The earliest time to be certain
Desire to have children> get pregnant
Pregnant or not? If you want to get pregnant, you want to know as soon as possible whether it worked. When is the right time to take a pregnancy test? What tests are there and how safe are they? And what if the test is negative and the period is still a long time coming? We have the answers!
When is a pregnancy test possible? This also depends on the type of test. Photo: laflor, iStock, Getty Images
Did it work out? Anyone who wants to get pregnant would like to know what is going on right away. A pregnancy test provides clarity – but only after a certain point in time. In principle, there are two different ways to determine a pregnancy: the urine test and the blood test. Every woman can carry out urine tests independently, because the corresponding tests are available in almost all pharmacies and supermarkets. Your specialist doctor, on the other hand, will carry out the blood test.
When can pregnancy be proven?
Pregnant or Not Pregnant? If you test yourself, a commercially available pregnancy test will provide the answer. Such a urine test becomes more informative the further the pregnancy has progressed. Most tests give reliable results from the day you miss your period. On the other hand, a so-called early pregnancy test can provide a result from around five days before the expected menstrual period. According to experts, a positive result can only be assessed as certain on the second day after the expected menstrual period has ceased to exist.
It is different with the test at the gynecologist: With a blood test, an existing pregnancy can be determined a week before the expected bleeding. Pregnancy can be proven from the point in time at which the egg cell, which has already grown into a multicellular blastocyst, has implanted in the mucous membrane of the uterus. This usually happens on the fifth or sixth day after conception. Evidence is based on the presence of the pregnancy-sustaining hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) in the blood and urine. hCG prevents menstruation and is formed by the cells of the blastocyst, which later form the child’s part of the placenta.
What the HCG value says
The concentration of the hormone hCG in blood and urine is given in the unit IU / ml (international units per milliliter). The binding amount of hormones in such an international unit is around 0.00006 milligrams. In non-pregnant women, the HCG value is usually below 5 IU / ml. This value rises slowly and then rapidly in the blood of pregnant women and reaches its maximum in the eighth to tenth week of pregnancy with concentrations of up to 290,000 IU / ml.
How to test yourself
Whether early test or normal pregnancy test: Most of the pregnancy tests offered work on the same principle. The enclosed test stick is dipped into a container with urine for a few seconds or held directly in the urine stream. After about five minutes, the result can be seen in the control window or on the test strip: If the test was carried out correctly, lines appear. Depending on the result, one or two.
If two lines appear in the control window, the result is positive. If only one dash appears, it means that the test works and the result is negative. So you are not pregnant in that case. Nevertheless, read the package insert for the pregnancy test carefully before each use in order to avoid application errors.
When does an early pregnancy test work?
An early pregnancy test has a sensitivity of 10 to 25 IU / ml, so it can prove an existing pregnancy with luck on the fourth day before the next expected period. However, false negative results are still relatively common this early because the concentration of the hormone increases significantly during this time and varies from woman to woman.
How sure is the test result?
If you do a urine test yourself, you may get a false negative result. The result is also not always clear, because, for example, only slight discoloration can appear in the control window, which can still indicate pregnancy. The reason for this is a (still) low hCG value. However, since the value increases every day, it is advisable to repeat the test after a few days or to consult a doctor.
By the way, most tests work better if you haven’t had anything to drink for a long time. Then the hCG concentration in the urine corresponds most precisely to the concentration in the blood. This is why it makes sense to use morning urine. Usual pregnancy tests can generally detect hCG from 50 IU / ml and are recommended for use from the day you expect your period.
What can lead to a false negative result:
While a positive pregnancy test makes it very unlikely that you are not pregnant, the situation is different with a negative result. When a pregnancy test can reliably prove whether a woman is pregnant depends on the sensitivity with which it reacts to hCG.
But the female body does not exactly adhere to average values. Ovulation can be premature or delayed. The increase in hCG also varies from woman to woman. Here it helps to simply repeat the test after a few days with morning urine, because this is where the concentration of the hormone is greatest.
From the first day of the absence of a menstrual period, a conventional test can be used to check whether you are pregnant. These are more reliable than early tests, but they can also lead to incorrect results. The following factors can falsify the results of an early pregnancy test or a conventional test:
! Taking certain medications can falsify the result.
! The affected woman is on the verge of menopause.
! The period is irregular and the test is therefore unwittingly taken too early; Here too, the concentration of HCG in the urine is too low and the pregnancy test is negative.
! The pregnancy test was stored too cold or too hot and therefore no longer works properly.
! The test was used incorrectly – it is bad, for example, to drink too much before the test – this dilutes the urine and thus reduces the amount of HCG – therefore the pregnancy test is negative even though the person testing is pregnant.
The test is negative, but the rule still fails?
A missing or delayed period does not necessarily have to be a sign of pregnancy. Even with stress, illness or heavy exertion such as sport or physical work, it can happen that the menstrual period does not stop.
Stopping the pill or other hormonal contraceptives can also mess up the cycle and it often takes a while to level off again. In addition, menstrual disorders can also indicate illness, which is why you should seek medical treatment if you miss a period for a long time.
Physical causes can be, for example, luteal weakness, delayed or non-ovulation, a thyroid malfunction or diseases of the vaginal area.
However, it is also possible that you used the test too soon. Even if it is an earliest, these can also be applied too early, so that a falsified result can occur. If you want to be on the safe side here, you should consult your gynecologist.
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