If you suspect that you’re pregnant, the first natural step you’ll likely want to take is an at-home pregnancy test. But, in addition to any anxiety you may be feeling about the potential for a pregnancy, there are  questions such as “How do I know if a pregnancy test is reliable?” or “How early can I take a pregnancy test?”

Read this guide for an in-depth understanding of how pregnancy tests work, how to calculate the best time to take a pregnancy test, and what other health screenings we recommend after a pregnancy test.

How Do Pregnancy Tests Work?

The pregnancy tests you purchase at a pharmacy are designed to test your urine. If you want to do a blood test, you must visit a clinic.

The most common type, the at-home pregnancy tests, are designed with a reactive strip that will detect Human chorionic gonadotropin hCG, a hormone produced exclusively in your urine. If this is detectable, then the pregnancy test will read as positive.

How Accurate are At-Home Pregnancy Tests?

As long as the tests are used correctly and are not expired or defective, they boast up to 99% accuracy. However, there are two factors to consider when reading the results.

Taking the test too early will give a false negative because there hasn’t been enough time for your body to produce high enough levels of hCG.

Even in the event of a positive pregnancy test, 26% of known pregnancies end in a miscarriage. This statistic means that even if the test accurately confirms the presence of the hCG hormone, you could have miscarried, but the levels have not yet decreased due to the miscarriage.

At Crystal Women’s Clinic, we offer lab-quality pregnancy testing and ultrasound, which can help confirm your pregnancy and determine its progress with a digital image via sonogram.

When Should I Take a Pregnancy Test for the Most Accurate Results?

According to the Mayo Clinic, taking it a day after your first missed period is best. If you wait or test again after a few more days, it will have even greater accuracy because the hCG levels double every 2-3 days and are more detectable.

What are My Next Steps?

Whether you were trying to get pregnant or if this is a complete surprise, the suspense of not knowing if you’re pregnant can be nerve-wracking. At Crystal Women’s Clinic, we help you with emotional support and practical resources.

Contact us for a free, lab-quality pregnancy test, ultrasound, or an options consultation where you can process your feelings and get information about your options. You are not alone!

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