How Does a Pregnancy Test Work?

Your Midwife from Amsterdam South Explains

Do you suspect you might be pregnant? Then, of course, you’ll want to take a pregnancy test. We’ll explain how it works and what to look out for in this blog. And if you get a positive result, make an appointment with a midwife right away so you can receive proper care and have all your pregnancy-related questions answered.

When to Test After Ovulation?

As you may already know, a pregnancy test is a urine test. It detects the presence of the pregnancy hormone hCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, in your urine. A regular pregnancy test can detect this hormone from the day you expect your period. On average, this is around 28 days after the start of your last menstrual period, or about 14 days after ovulation.

Testing with an Irregular Cycle

If your menstrual cycle is irregular, the 28-day rule may not apply to you. In that case, look at the longest cycle you’ve had in the past six months and add one day. That’s the day when you can take a pregnancy test.

hCG, the Pregnancy Hormone

The hormone being measured, hCG, is produced by your body once the fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine wall. This attachment typically occurs around the middle of your cycle, but the amount of hCG in your body at that time is usually too low to be detected by a regular pregnancy test. That’s why the general advice is to wait until the day you expect your period. At that point, there should be enough hCG in your urine for a positive result.

Early Pregnancy Tests

As we’ve mentioned before, there are early pregnancy tests available. You can take these tests about 6 to 4 days before you expect your period. The key difference between these early tests and regular pregnancy tests is that early pregnancy tests are ultra-sensitive and can detect much smaller amounts of hCG in your urine. The exact timing for using an early pregnancy test may vary by brand, so always check the packaging. Keep in mind that a negative result on these tests may not necessarily be accurate, but a positive result is highly reliable. So, while these tests are reliable, a negative result doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not pregnant.

To Early Test or Not?

While early pregnancy tests may seem ideal, they’re not for everyone. Most miscarriages occur very early in pregnancy, often before 4 weeks. If you haven’t taken an early test, you may simply consider it a normal menstrual period. Not everyone wants to be consciously aware of such early pregnancies.

Use Morning Urine

Whether you’re taking an early test or a regular pregnancy test, it’s best to use morning urine because it contains the highest concentration of hCG. So, if you want to be as sure as possible, test in the morning.

How to Perform the Pregnancy Test

Performing the test is straightforward. In the morning, go to the toilet, briefly urinate on the pregnancy test stick, and lay it flat. Wait for the specified duration, which is indicated on the packaging, and the result will appear in the test window.

What If You’re Unsure About the Test Result?

If you’re uncertain about the result of the pregnancy test, wait a few days and take the test again. Alternatively, you can make an appointment with our midwifery practice. We’re always here to assist you and provide advice.

Are You Pregnant? Or Do You Have Test-Related Questions? Visit Our Midwifery Practice!

Once you have a positive pregnancy test, you can immediately schedule an appointment with our midwifery practice for your first consultation. And if you’re not pregnant but have questions or would like to get to know us, you’re more than welcome to visit. We look forward to seeing you soon! You can find us in Amsterdam South on Churchilllaan and Willemsparkweg.