All pregnancy tests check for hCG (human Chorionic Gonadotropin) which a hormone produced by the female body when the fertilised egg implants in the uterus. This takes place about 10 days after conception. Conception happens when the male sperm fertilises the woman’s egg. The hCG is often referred to as the ‘pregnancy hormone’.
There are two types of pregnancy tests – using either urine or blood.
Urine-based Pregnancy Testing
If you think you might be pregnant, get a Home Pregnancy Test. You can buy them at any pharmacy or get tested for free at a primary health care clinic or other health facility.
A Home Pregnancy Test uses your urine to test whether you are pregnant. For some tests you pee into a cup and dip the stick into the urine. For other tests you hold the stick in your urine stream while peeing. If used correctly, Home Pregnancy Tests claim to be 97-99% accurate.
Some Home Pregnancy Tests are more sensitive and notice even the smallest amount of hCG in your urine. Ask your pharmacist to help you get what you prefer. Check the expiry date of any Home Pregnancy Test before you use it.
Alcohol or drugs do not influence the accuracy of a urine test, neither do over-the-counter medicines. It is possible though to get the wrong reading if you are on hormone treatment for pregnancy.
If the test shows positive for pregnancy, visit your doctor or clinic as soon as possible. Your health provider will have the answers to all your questions and queries.
If the test shows negative, you might still be pregnant. Wait a few days and test again. If the test shows negative and you are sure that you are pregnant, it is important to visit your health care provider
Blood-based Pregnancy Testing
To confirm a pregnancy, your health care provider will take a blood sample and your hCG will be tested in a lab. Depending on the amounts of hCG in your blood, the doctor will be able to tell you how long you have been pregnant.
If this will be your first visit to a clinic, you will be asked to fill in a form and a file will be opened for you. Take your ID with you. The nurse will ask you for a urine sample.