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Pregnancy test: From when it is meaningful

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 233 views

Late period and morning sickness? A pregnancy test then clarifies the question “Pregnant or not?”. These tests are available at pharmacies and drugstores and are easy to use. Read everything you need to know about pregnancy tests here: When can you use it, how does it work and how reliable are the test results?

When can you tell you’re pregnant?

About seven days after fertilization, when the egg has implanted itself in the uterine lining, the germ begins to produce the pregnancy hormone HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). This hormone ensures that the corpus luteum in the ovary continues to produce the hormone progesterone , so that the lining of the uterus is not shed as is the case with menstrual bleeding. This ensures that the pregnancy is maintained.

When can you take a pregnancy test?

The common pregnancy tests that you can buy in pharmacies or drugstores examine a urine sample for the pregnancy hormone HCG. The question “When can you take a pregnancy test?” is easy to answer: HCG can be detected in the pregnant woman’s urine from the eighth day after conception. The test result is then correct with a probability of 90 to 98 percent. Incidentally, the eighth day after conception roughly corresponds to the time of the expected menstrual period.

Pregnancy test: early test

Pregnancy can be determined with a urine test even before the menstruation stops. However, these early tests or pre-tests are not that reliable. If the test is negative but you still suspect you are pregnant, you should repeat the test a few days later. An alternative to this is to go to the gynecologist to have the HCG level in the blood measured.

Positive pregnancy test

If the pregnancy test is positive, then the next step is to visit your gynecologist. This can definitely confirm the pregnancy. He does a urine and a blood test, which can be positive from the sixth day after conception.

Pregnancy test positive – still not pregnant

This case is also possible – you have a positive pregnancy test and are still not pregnant. The reason for such a false positive result may be that a fertilized egg cell implanted itself, i.e. the pregnancy hormone HCG was formed, but then there was an early abortion, i.e. a miscarriage , which is often not even noticed.

Drugs containing HCG can also lead to a false-positive pregnancy test. This includes preparations that are given as part of artificial insemination.

Taking hormone preparations and antidepressants can also lead to a positive pregnancy test, even though fertilization has not taken place. The same applies to cancer and kidney failure.

Test negative – still pregnant

The opposite case would be a false-negative pregnancy test: So you can definitely be pregnant despite a negative test. There are several reasons for this. For example, you may have taken the pregnancy test too early, i.e. at a time when there is not enough HCG in the urine. If you suspect pregnancy despite the negative test result, you should repeat the test a little later or go to the doctor for a blood test. The pregnancy can thus be confirmed at an early stage.

Another possible reason for “pregnancy test negative, still pregnant” is handling errors: If too much urine gets on the test strip or the urine is left on the strip for too long, a false negative test result can also result.

Advanced pregnancy: Test negative – still pregnant

Sometimes pregnancy is not noticed until late. However, if a woman takes a pregnancy test after the second or third missed period, it may be negative even though she is pregnant. The reason is that the pregnancy hormone HCG drops again after a maximum that is reached in the eighth to twelfth week of pregnancy. In an advanced pregnancy, it is no longer detectable.

Pregnancy test despite the pill

Even if a woman takes the pill , she can still get pregnant. It’s not very likely, but it’s still possible. The contraceptive pill has a so-called Pearl Index of 0.1 to 0.9, which means that if 100 women use the pill for a year, pregnancy will still occur in 0.1 to 0.9 cases. The Pearl Index for the minipill is between 0.5 and 3.0. Oral contraceptives do not offer 100% contraceptive protection. So the question arises: When should a pregnancy test be taken when taking the pill? The answer: Anytime you miss your monthly period and/or have other possible signs of pregnancy (like morning sickness).

Pregnancy test: what you should consider

When buying a pregnancy test, pay attention to storage instructions and the expiry date. Before use, read the application instructions carefully so that you get a reliable test result. If it is positive, you should go to the gynecologist. He can confirm with absolute certainty that you are actually expecting a child and initiate the first steps in prenatal care. You should also go to the doctor if the pregnancy test is negative but you suspect you are pregnant. A missed menstrual period should always be clarified!

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