and it is possible to test positive for pregnancy while experiencing a miscarriage. An ultrasound will show if the pregnancy is viable while also providing essential information like the location of the pregnancy and how far along it is.
Free Pregnancy Testing
If you think you might be pregnant, reach out for a free, medically accurate pregnancy test and confirmation ultrasound. Contact us today to schedule a free appointment