Pregnancy test - How does it work?

Am I pregnant? Or not yet? A question that you prefer to answer as quickly as possible. After all, you want to know as soon as possible whether new life is growing in you! Fortunately, you can find out yourself in a quick and easy way by means of a pregnancy test.


The pregnancy test has existed for many centuries, but the first forms were not really reliable. In the past, a lace-up jar was used to create a sharp burning smell through a glowing lace. A pregnant woman did this gagging.
On the website of Predictor you can read that centuries ago in Egypt women had to drink a mixture of melon juice and mother's milk. When the woman then had to vomit, it was assumed that she was pregnant.

Reliable testing

Only in the twenties of the twentieth century did reliable tests, based on scientific insights. But at that time only doctors could take the tests. Fortunately, that is now different! In 1971 Predictor introduced the first pregnancy test for home use on the market.

The operation of a pregnancy test

If you are pregnant, your body produces the pregnancy hormone hCG (Human Chorion Gonadotrophin). All pregnancy tests are based on the detection of this hormone in the woman's urine.
The principle is actually very simple: hCG in your urine then you are pregnant, no hCG then you are not pregnant.

When do you do the test?

If you suspect that you are pregnant, you can perform a pregnancy test yourself. The tests can be done from the first day on which your menstruation should start. At what time of the day you perform the test, it does not matter. There is now enough hCG in your body to show a possible pregnancy.
The tests are for sale at almost all pharmacies, drugstores and some supermarket chains but of course you can also go to your doctor to have a test done. But a home test is just as reliable and the advantage is that you can do it at your convenience at a time that suits you. The probability of a wrong result is very small in the current tests, provided that the instructions have been properly followed.

If the menstruation fails to occur

It only makes sense to test if your period does not work because the 'later' you test, the more reliable the result. If you test too early, the hormone is not yet sufficiently present in your urine and the result is not reliable.

Positive or not?

The discolouration in the test window can be very light, but 'a little pregnant' does not exist. So no matter how bright the line is, the result is fixed. There is an exception: if you use medication with hormones (for example to stimulate a pregnancy), you should consult a doctor. An ultrasound can exclude or confirm a pregnancy.
Sometimes a test can turn out negative while you are pregnant. This can happen if you have tested too early so that your body has not yet produced enough hCG hormone. If you do not have your period, repeat the test after a few days. Use morning urine if necessary, this contains more hCG hormone, which increases the chance of success of the test.

Video: How do pregnancy tests work? - Tien Nguyen

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