Have you missed the period? Then the next thing you might ask yourself is, should I perform a home pregnancy test or should I consult the doctor for a blood pregnancy test. Both of these tests use pregnancy hormone hCG to detect whether you are pregnant or not.
Actually there are two types of blood pregnancy tests used to confirm the pregnancy. Both these tests can detect your pregnancy 8-10 days after the ovulation.
Quantitative blood pregnancy test, also known as beta hCG test is one of the best types of blood pregnancy tests. This test detects the exact hCG level in your blood. hCG levels will be doubled for every 2 days for the first four weeks of pregnancy. Not only a quantitative blood test helps to detect your pregnancy, but also it helps to assess whether the pregnancy is progressing normally.
Another test is qualitative blood pregnancy test that offers confirmation of the existence of hCG, and a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer of pregnancy. This test is as accurate as a home urine test.
If these types of blood pregnancy tests determine the hCG levels less than 5 mIU/ml, then test result is negative. If the hCG levels determined between 5 and 25 mIU/ml, then the result is assumed to be equivocal. You have to undergo another test within few days for the confirmation of pregnancy.
How these types of blood pregnancy tests are performed?
Pregnancy blood test is similar to a normal blood test. Before extracting the blood, the area is cleaned with an antiseptic. A tourniquet is placed around the upper arm to apply the pressure. Then a needle is inserted to extract the blood in a syringe.
How to interpret the results from these types of blood pregnancy tests?
Usually blood test is performed at the doctor’s office and the results of these tests are 98-99% accurate. Right time to undergo the blood pregnancy test is 7-10 days after the ovulation.
You can get false negative result i.e. you are pregnant but the test is negative. It happens when you undergo the test too early and there is not sufficient level of hCG in the blood.
You can get false positive result i.e. you are not pregnant but the test is positive. This condition occurs when you take medications that contain hCG.
In addition to these pregnancy tests that help to determine your pregnancy, there are some other tests you need to undergo that can determine the normal progression of the pregnancy. They include:
Plasma Protein Screening: Helps to detect the levels of protein produced by the placenta. Abnormal levels of this protein indicate chromosomal abnormalities.
Alpha-Fetoprotein Screening: It is performed during pregnancy second trimester to detect the presence of twins, accurate due date, and other associated neural tube defects.
Genetic screening: It is recommended for people who have the history of genetic disorders.
Blood test can also be used to detect the RH factor, anemia, sexually transmitted diseases, gestational diabetes, and the existence of antibodies for dangerous diseases like chicken pox, rubella, etc.