How Pregnancy Tests Work And When To Take One

If you think you might be pregnant it can be a nerve-wracking time waiting for confirmation either way.

Here you can find out all about pregnancy tests, how they work, and the best time to take one.

Early signs of pregnancy

Some people swear they know almost immediately when they’ve conceived. However, for most people, the arrival of some early pregnancy signs such as a missed (or very light) period, morning sickness, tender breasts, increased urination, food cravings, headaches, or constipation, can give a clue that they may have conceived.

How pregnancy tests work

When you become pregnant, one of the many changes to your body is the production of a particular pregnancy hormone called hCG (human Chorionic Gonadotropin). The amount produced doubles every 36 to 48 hours until around eight to ten weeks pregnancy. Once it reaches adequate levels it can be detected by testing your urine or blood.

Urine testing is the most easily accessible test as you can buy these at your local supermarket and pharmacy and they’re also available from places like health clinics and medical professionals. The urine test strip works by the presence of enough hCG in your urine to cause a reaction and reveal a positive result in an indicator window, generally after a few minutes.

When to do a pregnancy test

The level of hCG takes a while to get to a detectable level in your urine. There are a number of home pregnancy test kits available and they differ on how early you can get a positive result. Generally urine-based pregnancy tests are most reliable from the first day your period was due, although some tests can be used earlier.

Remember that a negative test early on in your pregnancy doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t pregnant. It may just be that the test hasn’t been able to detect hCG at that time.

How to do a home pregnancy test of your urine

Home pregnancy tests generally require you to pee on a ‘strip’ or, less commonly, into a container into which you will dip the test. To ensure the most accurate results, follow the instructions carefully.

How did you find out you were pregnant?

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author robyn

Written by Robyn

Robyn creates content on Kidspot NZ. Her hobbies include buying cleaning products and wondering why things don’t then clean themselves, eating cheese scones with her friends, and taking her kids to appointments.

Favourite motto to live by: “It’s just a phase.”

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