If you are of child-bearing age, are sexually active, and has missed a period or your period is unusually late, it is well worth carrying out a urine pregnancy test.
These pregnancy tests work by measuring the level or a certain hormone, called hCG for Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, in your urine. When a woman is pregnant, they have elevated levels of this hormone.
A urine pregnancy test is a quite accurate test. The levels of hCG in your urine double within the first few days of the egg being fertilized and stay elevated, so if you are pregnant the test should highlight this quite quickly. Most over the counter tests will show you whether you are pregnant or not if you take them ten days after your period is usually due. Some can show accurate results more quickly than this, but for very early detection blood tests are more accurate than urine tests.
Blood tests can give quantitative results, so they can tell you what your hCG levels are. This is useful for detecting problems during pregnancy, and can highlight things such as an ectopic pregnancy. Urine tests, on the other hand, tend to be better for identifying whether a period has been missed because of stress or other issues, or because of pregnancy.
Are Pregnancy Tests Accurate?
Urine tests for pregnancy are accurate most of the time if you follow the instructions correctly. If you get a positive result, even a very faint one, then you can be confident that you are pregnant. False positives do happen, but they are exceedingly rare. They will usually only occur if you have blood in your urine, or certain proteins are present – these are things that you would want to talk to your doctor about anyway.
There are also certain medications, such as anticonvulsants, which can cause false positives. If you are taking any prescription medications, don’t just buy a pregnancy test over the counter. Talk to a doctor or a pharmacist first to find out whether the medication will impair the accuracy of the test.
What to Do if The Test is Positive
If the pregnancy test is positive, then you will need to seek professional medical advice as quickly as possible. Your doctor will make sure that the pregnancy is progressing in the correct manner, and that you and the growing baby are healthy. They will give you advice on nutrition and tell you if there are any changes you should make to your lifestyle or any medications that you should stop taking. You will need regular care during the pregnancy to ensure that it goes smoothly, and the sooner you talk to a doctor the sooner all of this can be arranged. Taking good care of yourself and being proactive about nutrition from the earliest stages of pregnancy will help to prevent a lot of the possible complications that can occur, and give your unborn baby the best possible start in life.