Could you be pregnant? If you’re thinking it’s a possibility, you’re not alone. Unexpected pregnancies happen to women from all walks of life. And no matter what your situation is, the best first step in pregnancy confirmation is to take a pregnancy test.
Pregnancy tests are remarkably accurate at determining whether or not you’re pregnant, but only when you follow the instructions and use them correctly. If you want to be safe, you can also take a free pregnancy test at Embrace, no appointment needed. Come in during our walk-in hours for your free laboratory quality pregnancy test.
How A Pregnancy Test Works
If you’ve ever been to the family planning aisle in a drugstore or pharmacy, you know that there are dozens of different brands of pregnancy tests with a variety of features: easy-to-read screens, fast results, simple use, and so on. However, despite their differences, all these tests work the same way at their core.
Virtually every over-the-counter pregnancy test is a test for a specific hormone in your body – human chorionic gonadotropin, or HCG. In healthy adults, HCG is only produced during pregnancy, which is why it is used for simple and accurate pregnancy tests.
When your body begins producing HCG, it is absorbed into your bloodstream. From there, it also passes into your kidneys and eventually ends up in your urine. This is why home pregnancy tests are urine-based – they work by detecting the amount of HCG in your urine. Some pregnancy tests are more sensitive than others, but that doesn’t make the less sensitive ones unreliable. They simply may not be able to detect your pregnancy as early as others.
Most OTC pregnancy tests are over 99% effective when used properly. If you do get a positive pregnancy result from an OTC test, a pregnancy clinic or doctor’s office can give you an ultrasound to check for a fetal heartbeat and confirm your pregnancy.
When to Take a Pregnancy Test
Unfortunately, you can’t take a pregnancy test immediately after having sex and see if you are pregnant. HCG hormone takes time to build up in your bloodstream. Most women need to wait until after they miss their period to confirm if they are pregnant. Some pregnancy tests can work sooner, and are able to detect HCG in your body 7 to 12 days after the fertilized egg has implanted in your uterus.
If you take a test before your body has adequate HCG levels, you probably won’t get an accurate result. In other words, a “Negative” result could just be due to not waiting long enough.
To ensure an accurate result, you should wait at least 2 to 3 weeks after having sex to take a pregnancy test. It’s also best to take a pregnancy test in the morning, since the HCG hormone builds up in your body overnight.
Signs You Should Take a Pregnancy Test
If you aren’t sure whether you could be pregnant, there are several signs and symptoms of pregnancy you should look for. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- A missed period
- Sore, swollen, or sensitive breasts
- Frequent nausea
- Muscle pain or weakness
- More frequent need to urinate
Pregnancy symptoms differ from woman to woman, but if you’re experiencing any of the above, consider taking a pregnancy test or call Embrace for your free pregnancy confirmation appointment.
Free Pregnancy Testing Services
Whether you’re excited for this potential pregnancy or unsure, the best first step is always to take a test. Even if the results aren’t what you were hoping for, it’s important information as you make your pregnancy decision.
At Embrace, we provide free pregnancy testing services for all women. If you think you could be pregnant, simply stop by for a walk-in pregnancy test or give us a call at (316)-945-9400. Our services – and your results – are completely confidential and 100% free.
The content on this page has been reviewed and approved by Sharon Lessig our advanced practice registered nurse.