Pregnancy test: when to do it and how does it work?

Usually, a good pregnancy test should be done after 4 days of missed menstruation but may be sensitive enough to give a response from 4-6 days before the next menstruation.

Pregnancy testing together with beta-HCG hormone assay (blood sampling required) are the two most reliable methods for knowing if you are pregnant.

If you have had an unprotected relationship

If you have had an unprotected relationship and therefore doubt about getting pregnant the pregnancy test is the best method to check.

However, the test does not work on the day of the relationship or in the first few days afterward! However, you have to wait for the cycle to approach, otherwise, it will give you a negative result that may be wrong.

The tests begin to be effective up to 4 days before the arrival of the menstrual flow: so if you are regular you can take a pregnancy test before waiting for any lack of the cycle.

In the meantime, you can check if you were on your fertile days when you had the relationship.

If the cycle is missed or delayed

If the cycle has not been shown or is delayed, you can take a pregnancy test immediately. Lack of cycle does not mean that you are pregnant, there are many reasons why a cycle may delay or not arrive. It’s called amenorrhea and can also be caused by situations of high stress, medical treatment, etc.
Where to buy the test
The test can be purchased at a pharmacy and does not require a prescription. So I don’t have to go to your family doctor or gynecologist. And there is no reason to be ashamed to buy it, at least choose a pharmacy where you do not know if you are embarrassed. Or buy it online.

There are different types of tests, the pharmacist will be able to advise you, and the cost varies from 4 euros upwards. Usually, there are more than one in the package.

When to take a pregnancy test

According to the American Pregnancy Association, beta HCG tests are accurate from 11 days after conception, but it would be best to wait 12-14 days before doing a urine test. This is of course if the woman knows when she has ovulated or if she has regular cycles. However, not all of them are able to wait for any delay in menstruation and generally most perform the test before the alleged delay with the risk of running into false negatives or tests with unclear results due to the presence of a second weak line.

A false negative is when the test says that you are not pregnant, but in reality you are: the test fails because it was done too early compared to the time of conception.

All pregnancy tests should be done in the morning with the first urine. Always read the instructions and warnings in the package carefully to carry out it correctly.

If you want to do the test during the day, avoid drinking too much liquid in the previous two hours because it may dilute the urine too much and therefore not detect the presence of the hormone.

You can put the test under the urine stream for a few seconds or put it in a urine container for a few seconds. But the indications vary from brand to brand.

If the test is negative but you still have doubts, it is advisable to repeat it after 4-5 days from the first.

Generally, if a test is positive, there is no doubt about the state of pregnancy. False negatives, on the other hand, can occur if the test was carried out too early (perhaps the conception took place later) or if the test has expired.

 

Early pregnancy tests

Early pregnancy tests are the ones that have a very high sensitivity. The earliest is obviously the test that can be done in the blood with a blood sample in the hospital. There are also tests on urine with a very high sensitivity of 10 ml that can be done theoretically 4 days before the presumed arrival of menstruation. (on the forum you can find a list of pregnancy tests for sensitivity). Finally, a new blood test has recently been introduced, which can be done comfortably at home from 7-8 days after ovulation. It is called First to Know.

How to read the test result

The digital test will show the word “pregnant” and the number of weeks from conception, or the word “not pregnant” if not.

The classic tests instead will show two colored lines if you are waiting or simply a line if the test is negative.

In some cases, even when conception has taken place, some women experience bloodstains about 10-12 days after fertilization. These are not to be considered as menstruation and the pregnancy should be traced back to the date of the last actual menstruation.

When to take the second pregnancy test

If you did the text the day you waited for the cycle, or the day after and despite the delay the result is negative, wait another 4-6 days and then repeat it (of course in case the menstruation does not occur).

There are cases where conception occurs later than the calculations made and at the time of the first test the hormone concentration may not yet be detectable.

It often happens, almost in 1 conception out of 10, that the fertilized egg cannot be implanted in the uterus.

In this case, a first pregnancy test will give a positive result, while a second test carried out a few days later will give a negative result.

In these cases, we speak of biochemical pregnancy.

For this reason, some packs contain two pregnancy tests, to be repeated after 3-5 days for definitive confirmation of pregnancy.

In the case of irregular menstruation, understanding when to do the test (or confirm it) is even more complicated and precise indications cannot be given: it is advisable to wait for a sufficient number of days of delay.

How the pregnancy test works

These tests detect the presence of the beta-HCG hormone which is produced by the trophoblast (from which the placenta will develop) from the moment of implantation in the uterus.

Since it takes 5-8 days for the fertilized egg to nest in the uterus and considering that it still takes some time before the hormone starts to produce itself and reaches detectable amounts in the urine, it must be at least 10 days after fertilization for the test to detect beta-HCG.

The amount of beta-HCG doubles every 2-3 days at the beginning of pregnancy. If you analyze the amount of this hormone in the blood, you can date the weeks of pregnancy and then, with some approximation, the time of conception.

Warning: the hormone does not continue to double throughout the pregnancy but only for the first period, consult the table to see the progress and in any case, your doctor will evaluate the growth.

Can the gynecologist go back to a pregnancy with a visit?

Yes, if six weeks have passed since the last menstruation, the gynecologist can check with a thorough examination to see if the uterus is softer and slightly swollen.

The neck of the uterus (cervix) extending into the vagina is more compact than the lower part of the uterus and has a particular consistency similar to that of the tip of the nose.

This change in the cervix is called “Hegar’s sign”.

Obviously, a gynecologist will also seek confirmation with the use of internal ultrasound if the instrument is available.

If the test is positive

If the test is positive, there’s a new life that’s starting.

It is precisely in the first weeks of pregnancy, when the embryo is still smaller than a hazelnut (see the fetal weight and length chart), that the brain and most of the child’s organs are formed.

That’s why I often stress the importance of a healthy lifestyle as soon as you decide to have a baby and start taking the necessary folic acid during pregnancy right away.

The diagnosis of pregnancy is also important for those taking medication because some of these may be highly harmful to the child.

Alternative pregnancy tests

It is also possible to perform an ovulation test instead of a pregnancy test, but confirmation will only take place with a real pregnancy test.

Out of curiosity and play it is also possible to perform home pregnancy tests.

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