Open Arms Blog

How Do Pregnancy Tests Work?

Think you might be pregnant? First, pause for a second and take a deep breath. Before you start tossing around worst-case scenarios, it's important to confirm your pregnancy with a pregnancy test.
How Do Pregnancy Tests Work?

With something as life-altering as an unplanned pregnancy, you should be sure to take time to understand how pregnancy tests work, what kind to take, and how to get the most accurate results possible.

So how do pregnancy tests work?  

Whether you're hoping to get pregnant or not, it's no secret that the human body is capable of amazing things, and pregnancy is at the top of the list. Within moments of conception, the female body begins to change in preparation for carrying a pregnancy. One of the first things the body does is produce a pregnancy hormone called human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG).

This hormone doubles roughly every two days from conception until about nine weeks. Pregnancy tests identify pregnancy by detecting traces of this hormone in urine.

Pregnancy tests contain a strip that's treated to react in a certain way in the presence of hCG, indicating whether or not you're pregnant. Each pregnancy test is different in how it displays its results, so be sure to carefully read the instructions beforehand. Most frequently, a positive test will show two lines or a plus sign, while a negative test will show a single line or a minus sign.

Should I take a pregnancy test?

If you're sexually active, it's always possible you could become pregnant. Yep, even if you're using birth control. If you've recently experienced a missed period or have noticed any common pregnancy symptoms, it would be wise to take a pregnancy test.

In addition to a missed period, common pregnancy symptoms include:

  • Breast tenderness or nipple sensitivity
  • Headaches
  • Unexplained exhaustion
  • Nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to smells, or new food cravings
  • New mood swings and unexplained emotions

How soon can I take a pregnancy test?

If you think there's a chance you could be pregnant, it's tempting to want to take a test right away. However, since pregnancy tests measure hCG, you'll want to wait until there's enough of the hormone in your urine to be detected. We recommend waiting at least one week after your missed period and taking it right when you wake up.

Remember, the accuracy of an at-home pregnancy test requires that you follow the instructions perfectly. To ensure you're getting the most accurate results, schedule an appointment for a free clinical pregnancy test at a local pregnancy clinic like Open Arms. 

I'm pregnant. What do I do?

For some women, a positive pregnancy test is the farthest thing from their plan. If that's you, it's okay. You're not alone.  At Open Arms, we can guide you through any pregnancy-related decisions you may be facing.

After a positive pregnancy test, Open Arms can provide you with a free ultrasound. Your ultrasound scan will give you information about the viability of the pregnancy and its gestational age. These details will be essential as you consider your pregnancy options and learn more about abortion, adoption, and parenting.

Schedule a Free Appointment

Here at Open Arms, we believe that you should have access to the resources and information you need to make a fully informed decision for yourself and for your future. Come visit us for your free clinical pregnancy test. Schedule your appointment today!


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