Thursday, May 23, 2019

Pregnancy Tests

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A pregnancy test is a method of trying to determine whether or not you are pregnant. The first home test, based on hCG was invented and first used in the mid 1970s. Until then, a number of methods were used to try to determine if a woman was pregnant or not.

Modern pregnancy tests look for certain pregnancy markers that are found either in blood or urine. Usually, a positive test will show just after a week from the fertilization of the egg. There are a lot of types of tests, some more accurate than others. This is due to their sensibility in detecting the beta subunit of hCG.

Another issue with modern tests is the fact that often enough, they are misinterpreted. Studies show that they are about 97% accurate if analyzed by an experienced technician. But when untrained parents try and determine the results shown by the test, the accuracy falls down to 75%.

Impatient mothers may even take the test too early, resulting in a false positive or a false negative. This is because the markers which are supposed to be present in the bloodstream or urine are not high enough to be detected yet, or conception has not taken place whatsoever.

First Response pregnancy test

The First Response pregnancy test refers to a special kind of test that can determine whether you are pregnant or not. What is special about this test is that it can determine this as soon as 6 days earlier than the day of your missed period.

In order to determine how the first response test can do this, we need to talk about how ordinary pregnancy tests work.

About regular pregnancy tests

During your menstrual cycle, your body will go through 3 stages:

  • The follicular phase
  • Ovulation
  • The luteal phase

The average pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks, divided into 3 trimesters. The first trimester starts with week 1 and ends with week 12. Week 1 is the week in which menstruation takes place. It is not until week 2 that your egg can actually be fertilized. By the third week, the sperm would have met the egg in the fallopian tube and the conceiving process begins. During the fourth week, the egg will start travelling towards, and eventually implant itself in the uterus walls.

It is in these weeks (the third and fourth) that your body will begin producing a certain hormone called the human chorionic gonadotropin hormone – hCG in short. The hCG hormone’s main function is to produce progesterone – another hormone that will cause capillaries and blood vessels to form in a thick lining along the uterus. This will help with sustaining the weight of the growing fetus. Also, hCG will stop your immune system from seeing the fetus as an intruder and attack it.

As any hormone, the hCG hormone travels through the blood system. It is actually the hormone that the First Response will be looking for. Its presence and levels in the bloodstream can point out to a possible pregnancy. But you will not need a blood sample in order to test this. Soon after the hCG hormone enters the bloodstream, it will end up in your urine as well. Most tests involve you keeping them under the stream of urine for a few seconds then waiting for the result.

The regular test will use a monoclonal antibody to determine the presence and levels of hCG in your urine. These tests can vary in accuracy due to their sensibility towards these levels of hCG – the thresholds can vary from 20 to 100 mIU/ml – the lower the threshold, the higher the accuracy.

The First Response test is supposed to accurately measure hCG levels in your urine and determine whether you are pregnant or not. It does this on an average of 6 days before you even reach your first missed period. If you had your last period on the 1st of the month, then you should have the next one around the 28th. Conception has occurred somewhere between the 14th and the 24th of the month. So, it means that there are high chances that the hCG hormone will already be present in your urine for the test to detect.

The First Response pregnancy test is said to be 62% accurate if it is done 6 days prior to your expected missed period. Laboratory tests however show a 99% accuracy of the test.

Pregnancy Test with a Physician or Midwife

The best type of test you can take to know for sure whether or not you are in fact pregnant, is a lab test. All you need to do is to call your personal physician or midwife and schedule an appointment. Confirming the home pregnancy test with a blood test can also spare you from unwanted bad news later on.

Online Pregnancy Tests

If you suspect that you are pregnant and for some reason you do not want to spend money on a classic urine test or go to your doctor’s office, an online test could provide some insight.

These kinds of tests rely on the answers you give on several questions. Some websites even offer some fields that you need to fill out with information about your age, your last period and how many times you have had intercourse since your last period. Based on the information you provide, the website will tell you if you are likely to be pregnant or not.

Some of the questions you might encounter on an online pregnancy test are: Whether you are sexually active or not; If you use protection or not during sex; Your menstrual period has been delayed; Whether you have symptoms of pregnancy; If so, what are the symptoms?

Based on the answers you give, the study will tell you how likely it is that you are pregnant or not. Basically it functions like a medical consult done online, without the doctor. One can argue that this kind of method of diagnosis is subjective in nature, for the patient analyzes the symptoms, not an objective doctor. Also, the questions posted usually do not ensure an accurate and complete view over the matter. Some symptoms may come from underlying illnesses.

In worse-case scenarios, you might experience an ectopic pregnancy or tubal pregnancy. The ectopic pregnancy results in many of the symptoms that a normal pregnancy.

Any Online test features a warning, stating that it can only calculate a probability. It should not be taken as a diagnosis or a valid medical advice. These kinds of tests also state that if you suspect yourself to be pregnant and the test does show that you probably are, then you should do a proper urine or blood test to accurately verify this.

Behind every such test stands a basic mathematical calculation which determines the likelihood that you are pregnant. Some of the tests feature a great number of questions to ensure that the response given is as accurate as could be under the circumstances.

All in all, the online test is only a source of guiding yourself in the early stages of a presumed pregnancy. If indeed several of these tests indicate that you are pregnant then it is a good idea to proceed to a urine or blood test. A medical consult is needed only if you experience some severe symptoms and still have doubts regarding your condition.

Again, these tests cannot offer a valid or accurate conclusion. But if you choose to take them, keep in mind that the answers you provide have to be true and accurate. It is also best to take several of these tests and find the ones which feature more questions in order to ensure the best outcome. While they are not necessarily a trustworthy source of medical advice, they can offer some basic insight.

Homemade Pregnancy Tests

A homemade pregnancy test refers to using common household items or other unorthodox methods in determining whether you are pregnant or not. There are a number of such tests that have been used for some time now by women who could not afford a standard test.

There are many women out there who cannot afford or do not want to buy a standard test kit. A homemade test is an alternative, even though the results are far from conclusive. Three homemade tests have grown in popularity: The Pine Sol Test; The Dandelion Test and the Bleach Test – which we will descrive below.

Modern tests test a special marker in either the bloodstream or in the urine. They can offer fairly accurate results in the first 24 hours after conception. A standard test will look for the human chorionic gonadotropin hormone that is released right after conception in the blood stream and then it passes out in the urine as well. Quantities of this particular hormone are measured and detected by the test, giving you the answer regarding whether you are pregnant or not. Accuracy of a standard kit varies between 75% and 93%.

Up until the 1960s, a different kind of test was used to diagnose a pregnancy. A certain species of frog was used – the South African clawed frog. Urine from a suspected pregnant woman was injected into the frog’s dorsal lymph sac. If the frog would then lay eggs in the next eight to twelve hours, then the woman was pregnant. As modern tests, the frog’s body was detecting hCG in the urine and it reacted by laying eggs.

The Pine-Sol test

In order to make this test, you will need a certain pine oil based product called Pine-Sol. This product has in its composition an essential oil that comes from certain pine trees. It is usually used as either a cleaning product or a lubricant agent. It is said that if you mix a sample of urine with the Pine-Sol and the mixture starts changing color, then it means you are pregnant.

The Dandelion Test

This homemade pregnancy test is probably the most popular of the three. All you need are leaves from a dandelion flower. Be sure to pick them from the stem and lay them down on a piece of plastic foil, away from sunlight or moisture. After you have gathered enough leaves, pour the urine sample over them, making sure you have properly covered all of them. After a while, if you are pregnant, some red spots are said to appear on the leaves, giving them a reddish color.

The Bleach Test

The bleach test is the most dangerous of the homemade tests. It involves pouring bleach into a container, then mixing the urine in as well. If the substance starts to fizz and turns white, then it means you are pregnant. This method is very dangerous because when you mix urine and bleach, noxious gases will be released. Overexposure to these gases can be fatal.

A homemade test is a very unreliable method of determining accurately whether you are pregnant or not. It can be dangerous for both you and the baby in some instances (the bleach test) or it can result in a false negative or false positive, shattering your expectations. A standard, modern pregnancy test kit which you can take at home is the way to go in order to get an accurate answer.

What To Do If Your Test Is Positive?

A positive test usually means that congratulations are in order! Now comes the hard part that requires time, patience and dedication. But before we get to that, there are some things you need to know about tests, because they are not 100% accurate.

After everything is confirmed, start preparing yourself emotionally. Tell your partner, family, and friends. You will need all the support you can get. Your body will go through a lot of changes which you will have to deal with on an emotional level as well.

Mood swings, weight gain, morning sickness, cravings for certain foods and enhanced sensibility to smell are just a few of the many early pregnancy symptoms that may appear as soon as the first week of pregnancy. Going through all these abrupt changes will take their toll on your overall state of mind.

It is important that after confirming a positive pregnancy test you start up on reading and gathering information about the certain specifics of each trimester. This will help you know what to expect and to be aware of what you should look out for. There are several complications that usually occur in the first trimester and knowing about what these are could lead to a healthy, normal pregnancy.

Also, start keeping a baby calendar. This way you will be able to actively follow changes that are taking place in your body and with the baby as well. Strengthening the bond between you and your baby even before birth can lead to a better approach in raising your child afterward.

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Jennifer Olson
A mother of three, lover of children and keeping them (and us adults!) as healthy as can be. I have worked as a midwife and nurse for 12 years. Email: [email protected]

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