The first sign of pregnancy is a missed period. For many women, however, missed periods aren’t a good indicator of pregnancy.

Hormone imbalances can cause late periods or prevent you from menstruating altogether, which can make it difficult to determine if you’re pregnant. Furthermore, stress, low or high body weight, thyroid issues, undiagnosed diabetes, celiac disease, and polycystic ovary syndrome can all cause irregularities in your menstrual patterns.

This is why pregnancy testing is important. A pregnancy test can let you know for sure whether or not you’re pregnant. In this blog, Dr. John Macey in Nashville, Tennessee, discusses when you should get tested and how pregnancy tests work.

Getting tested

If you have regular periods, and your period is late by one day, you can take the pregnancy test on the first day after your missed period. If your period is irregular, take the test 21 days after the last time you were intimate with someone.

You can find at-home pregnancy tests at the supermarket or at community center contraceptive clinics, or you can visit your general practitioner to get a pregnancy test.

At-home pregnancy kits usually involve testing your urine. These tests contain sticks that test the amount of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine.

Nonpregnant women have low levels of hCG, but these levels increase one week after an egg is fertilized. Furthermore, women who are pregnant with more than one child usually have even higher levels of hCG than women pregnant with one baby.

When instructions are followed, at-home pregnancy tests are highly accurate. However, some medications and even drinking too much water before taking a test can distort the results. Furthermore, letting the stick indicator sit too long in the urine, having residual hCG in your body after a miscarriage, or using an expired test may give you a false-positive.

Going to a specialist

If your period continues to be late but you test negative on your pregnancy test, it’s best to contact a specialist for further testing. Over-the-counter tests don’t provide 100% accuracy. Only a specialist can confirm or disconfirm a pregnancy.

In a clinical setting, you may be given a blood test, which can detect a pregnancy as early as 6-8 days after fertilization has taken place. If you’ve taken an at-home pregnancy test and have received a positive result, we can test to confirm if you’re pregnant.

If you’d like to get tested, or if you have any other questions regarding pregnancy, book an appointment online or over the phone with the practice of Dr. John Macey today.

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