How Do Pregnancy Tests Work?

pregnant woman

Often, the time women think about pregnancy tests is when they take one for the first time. This means they usually have many questions about how they work, their reliability, and if they are using them correctly. Let us give you the information you need to feel confident taking a pregnancy test.

How Do Pregnancy Tests Work?

Pregnancy tests determine if a woman is pregnant by testing for a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). HCG is a hormone that is released by the placenta during pregnancy. 

Pregnancy tests available for home use and those used in a provider’s office commonly use a woman’s urine to detect hCG. Urine is applied to a testing strip according to the instructions included. Within a few minutes, the test strip will show a control line to ensure the test’s validity. If the pregnancy test is positive, another line will be visible.

Blood tests might also be offered at some locations because they can be used to diagnose pregnancy earlier, but they are more expensive to run, and the results take longer to return. 

When Can I Take a Pregnancy Test?

HCG is released into the woman’s body after an embryo implants and starts to grow a placenta. The hormone doubles every 2-3 days and reaches a detectable level in the urine about 10 days after conception. The best time to take a pregnancy test is a week after your missed period for the most accurate results. 

Sometimes it is difficult for a woman to track her period if it is not regular. In that case, test 21 days after you had sex.

Tips for Pregnancy Testing

  • Follow the instructions included in the test.
  • Do not apply too much urine to the test strip or read the test results after the time indicated in the instructions- this can cause evaporation lines on the strip that look like a positive result.
  • Test first thing in the morning when your urine is most concentrated.
  • Get a free pregnancy test from Cleburne Pregnancy Center­­- our medical-quality pregnancy tests provide accurate results.

What’s Next?

If you tested positive for pregnancy, your next step is to obtain an ultrasound and an STD test. These tests are necessary regardless of the outcome you choose for your pregnancy to ensure your health and safety. 

Get pregnancy testing, ultrasound, and STD testing for free at Cleburne Pregnancy Center. Advocates are available to discuss your options and provide you with information. Contact us today for a free and confidential appointment.