As soon as you have noticed the first signs of pregnancy, you will probably want to know for sure if you really are pregnant or not. With a pregnancy test, of which there are various brands, you can determine this yourself. As long as you use it correctly, it is highly reliable.
The tests, which have become increasingly sensitive over the years, are all based on the same principle. They verify the presence of the pregnancy hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) in the urine.
This hormone is formed in a woman’s body only when she is pregnant ‒ concretely, one to two days after the fertilized egg cell has implanted in the endometrium.
The test sticks usually have two viewing windows. One is to check that the test is working properly. The other is the result window. Depending on the manufacturer, either a coloured line or a plus or minus sign will appear; in digital tests, the words “pregnant” or “not pregnant” make matters completely clear.
Today, most tests are so sensitive that it does not matter which time of day or night you use them.
However, if you wish to carry out the test at a very early stage of a possible pregnancy or if you want to be particularly sure of receiving a reliable result, then you should use the morning urine, as this contains a higher concentration of hCG.
Urinate into a clean cup and put the test stick into it for a few seconds or hold the test stick directly in the urine stream. After a few minutes, you can see in the result field if you are pregnant or not.
If you use the test from the first day after your period is overdue, it will provide a very reliable result (insofar as you carry it out correctly!). There are also quick tests available which provide results at an even earlier stage. However, these have a higher error rate.
The tests may be classified as follows:
- 10 IU/L test: Reaction from a concentration of 10 IU (=International Units) of hCG per litre of urine: Test may be carried out from the 8th day of conception*
- 25 IU/L test: Reaction from a concentration of 25 IU of hCG per litre of urine: Test may be carried out from the 10th day of conception*
- 50 IU/L test: Reaction from a concentration of 50 IU of hCG per litre of urine: Test may be carried out from the first day after your period is overdue*
*according to information from the manufacturers
If your wish to conceive has been fulfilled, your head will be full of thoughts and emotions. Perhaps you will be worried because you have drunk alcohol, taken medicine or smoked in the last few weeks.
In this case, there are two things which may happen. Should certain factors have affected the embryo, the embryonic tissue will pass through the uterus with the next period. Or the pregnancy will be sustained and you do not need to worry that your child has been harmed.
If your period does not come, you should immediately start paying attention to your diet and way of life.
You most probably would like to have the result of the pregnancy test confirmed as soon as possible by your doctor. However, there is no need to rush in making an appointment. The doctor can only see the fertilized egg cell in the uterus via ultrasound from the 4th week of pregnancy, i.e. around two weeks following the absence of your period. This is a moving moment!