CrossRoads Pregnancy Help Centre offers you option counselling in a safe environment with accurate information about all options available for you to make an informed decision regarding your specific crisis situation.
Pregnancy Symptoms: 1ST Trimester (Weeks 1 - 12)
What is hcg?
Human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG, is a protein hormone produced by the placenta.
What does hcg have to do with pregnancy tests?
Urine-based pregnancy tests analyze the presence of hCG. The appearance and increased levels of hCG provide an excellent indicator of pregnancy. hCG is released into the mother's circulation almost immediately after implantation (5-8 days after conception). hCG is produced in minute amounts and then, rising exponentially, the concentration doubles approximately every 2.2 days. Do all pregnancy tests have the same sensitivity to hCG? No. There are many types of tests on the market for both professional and home use. They have different sensitivity levels for detecting hCG. Our test, one of the most sensitive urine-based tests available, detects concentrations as low as 20 mLU/ml.
Are the levels of hcg in all pregnant women the same in any given week of pregnancy?
No. The production of hCG can vary greatly from women to women in any given week of pregnancy with as much as a 20-fold variation in individual levels. Some women with high hCG may come up positive on the test very early, while others with low hCG may not show up until after the first missed period. In a recent study, reported in the Journal of American Medical Association, 10% of 250 women tested had not even implanted by the first missed period. Therefore, their hCG was so low that no urine test could detect it. How early can CrossRoads Pregnancy Help Centre Pregnancy Tests give positive results? Because our test is so sensitive, it may pick up a positive result as early as 7 - 10 days post conception, depending on when implantation occurs and the client's personal hCG levels. If hCG is detected at this early stage, the test line would be expected to be light as hCG levels are just beginning to build. However, when testing this early, the results should be verified after the first missed period. This is because, although the test picks up the presence of hCG, it does not guarantee a viable pregnancy. hCG may also be produced by an EPL or "early pregnancy loss". This is an embryo which fails to implant properly in the uterus, or is rejected by the uterus. It is followed by a normal or slightly heavier than normal menstrual period, which may be 2 to 3 days late. hCG levels may rise in the week following implantation (second week of conception) like a normal-term pregnancy. When EPL occurs, hCG concentration in the urine reaches a peak 2 weeks after conception then rapidly declines.
What is the significance of early pregnancy loss (epl)?
Most women are unaware that they have had an EPL. EPL's are much more common than people realize. Some reports indicate that EPL's may occur in 31% of pregnancies overall. Individuals need to be aware that women may get a positive result from a test taken before the first missed period. However, the fertilized egg may not implant correctly, or the uterus may reject the embryo. An EPL can delay menses up to three days which would further lead the client to believe she is pregnant, while in reality that is no longer the case.
If you tested before your first missed period should you be retested if your period still has not started after 31 days?
Yes. If you test earlier than 31 days, you should know that even if it is negative, another pregnancy test should be given after 31 days if your menses has not started. This is because your hCG level may have been too low to register on the first test. Are there any other factors that may give conflicting test results at two different times? Yes. Another factor is how diluted the urine is at the time of the test. The more concentrated the urine, the greater the concentration of the hCG. Remember, woman's levels of hCG can vary markedly. If a woman who has low levels of hCG takes a pregnancy test early in her pregnancy using her first morning urine, it may come out positive because of higher concentrations of hCG. If she then goes to a clinic later in the day after consuming liquids, her urine will be very diluted and there may not be a high enough level of hCG to detect. If there is a question about the test results, confirm results by retesting using a first morning sample.
Are there any other conditions that may produce false readings?
There are some medical conditions that will skew the test results. They are complicated and uncommon. If you test negative after 31 days and your period does not start, you should be encouraged to see your doctor.