When and how to take a pregnancy test?

Quand et comment faire un test de grossesse ?

Is your period a few days late? Are you planning to have a baby and wondering when you should take a pregnancy test? A pregnancy test is an effective and reliable way of finding out if you're pregnant... But you still need to know how and when to take your pregnancy test. We explain!

How does a pregnancy test work?

In the fertilization process, once the egg has been fertilized, it implants in the wall of the uterus. This is when the famous pregnancy hormone beta-hCG is produced. The test is the best way to determine a pregnancy.

Urine and blood tests

There are in fact two types of pregnancy test : the urine test, which can be bought directly from a chemist and carried out at home, and the pregnancyblood test, which is carried out in a blood analysis laboratory. The latter can be done without a prescription and costs 20€ if no prescription is given.

The easiest and quickest test to carry out is the urine test. These products are sold in the form of a plastic stick with a tip. This tip should be placed under your urine stream, to collect the pregnancy hormone beta-HCG in the urine, if you are indeed pregnant.

To make sure you're using the test correctly, refer to the test instructions or ask your doctor/pharmacist for advice.

Focus on the beta-hCG hormone

The hormone beta-hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is linked to pregnancy. It is secreted by the embryo and then by the placenta as pregnancy progresses. Secretion begins with implantation of the egg in the uterine mucosa. It is only secreted during pregnancy, around the 9th or 10th day of pregnancy.

What does it do? Its function is to maintain the corpus luteum, the endocrine gland inside the ovary that secretes the hormones progesterone and estrogen during the first trimester of pregnancy.

It can be detected throughout pregnancy, but at levels that vary widely. For example, during the first eight weeks of pregnancy, it will double every 48 hours. It then peaks between the 7th and 12th weeks of pregnancy. Then, around the 4th month of pregnancy, the rate drops until the end of the pregnancy, disappearing completely after delivery.

In rare cases, beta-hCG can be secreted by men or women suffering from pathologies such as ovarian or testicular tumors. In such rare cases, a pregnancy test may be positive in a man.

When should I take a pregnancy test?

The timing of a pregnancy test is very important. If you do it too early, the products may show a negative result, even though a pregnancy is developing.

Bear in mind that the hCG hormone is secreted at a low level around the 9th day after fertilization.

We advise you to take a urine pregnancy test on the expected date of your period or a few days after your expected period, i.e. a few days late to avoid a false-negative result.

For women who don't have regular cycles, wait until 3 weeks after the high-risk intercourse to take your pregnancy test.

What about the reliability of pregnancy tests?

The reliability of pregnancy tests depends on several factors. It should be noted that 10-20% of women who have irregular cycles will not be able to detect their pregnancy if they take the test on the first day of late menstruation.

Different sensitivity thresholds

There are different types of pregnancy test, some of which are early tests that can be used before the expected date of menstruation. But it's important to bear in mind that if your test is taken too early, the chances of it being unreliable and the risk of false negatives are higher.

Pregnancy tests have different sensitivities. The most reliable are those with a sensitivity threshold of 40 to 50 IU of hormones per liter. The earliest tests, which detect pregnancy 3 days before the expected date of menstruation, detect at a threshold of 25 IU.

False positive" risk

The risk of a false positive is minimal. In fact, if your test shows you're pregnant, it's virtually impossible that you're not. However, in very rare cases involving certain pathologies such as ovarian cysts, miscarriage, abortion, ectopic pregnancy or taking medication containing the hCG hormone, it is possible to display a false positive.

If your test is positive, this means you are pregnant. To confirm these results, visit a health professional (gynecologist) to have a blood test prescribed to confirm your pregnancy. In fact, blood pregnancy tests are 100% reliable, and can also be used to date (approximately) the start of pregnancy , thanks to a precise measurement of hormone levels. The answer is known within 24 hours.

False-negative" risk

Conversely, the risk of false negatives is higher. Even if today's pregnancy tests are over 99% reliable, there's always a degree of uncertainty. This is particularly the case if you take the test too early, and the hCG hormone is not sufficiently present to be detected by a test.

If your test is negative but you still think you're pregnant, you can repeat the test every 5 days. We also recommend that you consult a doctor if your doubts persist despite the retest, or if you have any questions.

Where can I buy a urine pregnancy test?

Urine pregnancy tests are sold in pharmacies, at around 5 euros, depending on the brand. You can also buy some tests in supermarkets. The advantage of using a pharmacy is that you benefit from the advice of your pharmacist. Several brands are available: Exacto, Clearblue, Suretest, Arrow, Predictor and private labels.

How do I use a urine pregnancy test?

For your test to be as reliable as possible, there are a few guidelines to follow.

Test in the morning

A pregnancy test should be used in the morning, with your first urine. It is this urine that contains the highest concentration of HCG hormone. For best results, test when you get up and go to the bathroom.

Follow the manufacturer's recommendations

Before using a pregnancy test, take the time to read its instructions for use and other useful information. Although most urine pregnancy tests have the same instructions for use, there may be some discrepancies between manufacturers. In particular, the time needed to interpret the results. Most tests give conclusions within 2 minutes, but check the recommendations.

Depending on the manufacturer, the result may appear as a colored line, or as a +, which means you're pregnant. Some also display numerically whether you are pregnant or not. Refer to the manufacturer's instructions to find out how yours works.

In conclusion, it's crucial to understand that pregnancy tests are valuable tools for determining whether a woman is pregnant. If your period is late, it's advisable to take a urine pregnancy test on or a few days after your expected period, to avoid an early negative result. If the urine test is positive, it is advisable to consult a doctor to confirm the pregnancy by taking a blood sample. This hormone, detected in urine or blood, is a reliable indicator of pregnancy. The period between fertilization and the first positive test may vary, but it is generally advisable to wait a few weeks after high-risk intercourse to obtain a reliable result. It's also important to note that some symptoms can be mistaken for signs of pregnancy, and that the reliability of urine pregnancy tests depends on various factors such as a woman's menstrual cycle. In case of doubt or persistent symptoms, it's always best to consult a doctor for appropriate care to ensure the health of the mother-to-be and the unborn child.

Pregnancy test FAQ

How often can a pregnancy test be used?

A pregnancy test is a single-use test, so you can only use it once.

How much does a urine pregnancy test cost in a supermarket?

Pregnancy test prices vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. They range from just under 2 euros to 16 euros for digital tests. The average price is 6 euros.

Are the tests reimbursed by Social Security or mutual insurance companies?

Urine pregnancy tests are not reimbursed by Social Security or mutual insurance companies. However, family planning centers distribute them free of charge to minors and women with no health insurance. Prescription blood pregnancy tests are fully reimbursed by Social Security.

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The information contained in the articles on www-elia-lingerie.com is general information only. Although reviewed by health professionals, this information is not error-free, does not constitute health advice or consultation, and is not intended to provide a diagnosis or suggest a course of treatment. Under no circumstances may this information be used as a substitute for medical advice or consultation with a healthcare professional. If you have any questions, please consult your doctor.