Advances in laboratory testing have now reached a stage where we have access to easy-to-use reliable pregnancy test kits over the counter.
In pregnancy, the growing tissues of the new conception (early foetus) secrete a special hormone into your body called ‘human Chorionic Gonadotrophin’ hCG). This enters your blood as early as one week following fertilisation. This can be traced from your blood or urine by special tests. Home tests are done with urine.
Depending upon the type and sensitivity of the test used, pregnancy can be detected as early as a day or two from the missed period.
Tests currently available include
- In the first week (within 7 days of missed periods)
- Pregcolor card (used extensively in India)
- Velocit one step pregnancy test
Both these tests use the principle of two colored bands appearing if you are pregnant and only one band appearing if you are not
- Within 2 weeks of missed period:
- Pregcolour bottle
- Granindex slide test
These tests need a higher level of hCG before they become positive. Hence they become positive after five weeks from the last menstrual period.
Points to be noted
For best results, you must take care that
- Urine is collected in a clean, dry container.
- Early morning sample of urine is preferred.
- A fresh sample is preferable
It may happen that a test result comes negative although you may be, in reality pregnant. This is more likely if:
- Your cycles are irregular or are often delayed.
- The testing has been done very early in pregnancy.In such cases, if the test is repeated after one week, it may become positive.
It is always advisable to confirm the pregnancy diagnosis by a qualified medical practitioner as all tests have their limitations.