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A pregnancy test is a reliable way to confirm or deny a pregnancy. But knowing how a pregnancy test works and when to take one is essential for receiving accurate results. 

If you think you might be pregnant, taking a pregnancy test as soon as possible is essential for your health. If you’re pregnant, you’ll need to take certain steps to help verify your pregnancy. Free lab-quality pregnancy testing is available at Bright Hope Pregnancy Support Centers.  

If you’re wondering how a pregnancy test works, read on to learn more about the essentials you need to know.

What a Pregnancy Test Does

When you’re pregnant, the placenta produces human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This hormone tells your body to stop menstruating and thicken your uterine lining. 

A pregnancy test works by detecting hCG in your body. If you’re pregnant, the pregnancy test will detect hCG and give you a positive result. If you’re not pregnant, there will be no hCG, and you’ll get a negative outcome. 

However, just because you get a negative result doesn’t mean you’re not actually pregnant—it could mean that you’ve taken the test too early. 

When to Take a Pregnancy Test 

The best time to take a pregnancy test is after you’ve missed your monthly menstrual period. If you keep track of this information, testing on the day of a missed period or later will give you the most accurate results. In fact, most home pregnancy tests claim to be 99% accurate if used in this timeframe. 

If you don’t know when you’ve missed a menstrual period, it’s best to make an educated guess. You can do this by thinking back to your previous month’s period and counting 30 days from the first day of last month’s flow. 

Even if your periods aren’t regular, this gives you a good starting guess. However, if you receive a negative result and still think you could be pregnant, try testing again in a week. 

Next Steps

Following up with an ultrasound is essential if you’ve taken an at-home pregnancy test and received a positive result. While pregnancy tests are accurate at detecting hCG in your body, an ultrasound can protect your health by confirming that you are, in fact, pregnant (10-20% of pregnancies end in a miscarriage). Ultrasound also confirms your pregnancy is developing in the correct location (if it’s outside of your uterus, it’s a potentially life-threatening ectopic pregnancy and needs immediate treatment). 

If you’ve received a negative result on an at-home pregnancy test but think you are pregnant, following up with a pregnancy test and/or ultrasound at a medical clinic is still a good idea to ensure your safety. 

You’re Not Alone

Wondering if you’re pregnant can make you feel overwhelmed by difficult emotions. At Bright Hope Pregnancy Support Centers, we understand what you’re going through. And we’re here to help with free pregnancy resources, like pregnancy testing and ultrasounds. 

Contact us today to schedule a confidential appointment with our medical team in a caring, non-judgmental space.