What is a pregnancy test?
Pregnancy tests look for a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). HCG is made by the placenta, which is the layer of blood and tissue in your womb that provides oxygen and nutrition to the growing baby. HCG is found in your blood or urine when you are pregnant.
You can do a urine test for pregnancy at home. Urine or blood tests also may be done at your healthcare provider’s office.
How soon can I use a home test to see if I am pregnant?
Some home pregnancy tests may be able to show if you’re pregnant as soon as the time your next period should start. The tests are more accurate, however, if they are done at least 2 weeks after the day a missed period should have started.
How are pregnancy tests done at home?
You can buy a home pregnancy test in a drug or grocery store without a prescription. Collect a sample of your urine the first time you go to the bathroom in the morning before you have had anything to drink. Test the urine according to the test kit instructions. With most test kits, you will know the results in about 2 minutes.
If you have a positive result, there is a good chance that you are pregnant. Make an appointment with your healthcare provider to confirm the test result and start prenatal care.
If the test is negative and you started your last period less than 6 weeks ago, repeat the test in 1 or 2 weeks. If the test is still negative, you are probably not pregnant. There may be another reason you are missing your periods. If you keep having negative pregnancy tests and your period is 6 to 8 weeks late, tell your healthcare provider.
Home tests are not 100% accurate. You may get a positive test result even when you are not pregnant if:
- You are taking antidepressant drugs.
- You have kidney problems.
- You have an overactive thyroid gland.
How are pregnancy tests done at my healthcare provider’s office?
You may get a more reliable urine test for pregnancy at your healthcare provider’s office or a family planning clinic. You may know the test results the same day.
Blood tests can detect pregnancy earlier than urine tests. With a blood test your healthcare provider can find out if you are pregnant as early as 9 days after a baby is conceived. The blood is tested at a lab, and you may not have the results for a day or two.
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This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
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