Monday, January 16, 2012

Pregnancy Tests

There seems to be a misconception about whether a home pregnancy test is accurate enough to really confirm a pregnancy. There was a time when you had to go to the doctor's office for confirmation. Your grandmother may even talk about the rabbit dying. It used to be that a pregnant woman's urine was injected into a real rabbit and if it died, the doctor would call with the news of your pregnancy. Go figure!

It's all about the hormone HCG. The presence of this hormone, Human Chorionic Gonadotropin is found exclusively in the urine and blood of pregnant women. It is a byproduct of the biologic mechanism that signals the ovaries that increased amounts of estrogen and progesterone are necessary to maintain the pregnancy.

Home pregnancy tests detect the presence of this hormone, HCG, in urine. Choose a reliable test at the pharmacy that should detect extremely low levels of HCG. You can usually perform the easy test with first morning's urine ( very concentrated ) about day twenty-five of your twenty-eight day cycle. Follow the directions exactly as described on the instructions. And then repeat the test one more time, for confirmation. You do not need to do it five times for five days. If the result is the same with the two tests one day, you have your answer.

When you are convinced that only your doctor can make the diagnosis of pregnancy, make an appointment for a pelvic to confirm. The doctor will have a similar test performed on your urine ( make the appointment for the morning ) and if you insist, only then will the doctor order a blood test. Insurance companies know that the urine test is accurate. So the doctor will start with a urine test and consider it accurate enough for a difinative answer.( Pelvic exams can reveal changes in the cervix that further confirm.)

So if you insist, or you have bleeding early in the pregnancy, the doctor may order a blood test that is labeled either quanitative or qualitative. Quantitative will report if and how much HCG is present in the blood sample. Qualitative will only confirm whether HCG is there, or not.

Both urine and blood tests are very accurate these days because HCG only appears in a pregnant woman. And if performed properly, and you are pregnant, either test will indicate positive before your menstrual period is even due. And if it's not there, there is no pregnancy THAT day you test. It could be present a week later, if you are pregnant then. And it will disappear if you were pregnant, but lost the pregnancy.

Remember, Human Chorionic Gonadotropin only appears in blood or urine when you are pregnant. If you are not pregnant, the day that you test, you will have a negative test.