Know how you can Determine your Pregnancy with Tests

May 13, 2011

Quick Bites:
  • Confirm about your pregnancy with the help of home pregnancy kits.
  • You could also do that from a clinic.
  • Check the symptoms of pregnancy to know when to take tests.
  • The tests check for level of hCG in the woman.

Is it the BIG news? You might be completely clueless whether you are pregnant or not until the time you miss a period.


Tests to Determine PregnancyWatch out for the below mentioned symptoms of pregnancy and try a home pregnancy kit to be sure about the coming bump! All the symptoms might not be present in an expecting woman so confirm the news with the help of a home pregnancy test.


Home Pregnancy Test

You can confirm your doubts of pregnancy with the help of home pregnancy kits which are available over-the-counter and have an accuracy of almost hundred percent. Home pregnancy kits detect the presence of the hormone human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) in the urine. This hormone is secreted when the fertilized egg implants in the uterus, levels of hCG keep rising and is at its peak in the second and third month of pregnancy.


When to use a Home Pregnancy Test

  • You can use a home pregnancy kit as soon as you have missed your period although mostly women wait for a few days before going for a test.
  • Some pregnancy kits are more sensitive than others in detecting levels of hCG, that even small amounts of this hormone can be detected.
  • Though these sensitive kits can be used before you miss a period but the risk margin is always high, meaning the chances of inaccurate reading are more.
  • Mostly the first urine sample in the day is used for testing as the levels of hormone hCG is concentrated and high making the reading more accurate.
  • Read the instructions on the label carefully as different kits have different methods of testing although they work on the same principle. A home pregnancy kit will show you the results within five minutes.


Reasons for Negative Results

  • You may not be pregnant.
  • It may mean that you have taken the test too early. You would have tried the test before the first day of a missed period.
  • Erratic menstrual cycle leading to miscalculation of impending period.
  • First urine sample in the morning is not used for testing.
  • Your body has not yet produced enough hCG hormone which can be detected.
  • Late ovulation leading to delayed fertilisation of the egg.
  • If you strongly suspect a pregnancy while your home pregnancy kit shows a negative result, it is advisable to repeat the test after three or four days.


Symptoms of Pregnancy

  • Changes in the breasts: One of the first pregnancy symptoms is marked by tender and swollen breasts. The breasts become fuller and sensitive to touch, quite similar to what is experienced before menstruation. Breast tenderness is accompanied with darkening of skin around the nipples (areola) and veins become more visible in the breasts.
  • Fatigue: Expecting mothers often experience exhaustion which happens due to massive increase in the hormone progesterone. Feelings of tiredness may disappear by the fourth month of pregnancy but reoccurs later during the pregnancy due to carrying the additional weight and also due to insufficient and interrupted sleep.
  • Missed period: The absence of period is one of the early signs of possible pregnancy. Having a regular menstrual cycle and eventually missing a period is a strong sign while an erratic menstrual cycle will be of no help. There might be other reasons of a missed period such as stress, illness and hormonal imbalances. Check whether you have other pregnancy related symptoms.
  • Morning sickness: Most expecting women experience morning sickness which is characterized by vomiting and nausea. It might occur anytime of the day and happens in the first few months of pregnancy. It may go away after the fourth month of pregnancy while in some it may stay a month more.

Diagonistic Tests

First trimester

  • Physical check up (pelvic exam, Pap smear): An overall assessment of an expectant woman is done to check the proper functioning of vital organs such as heart, thyroid and ruling out any infections. An obstetrical examination of the uterus and pelvic cavity is performed to check abnormal cell growth and presence of infections.
  • Screening Tests: Screening tests involves a blood test and ultrasound to help identify potential risk of chromosomal defects such as Down’s syndrome.
  • Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS): This test involves analyzing a sample of cells taken from placenta to detect chromosomal defects and genetic disorders.

Second Trimester

  • Amniocentesis: Amniotic fluid taken from the uterus is studied for chromosomal disorders, neural tube defects and genetic disorders.
  • Multiple Marker Screening: Multiple Marker Screening is a blood test to screen potential genetic disorders and chromosomal abnormality.
  • Maternal Serum Alpha-Fetoprotein Screening (MSAFP): It is a series of blood test done to assess the chances of potential genetic disorders and chromosomal abnormalities.
  • Percutaneous Umbilical Cord Sampling (PUBS): Blood from the umbilical cord is extracted for analysis to detect chromosome abnormalities and blood disorders.

Third Trimester

  • Fetal Non-Stress Test: This is done to monitor the fetal heart rate in response to fetal movement with the help of fetal monitor. The reason behind this test is to see whether appropriate amount of oxygen is reaching the fetus. This test is done during reduced fetal movement and pregnancy which has gone beyond the due date.
  • Group B Streptococcus swab: Vaginal and rectum swabs are taken of a mother which is then cultured in the lab to check the presence of strep B infection (bacterial). A mother can pass the infection to the baby during delivery which can prove to be dangerous for the baby. Although, this test is routinely done in the USA it is not a commonly done test in India.
  • Bio-physical Profile (BPP): This test is done to check the health of the fetus. Ultrasound and fetal monitor studies the fetal heart rate and movement. It also checks the breathing, muscle tone and optimum presence of amniotic fluid.
  • Heightened sense of smell: Pregnancy can make you increasingly sensitive to smell and odours can overpower you. Certain foods which were appetising earlier may seem repulsive at this stage.
  • Abdominal bloating: Pregnancy can result in flatulence and general unrest of the gastrointestinal tract. This happens due to high levels of hormone progesterone which affects digestion by relaxing muscles of the body including the gastrointestinal tract. Heartburn and acidity are coupled with abdominal bloating.
  • Increased frequency of urination: Pregnancy results in increased levels of body fluids which in turn results in increased kidney function. This symptom continues and increases as pregnancy advances due to the increased pressure from the swelling uterus on the bladder.
  • Continued elevated basal body temperature: If you have been charting your ovulation and monitoring your basal body temperature, an observation of continued high basal temperature for a fortnight or more may indicate pregnancy.
  • Mood swings: Changes in the mood may be experienced similar to what is experienced few days prior to menstruation. Irritability, depression and elation are the various feelings one may undergo due to hormonal changes.
  • Food cravings: Many pregnant women have cravings for a particular food product while many may find their favourite food repulsive.

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