There are several ways to check if you are pregnant. Here are some pregnancy confirmation tests you should know about.
Home-pregnancy test-kits are commonly available in the market. It tests for the presence of the hormone human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) in your urine. This hormone appears in your urine when a fertilized egg is implanted in your uterus, indicating that you are pregnant. The level of hCG increases very quickly with each day that you are pregnant.
Home-pregnancy tests are about 97 % accurate, and they work only after the date that your period was due, because this is about the time that implantation occurs. For some women, it takes longer than that for the test to come up positive. So, if you are feeling the signs of pregnancy, and your home-pregnancy test turns out negative, wait for a few days and take the test again. Also remember to follow the instructions on the pack carefully, to ensure that you do not contaminate the urine in any way and affect the results of the test.
If the test again turns out negative, but your period has still not arrived, do consult your doctor. She will conduct further tests to confirm whether you are pregnant.
The doctor tests the hCG levels by either testing your urine or your blood.
Urine tests measure the same things as the home pregnancy test, but since it is tested in a controlled lab environment, it is less prone to errors than an improperly done home-pregnancy test.
Blood tests are used less often, and are done at the lab.
• Qualitative blood tests – Detects the presence of hCG hormone in your blood, and tells you whether you are pregnant or not.
• Quantitative blood tests – Measures the amount of hCG in your blood, which also tells you how far along you are in your pregnancy.
The advantages of blood tests are:
• They can detect the presence of hCG earlier than urine tests.
• They can detect the concentration of hCG in the blood, which is useful when a woman is being monitored for possible pregnancy complications.
The disadvantages are:
• You don't get the results immediately, but will have to wait for a couple of days.
• It is more expensive.
Pelvic exams: A doctor can confirm a pregnancy by a pelvic examination. She checks if there is softening of the uterine walls, and looks for a blue colouration of the cervix, both of which are indicators of pregnancy. She can further check the health of the uterus, tubes and ovaries, and gauge how far along you are by testing for uterine enlargement.
Ultrasound: An ultrasound is a medical imaging technique, which sends high-frequency sound pulses into your body through a probe. When the pulses meet tissues, they are reflected back, or echoed back, and these echoes are measured, and displayed on the screen as a two-dimensional image. This technique can actually show you the growing embryo. It also helps the doctor to know if the embryo is growing well, and whether it is implanted in the uterus. This is advantageous to detect pregnancy complications like ectopic pregnancies.
There are some new home-pregnancy tests available in the market today–they measure not only the levels of hCG, but also how much of it is present in the urine, and tells you how many weeks pregnant you are. These test-kits might not be widely available yet.
So there you go – so many ways to confirm your pregnancy. Go ahead and enjoy the thrill that comes with it!