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Pregnancy Tests
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Do you think you’re pregnant, but you don’t know for sure? Pregnancy testing can provide the answer to your question if you’re experiencing signs of pregnancy. A pregnancy test works by measuring the levels of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine. This hormone is first produced once a fertilized egg has implanted in your uterus, which generally occurs about six days following fertilization. The levels of hCG present in your bloodstream will then rapidly rise over the next few weeks at a rate of about twice the amount every two days. Approximately a week after you would normally expect your menstrual cycle to begin, you should be able to detect hCG in your urine with pregnancy testing.

A pregnancy test is very simple to use. Depending on the test you choose, you may need to collect some of your urine in a cup and dip a test strip into the collected urine, or even urinate on a test stick. Additionally, each test displays results differently. Some may indicate a result with a pink or purple line and others may display a plus or minus sign. Most tests will show results within 5 to 10 minutes.

If you receive a negative result from a pregnancy test, this should not be taken to mean that you are not pregnant. If your normal menstrual cycle does not begin within a few days, it is recommended that you take another test or consult a medical professional to confirm whether you are pregnant or not. It may also be possible to obtain a false positive from a test, which can be caused by a “chemical pregnancy”, which is a term for a fertilized egg that began producing hCG but then failed to continue developing for some reason. In any case, the best results from a test can be obtained from testing first thing in the morning, to ensure the highest concentration of hCG in your urine.

In addition to pregnancy testing, there are several common signs of pregnancy that can give an additional confirmation of your pregnancy, including:

Your breasts become tender and swollen. This is a result of increased hormone levels.

Fatigue. Progesterone levels rise during pregnancy and changes in your body as it adapts to pregnancy can cause you to feel more tired than normal.

Nausea and/or vomiting. Morning sickness affects most women about a month following conception and usually stops by the end of the second trimester.

Frequent urination. Extra fluids produced by your body presents more of a load for your kidneys to process, as well as the pressure of the growing baby on your bladder.

Heightened sensitivity to odors. You may notice that certain odors can cause you to feel sick or trigger a gag reflex, even if they normally wouldn’t do so. This may be caused by increasing levels of estrogen in your body.

If pregnancy testing has returned a positive result and you are experiencing any of the common signs of pregnancy, you should contact your medical professional to confirm that you are pregnant, as well as to arrange necessary prenatal care during your pregnancy.