Timing Is Key When Determining If A Woman Is Pregnant

DAYTON, Ohio (Oct. 19, 2017) – The moment a woman finds out she is pregnant can be life-altering, which makes it that much more important to conduct a home pregnancy test when it will provide the most accurate results.

In fact, according to a local obstetrician, the timing of a home pregnancy test is much more vital than the type of pregnancy test a woman chooses from her local pharmacy.

“Most over-the-counter home pregnancy tests are very accurate,” said Katherine Abtahi, DO, an OB/Gyn physician with Miami Valley Women’s Health. “Probably the biggest thing women will consider is the cost of the test. But don’t correlate a more expensive test with a more accurate reading.”

So when is it the right time to test? Dr. Abtahi said the earliest a woman can test is the first day of her missed period. It’s at this point that a home pregnancy test can detect the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), the hormone produced by the pregnancy. The hormone hCG will be present and also increasing steadily in the beginning of a healthy pregnancy.

Dr. Abtahi said a woman who suspects she is pregnant, but receives a negative reading on a home pregnancy test should contact her physician to possibly be tested in the office. There are several reasons why a home pregnancy test would come up negative when a woman is in fact pregnant.

“The most common reason is that a woman may have tested too early when the hormone level is not high enough to detect,” said Dr. Abtahi, who practices with Premier Physician Network.

A blood test is another way hCG can be detected and this is usually the way a physician will test a woman for pregnancy at their office. Women who exhibit signs of pregnancy but who receive two negative, at-home pregnancy tests that were taken two weeks apart may be asked by their physician to come in for a blood test.

In most cases, women should be able to receive an accurate reading if she times her at-home pregnancy test right. The following are tips that Dr. Abtahi suggests for women planning to conceive in the near future:

  • Keep track of your cycle – Women who are actively trying to conceive should make a point of tracking the dates of their menstrual cycles. This will ensure a more accurate understanding of when the first day of their next period should start and whether it is a good time to test.
  • Keep emotions in check – The anticipation of finding out whether a woman is carrying her next child can be overwhelming, but they shouldn’t determine when she plans to test for pregnancy. Resist the urge to test even one to two days before the first day of your missed period.
  • Be ready first thing – Plan to take your pregnancy test first thing in the morning. This is when a woman’s urine is at its highest point of concentration making the reading more sensitive to the hormone level.
  • Fight discouragement – A negative pregnancy test doesn’t mean you aren’t pregnant. If you are experiencing the classic signs of pregnancy such as sore and tender breasts, fatigue, and the most classic sign of all – a missed period – sit tight and test again in a week.
  • Rely on your provider – Don’t hesitate to reach out to your health care provider for input when a home pregnancy test has come back negative. Use them as a sounding board to discuss whether you are experiencing classic pregnancy symptoms and when it would be good to retest.

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