Pregnancy Tests are used to confirm the presence of a pregnancy. Although there are numerous signs and symptoms that can suggest pregnancy in a woman asides from a missed period, the most common question every lady asks when they do not have a period is “Am I Pregnant?”, and this would not be wrong considering that there are a number of possible conditions that can make you have a missed period without being pregnant. You can read about them using the link below.
However, it is still recommended that you do a pregnancy test, immediately you miss a period to be sure that the reason for your missed period is not pregnancy. This would help you avoid a lot of drugs and medications as well as other habits that can be harmful to your unborn baby, especially at this early stage.
See these drugs you should avoid while pregnant here.
This post would cover the common questions people ask about a pregnancy test.
When can I do a Pregnancy Test?
A Pregnancy test is best done after 2 weeks of having unprotected sexual intercourse. By this time, the hormone “HCG” that is the basis of a pregnancy test would be present.
What Kind of Pregnancy Test can I do?
Laboratory wise, there are two common types of a Pregnancy test, which are;
- The Urine Pregnancy strip test: which you can easily do while at home using your early morning urine.
- The Blood Pregnancy Test: This is done in a medical laboratory using a sample of your blood.
The gold standard (best) is the blood pregnancy test as the urine pregnancy strip test can be wrong sometimes. Just a few times.
This Pregnancy type detects the Presence of a hormone called the Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (HCG), which is produced by the corpus luteum/placenta of the fetus.
However, outside the laboratory, Pregnancies are also confirmed using an ultrasound scan, which would also give more details of the pregnancy, like the age and location of the pregnancy (if Ectopic or Intrauterine) among other things.
What is the cost of a Urine Pregnancy Strip?
The cost of a Urine pregnancy strip depends on your location. In most pharmacies in the country (Nigeria), the urine pregnancy strip is sold for either N50 or N100. You can easily get one and do the pregnancy test while in the comfort of your home.
How do I use a Urine Pregnancy Strip Test?
To do a Pregnancy strip test with urine, it is advised that you use early morning urine. That is the first urine you produce in the morning.
You can pee a little into a container, then dip the sensitive testing end, (which is on the opposite side of the one written MAX with arrows) into the urine for about 5 seconds, and bring it out, then wait for about 5 minutes or less for the substance in the urine and test strip to react.
How to Interpret Urine Pregnancy Strip test result
After five (5) minutes of waiting, you would notice some lines on the pregnancy test strip. In the commonly available Urine pregnancy strip sold around;
- If you notice only a single line: This is known as the control line, and it means the pregnancy test is negative. You are not pregnant.
- If you notice two lines: This means that the test is positive and you are pregnant.
- If you notice more than 2 lines or no lines at all: It means that the test is invalid and you would have to repeat it again.
What is the Sensitivity/Accuracy of a Urine Pregnancy Test strip?
A Urine Pregnancy test strip is about 99% sensitive/accurate according to United States Office on Women’s Health. This means that once it is positive, it is almost certain that you are pregnant.
Can a Urine Pregnancy test strip be wrong?
Yes, some false positives and false negatives do happen, but these are rare. To prevent any false results, It is advised that you do the test at least twice on each occasion, to be certain. Also, it is best to do this test after a missed period when the quantity of HCG in the blood would be on the rise.
However, the gold standard for pregnancy tests as we mentioned before, is using a blood test.
Where can I do a Blood Pregnancy Test?
You can do a blood pregnancy test at most medical laboratories in the hospitals near you.
How is a Blood Pregnancy test done?
To do a blood pregnancy test, some samples of your blood would be taken using a syringe and needle. This can hurt a bit.
The sample would be taken into the lab, and some reagents would be added to the blood sample, after which the medical laboratory scientist in charge would inform you on if the result was positive or negative, and you would also get a test result for it.
How long does a Blood Pregnancy Test take?
The test does not take long to be completed. Within 15 minutes of collecting your blood, the test would be done and you would have your results.
How much is a Blood Pregnancy Test?
The test is not expensive. In most medical laboratories in Nigeria, this test would cost just around N500.
What is the Sensitivity/Accuracy of a Blood Pregnancy Test?
A Blood Pregnancy test is more accurate/sensitive than a urine test. It can detect even smaller amounts of HCG and can detect pregnancy even before you’ve missed your period when a urine test might give you a false result.
Once it is positive, it means you are definitely pregnant. The only error that could occur here is a clerical error. That means if the laboratory attendant gave you another person results in an error. But, as long as it is your blood, the result does not lie.
Feel free to ask any questions you might have below and I would do my best to respond to you when I can.