Pregnancy is avidly sought by some women and mortally feared by others. Today women have an umpteen number of contraceptives to chose from and protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy. Even then, accidents do happen. For the woman who is seeking to start a family the excitement to know whether she has conceived or not, is almost palpable. For both categories, a pregnancy test is used to answer the question - YES or NO.
When a woman is pregnant, her body makes a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which can be detected in urine. This hormone is popularly known as the pregnancy hormone. There are two ways to detect pregnancy, one is blood test and the other is urine test. Both involve the detection of the hCG. The blood test is more sensitive than the urine test and can be used as pregnancy test early after the ovulation.
There are two types of blood tests. A quantitative blood test or the beta hCG test as is known in medical terms, which measures the exact amount of hCG in the blood. This can pick up very small amounts of hCG, making it a very accurate test. Also due to its high sensitivity, it can be used for early detection of pregnancy. A qualitative hCG blood test is a more rudimentary test which only indicates whether you are pregnant or not. This test is more like a urine test in terms of its accuracy.
About a decade ago, the only way to be sure of the results was to have a blood or urine pregnancy test in a pathological lab. Today, women have a variety of choices to find out whether they are pregnant or not right in the privacy of their homes using the help of Home Pregnancy Test kits or HPT kits. These kits come with written easy-to-use instructions and some of them even have toll-free telephone numbers where the women can call with their doubts and questions regarding the use of the kit. The home pregnancy test involves testing the urine for the hCG hormone. Some have a strip which needs to be inserted in urine, some have a stick where a few drops needs to be put for the test, and some other have sticks which have to be kept in the mid-stream of the urine. Basically, they are the same. A few points need to be kept in mind for the test is to be accurate. Firstly, the pregnancy test early after the ovulation may not have enough hCG in the urine and the test may come negative. The best time to use a HPT is about 5-7 days after the period is due (or about 2 weeks after the ovulation). Secondly, one should follow the instruction carefully. Third, no matter what the result is, it should be repeated after a week.
As the home pregnancy test detects the presence of hCG in urine, a positive result indicates the presence of hCG meaning that the woman is pregnant. A pregnancy test negative result indicates that no hCG was detected, hence the woman is not pregnant.
When a woman gets a positive result, she should contact a doctor for advice. In cases when the woman gets repeated home pregnancy test negative results, but still feels that she is pregnant, she should immediately consult a doctor.