All about pregnancy signs and symptoms of pregnancy pregnancy tests home pregnancy test pregnancy stages first trimester of pregnancy second trimester of pregnancy third trimester of pregnancy calculating pregnancy due date prenatal diagnosis healthy pregnancy diet nutrition during pregnancy exercise during pregnancy spotting during pregnancy bleeding during pregnancy smoking during pregnancy sex during pregnancy prenatal care teenage pregnancy twins and multiple births childbirth obstetrics pregnancy ultrasound Chinese lunar pregnancy calendar (Chinese gender chart) fertility charting ovulation: calendar, prediction, test getting pregnant gender selection prenatal tests genetic screening genetic counseling birth control (contraception, pregnancy prevention) male condoms female condoms diaphragm cervical cap birth control pills Norplant Depo Provera spermicides emergency contraceptive pill (morning-after pill) natural family planning intrauterine device (IUD) birth control patch sterilization (vasectomy) fertility awareness method (FAM) abstinence pre-eclampsia, eclampsia HELLP syndrome intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) premature birth stillbirth Caesarean section preterm labor Rh incompatibility (erythroblastosis fetalis) ectopic pregnancy pregnancy diabetes (gestational diabetes) group B strep morning sickness (NVP) hyperemesis gravidarum miscarriage (spontaneous abortion) postpartum hemorrhage pregnancy-induced hypertension Pica
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Home pregnancy test
A home pregnancy test measures the presence of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine. HCG, which is produced in the placenta shortly after the embryo attaches to the uterine lining, builds up rapidly in your body in the first few days following implantation. A home pregnancy tests are able to detect a pregnancy as early as 4-5 days after conception. However, that does not mean that every pregnancy may be detected this early because of a couple of factors: Ovulation, or when the ovary releases an egg to be fertilized occurs 14 days prior to the onset of the next period. How long that egg is viable to become fertilized is variable. Sperm may live in the vaginal/uterine environment for several days.
Therefore, the time an egg is fertilized may not correspond to last episode of intercourse. Generally, it is recommended that a home pregnancy test is accurate in detecting a pregnancy 14 days after the last episode of intercourse. However, if a period is missed or you are experiencing some of the typical signs of pregnancy, I always recommend repeating the test several days later. There are more accurate blood tests that may be done at your doctor's office or family planning center.
All home pregnancy test kits test your pregnancy on the basis of your urine sample. The procedure may vary from one kit to another. Some kits have a chemical solution which you mix with a few drops of urine (preferably early morning sample). Others have a tube which can be either dipped in a sterile container with your urine sample or can be held in your urine flow while urinating. Depending on the type of kit used, a positive result could either be a change of colour or a line in a specific window in the tube. All tests check for the presence of hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin) hormone in your body. This hormone is produced by the growing embryo about a week after conception. The presence or absence of this hormone in your body determines a positive or a negative result.
Not all pregnancy tests are created equal. Some are more sensitive - and consequently, more expensive - because they can detect pregnancy even if you have only a small amount of hCG in your system. Concentrations of hCG are reported in milliInternational Units (mIU) or amounts equal to 1/1000th of an IU per millilitre. A test with a sensitivity of 20 IU/L is more sensitive than one with 50 IU/L. You should be able to find this information on any home pregnancy test box.
There are three basic types of home pregnancy tests: The most common types of home pregnancy tests use a test strip or dipstick that you either hold in the urine stream or dip into a sample of urine. An area on the end of the dipstick or test strip changes color if hCG is present, meaning you are pregnant. A second type uses a urine collection cup or well with a testing device. To use this type of test, you place several drops of urine into a well in the testing device or you immerse the well into urine that has been collected in a cup. An area of the device changes color if hCG is present, meaning you are pregnant. A third, less common type of test involves mixing a sample of urine in several tubes or cups with a powder or liquid to produce a chemical reaction. The presence of hCG causes a chemical reaction that produces a color change. The color of the resulting mixture is then compared against a color comparison strip.
For most home pregnancy tests, you either hold a test strip in your urine stream or you collect your urine in a cup and dip your test strip into the cup. If you are pregnant, most test strips produce a colored line, but this will depend on the brand you purchased. Read the instructions for the test you bought and follow them carefully. Make sure you know how to get good results. The test usually takes only about 5 minutes. The different tests for sale vary in their abilities to detect low levels of hCG. For the most reliable results, test 1-2 weeks after you miss your period. There are some tests for sale that are sensitive enough to show you are pregnant before you miss your period.
You can improve your chances for an accurate result by using your first morning urine for the test. If you are pregnant, it will have more hCG in it than later urines. If you think you are pregnant, but your first test was negative, you can take the test again after several days. Since the amount of hCG increases rapidly when you are pregnant, you may get a positive test on later days. Some test kits come with more than one test in them to allow you to repeat the test.
In a very early pregnancy, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) may not be detected by a home pregnancy test kit. In this case, the test kit may indicate that you are not pregnant when you really are pregnant. This is called a false-negative result. Using urine produced after drinking a lot of liquid (dilute urine) may also cause a false-negative result. Detergent or soap residue in the urine collection cup may cause the test results to indicate that you are pregnant when are not pregnant. This is called a false-positive result. False-positive results may also be caused by reading the test at the wrong time, exposing the test equipment to heat, sunlight, or vibration, having excess protein or blood in the urine, or having hCG hormone in the urine from some other cause (such as a very rare type of ovarian or placental cancer). Certain medications, such as chlorpromazine hydrochloride (Thorazine) and methadone hydrochloride (Dolophine, Methadose), may also interfere with pregnancy test results.
Some home pregnancy tests are easier to use and read than others. Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) can be detected in blood before it is detectable in the urine. A blood test can confirm a pregnancy about 6 days after the fertilized egg implants into the uterus (even before a missed menstrual period). For more information, see the medical test Human Chorionic Gonadotropin.
Many women are able to tell if they are pregnant simply by observing their bodily changes. A missed menstrual period, breast tenderness, morning nausea, and fatigue may be early signs of pregnancy. However, a home pregnancy test can confirm pregnancy when a menstrual period is late. Some doctors may insist on doing another pregnancy test in their laboratories to confirm the pregnancy before beginning prenatal care. If you are thinking of becoming pregnant, consider changes in your nutrition (such as avoiding alcohol and taking a vitamin containing folic acid) to reduce the risk of birth defects. Good nutrition before and during your pregnancy can help improve both your health and the health of your baby. Early confirmation of pregnancy can be very useful. It may allow you to start proper prenatal care during the first month of pregnancy, when the risk of harm to the fetus is greatest. Or, if the pregnancy is unwanted, an early confirmation of pregnancy can help you arrange for an abortion within a few weeks after you become pregnant. A medical abortion is most effective within the first 7 weeks (first trimester) of pregnancy.
Home pregnancy tests (HPTs) are very accurate. Most brands of HPTs say they are 97% to 99% accurate, but this can vary with actual use. Each brand varies in how sensitive it is in picking up the pregnancy hormone hCG. If a test is not done correctly, it will be less accurate. And, always check the package to make sure it is not past its expiration date - if it is, it will not be accurate. Most brands of HPTs tell users to do the test again in a few days, no matter what the results.
If you use an HPT too early in your pregnancy, you may not have enough of the pregnancy hormone hCG in your urine to have a positive test result. Most HPTs will be accurate if you test yourself around the time your period is due (about 2 weeks after you ovulate, or release an egg from your ovary). You can get a negative test result if you are not pregnant or if you ovulated later than you thought you did. You may also have problems with the pregnancy, which affects the amount of hCG you have in your urine. If your HPT is negative, test yourself again within a few days to 1 week. If you keep getting a negative result and think you are pregnant, talk with a health care provider right away.
More information on pregnancy
Pregnancy - Pregnancy is period of time between fertilization of the ovum (conception) and birth, during which mammals carry their developing young in the uterus (see embryo).
Pregnancy signs and symptoms - During pregnancy a woman's body undergoes a number of changes to allow the fetus to develop inside the womb. The symptoms of pregnancy vary from woman to woman.
Pregnancy tests - A pregnancy test is a test of blood or urine used to determine whether a woman is pregnant. There are two types of pregnancy tests - blood and urine tests.
Home pregnancy test - A home pregnancy test measures the presence of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine. All home pregnancy test kits test your pregnancy on the basis of your urine sample.
Pregnancy stages - There are three stages of pregnancy called trimesters. Each trimester is three months. The word "trimester" comes from a Latin word meaning "three months long."
First trimester of pregnancy - First trimester pregnancy is the early stage of pregnancy from conception to 12 weeks gestation, or about 14 weeks from the first day of the last normal menstrual period (LNMP).
Second trimester of pregnancy - In the second trimester the embryo, now known as a fetus, is recognisable as human in form, but is not developed enough to be viable if born. The second trimester is often called the planning trimester.
Third trimester of pregnancy - The third trimester of pregnancy lasts from 28 weeks after your last menstrual period (LMP) until the birth, which usually occurs between the 38th and 42nd weeks of pregnancy.
Calculating pregnancy due date - The due date is usually computed from the first day of the last regular period. In the calendar, this can be figured by taking that date, subtracting three months, and adding seven days.
Prenatal diagnosis - Prenatal diagnosis is the process of detecting and diagnosing fetal abnormalities before birth. A targeted prenatal diagnosis is done when there is a concrete suspicion that there might be a particular disorder.
Healthy pregnancy diet - A balanced diet is key to having a healthy pregnancy. Pregnancy places substantial demands on the availability of iron in the body.
Nutrition during pregnancy - Nutrition is an essential component of prenatal care. During pregnancy, your body needs more nutrients in order to provide a baby with what it needs. Eat enough food to gain weight at the rate recommended by your health care provider.
Exercise during pregnancy - Exercise plays an important role in promoting health and well-being for pregnant women. Excessive levels of physical activity in pregnancy can reduce fetal growth and increase the risk of preterm delivery.
Spotting during pregnancy - Spotting is light bleeding similar to your period and it can happen at any time during pregnancy, but it is most common during the first trimester.
Bleeding during pregnancy - Bleeding from the vagina in early pregnancy is very common. First trimester bleeding is any vaginal bleeding during the first 3 months of pregnancy.
Smoking during pregnancy - Cigarette smoking during pregnancy can cause serious health problems to an unborn child. Many complications of pregnancy are more likely to occur in smokers.
Sex during pregnancy - Sex and sexual intercourse are not harmful during pregnancy. For most women and their partners, sex during pregnancy is fine as long as both partners consent and are comfortable.
Prenatal care - Prenatal care is the health care that a woman receives before her baby is born. Prenatal care is provided for women during the period between conception and birth of the baby.
Teenage pregnancy - Teenage pregnancy is a pregnancy that occurs in an adolescent. Babies born to teenagers are at risk for neglect and abuse.
Twins and multiple birth - Multiple pregnancies are on the rise in recent years with more and more twins and other types of multiples being born. A multiple birth is when more than one human baby results from a single pregnancy.
Childbirth - Childbirth (also called labour, birth, or parturition) is the culmination of pregnancy, the emergence of a child from its mother's uterus.
Obstetrics - Obstetrics is the surgical specialty dealing with the care of a woman and her offspring during pregnancy, childbirth and the puerperium (the period shortly after birth).
Pregnancy ultrasound - Pregnancy ultrasound is a method of imaging the fetus and the female pelvic organs during pregnancy.
Chinese lunar pregnancy calendar - The Chinese pregnancy calendar was allegedly discovered about 700 years ago. The accuracy of the chart has been proved by thousands of people and is believed to be 99 percent accurate.
Fertility charting - Fertility charting allows you to predict ovulation, pinpoint your most fertile time in your cycle, and increase your chances of becoming pregnant.
Ovulation: calendar, prediction, test - Ovulation is the process of discharging a mature ovum (egg) from an ovary after a Graafian follicle - representing the final stage of follicular development before ovulation - has been formed.
Getting pregnant - The best or most fertile time to get pregnant is the period of ovulation in your menstrual cycle. Most women ovulate (release an egg from the ovary) about two weeks before their period.
Gender selection - There are three main techniques of sex selection: pre-natal testing and termination of pregnancy, pre-implantation genetic testing of embryos, and sperm sorting.
Prenatal tests - Prenatal tests are one of the many ways your practitioner can check on the well-being of your growing baby and find out whether you're at risk for complications.
Genetic screening - Genetic screening is a process used to find out what diseases or birth defects a child might inherit from his or her parents.
Genetic counseling - Genetic counseling is the process of determining the risk you have of passing on an inheritable disease to your baby.
Birth control (contraception, pregnancy prevention) - Birth control is the practice of preventing or reducing the probability of pregnancy without abstaining from sexual intercourse; the term is also sometimes used to include abortion.
Male condoms - Condoms are thin barriers made of latex, plastic, or natural membranes. The male condom fits over a man's penis. The female condom fits inside a woman's vagina.
Female condoms - The female condom is a polyurethane sheath or pouch about 17 cm (6.5 inches) in length. It is worn by a woman during sex.
Diaphragm - A diaphragm is a rubber disc a woman places into her vagina. The diaphragm blocks a man's semen from entering the cervix (the opening to the womb).
Cervical cap - The cervical cap is a small latex cup that a woman inserts into her vagina before sexual intercourse. The cervical cap fits snugly over the woman's cervix.
Birth control pills - The birth control pill is a small, usually white, tablet that is taken orally (by mouth). The pill usually comes in a packet that has days marked off for a cycle lasting about a month.
Norplant - Contraceptive implants (Norplant?) are six match stick size implants inserted into the upper arm. Norplant is a form of progestin that is placed under the skin.
Depo Provera - Depo Provera is a hormone, much like the progesterone a woman produces during the last two weeks of each monthly cycle. Depo-Provera or progesterone stops the woman's ovaries from releasing an egg.
Spermicides - Spermicides are chemicals that make the sperm unable to function. Spermicide can be used alone or with other birth control methods to reduce the risk of pregnancy.
Emergency contraceptive pill - Emergency contraception is the use of certain methods after unprotected intercourse to prevent pregnancy.
Natural family planning - Natural family planning is defined as the understanding and use of the natural phases of fertility and infertility by a couple in order to either achieve or avoid pregnancy.
Intrauterine device (IUD) - An intrauterine device (intra meaning within, and uterine meaning of the uterus), is a birth control device also known as an IUD or a coil.
Birth control patch - The birth control patch is a thin plastic patch (1 3/4 inch square) placed directly on the skin of the woman. It is a hormonal method of contraception obtained by prescription.
Sterilization (vasectomy) - Sterilization is a surgical technique leaving a male or female unable to procreate. It is a method of birth control.
Fertility awareness method (FAM) - Fertility awareness is a means of understanding a woman's reproductive cycle by observing and writing down fertility signs.
Abstinence - Periodic abstinence is a way that sexually active women prevent pregnancy by becoming familiar with their fertility patterns and abstaining from vaginal intercourse on the days they think they could become pregnant.
Pre-eclampsia, eclampsia - Pre-eclampsia is a condition which only occurs during pregnancy. It causes high blood pressure, protein leaks from the kidneys, and other symptoms may develop.
HELLP Syndrome - The HELLP syndrome is a complication of pregnancy featuring a combination of abnormal conditions including emolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count.
Intrauterine growth restriction - Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) refers to the condition in which a foetus is unable to grow to its genetically determined potential size to a degree that may affect the health of the foetus.
Premature birth - Premature birth is defined medically as a birth occurring earlier than 37 weeks. Infants born prematurely have an increased risk of death in the first year of life.
Stillbirth - Stillbirth refers to the death of a baby after 24 weeks of pregnancy but before birth. A pregnancy that ends before the twentieth week is called a miscarriage rather than a stillbirth.
Caesarean section - A Caesarean section (Cesarean section AE), is a surgical procedure to deliver one or more babies through an incision in the mother's abdomen and uterus.
Preterm labor - Preterm labor, or premature labor, is when the uterus (womb) contracts and the cervix opens earlier than normal.
Rh incompatibility - Rh incompatibility is a condition that occurs when the mother of a fetus or newborn has Rh-negative blood type and the fetus or newborn has Rh-positive blood.
Ectopic pregnancy - An ectopic pregnancy is one in which the fertilized ovum is implanted in any tissue other than the uterine wall.
Pregnancy diabetes (gestational diabetes) - Gestational diabetes is a condition in which the glucose level is elevated and other diabetic symptoms appear during pregnancy in a woman who has not previously been diagnosed with diabetes.
Group B strep - Group B streptococcus (group B strep) is a type of bacteria that causes infection among newborns, pregnant women or women after childbirth.
Morning sickness (NVP) - Morning sickness, also called nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (NVP), affects between 50 and 85 percent of all pregnant women.
Hyperemesis gravidarum - Hyperemesis gravidarum means excessive vomiting during pregnancy. The severe vomiting associated with hyperemesis gravidarum requires medical attention.
Miscarriage (spontaneous abortion) - Miscarriage is the term used for a pregnancy that ends on it's own, within the first 20 weeks of gestation.
Postpartum hemorrhage - Postpartum bleeding (severe postpartum bleeding) is the loss of more than a pint of blood within the first 24 hours after delivering a baby.
Pregnancy-induced hypertension - Pregnancy-induced hypertension (also referred to as toxemia, preeclampsia and eclampsia) is a condition that may develop during the second half of a woman's pregnancy.
Pica - Pica is a pattern of eating non-nutritive substances (such as dirt or paper), lasting for at least one month.