Blood Pregnancy Test Explained
For many new moms, a home pregnancy test is the first way they find out that they are expecting, yet that is not the most accurate pregnancy test option available. A blood pregnancy test is more specific and precise. For some women, a blood pregnancy test is necessary to track the pregnancy early and ensure a healthy, viable pregnancy. Here is a closer look at what this test is and why it might be needed.
What a Blood Pregnancy Test Measures
A blood pregnancy test measures the levels of human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG, in a woman’s bloodstream. When you are pregnant, your body starts to secrete this hormone in increasingly high numbers. They are detectable in a blood test within the first week after conception takes place. Eventually, the hormone will also be detectable in the urine, which the home urine tests detect.
Types of Blood Pregnancy Tests
Your doctor has two types of blood pregnancy tests to choose from. The Qualitative Blood Serum Test detects whether or not you are pregnant, and this test has similar accuracy as a home urine test. Qualitative means that the test measures whether you have the hormone, not how much of the hormone you have. If it is positive, then you have the hormone in your body.
The Quantitative Blood Serum Test is more helpful. This test measures the exact amount of hCG in your blood, and it can measure even tiny amounts of the hormone. Doctors can take two Quantitative Blood Serum Tests back-to-back to track hCG levels and determine if the pregnancy appears viable or not. Doctors want to see hCG levels doubling every two to three days in a healthy pregnancy.
Are Blood Pregnancy Tests Accurate?
Blood pregnancy tests are among the most accurate ways to detect pregnancy, but they are not fool-proof. False negatives can occur if the blood test is taken too early. The hCG hormone only shows up in the blood after a week or two post conception. For this reason, if a woman believes strongly that she is pregnant but gets a negative blood test, the doctor may repeat it in a few days.
False positives are very rare unless a woman is taking medication with hCG in it. Usually, a woman who gets a positive pregnancy blood test and later has a menstrual cycle is experiencing an early-term miscarriage.
Do You Need a Blood Pregnancy Test?
Most women do not necessarily need a blood pregnancy test. If you have a positive result on a urine test, you have hCG in your body and are likely pregnant. Women at high risk for miscarriage or other early pregnancy complications may need a quantitative test to track the pregnancy’s viability. Women who have a negative home urine test and still believe they are pregnant can ask for a blood test to confirm the pregnancy. If you think that you need a blood test, talk to your doctor about whether it would benefit your situation.
If you are in the Toledo, Ohio area and need a free pregnancy test, be sure to contact our team and get help today!