Both urine and blood pregnancy tests work by detecting human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in a woman’s body. Except for rare cases, HCG is a hormone that is only present in the body during pregnancy.
Urine tests are readily available for pregnancy testing at home. Different brands of pregnancy tests make various claims about their accuracy before a missed period. Still, for the most accuracy, a urine pregnancy test should be taken a week after your missed period. It is also advised to take a urine test in the morning when you wake up. This is when your urine is most concentrated, and hCG is most likely to be detected.
Urine pregnancy tests take just a few minutes to return results.
When taking a home pregnancy test, it is essential to follow all the directions included in the test. Failure to follow directions can lead to a false result. For example, using too much urine or reading the test after the time limit can create an evaporation line that can be misread as a positive result.
Blood tests are more sensitive than urine tests. This means they can detect more minor levels of hCG, giving accurate results before urine pregnancy tests, even before your missed period.
Unfortunately, blood tests are also more expensive, and the results take much longer than a urine test. Usually, the results are available the next day. For these reasons, medical providers typically use urine tests.
If you have tested positive using a home pregnancy test, your next step should be to confirm your pregnancy test with a lab-quality pregnancy test and a confirmation ultrasound. Before you decide on the outcome of your pregnancy, you need to know if it is viable. Up to 20% of pregnancies naturally miscarry. An ultrasound will tell you if your pregnancy is growing and has a heartbeat, along with other crucial information you will need to create a plan, like the location of your pregnancy and how long you have been pregnant.
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