708 North Main Street, Suite 200, Blacksburg, VA 24060

1016 Fairfax St., Radford, VA 24141

Blacksburg: (540) 552-5556 Radford: (540) 838-2138

Ask a VWC Nurse: How Does a Pregnancy Test Work?

pregnancy test accuracy

Ask a VWC Nurse: Answers to Your Commonly Asked Questions

ask a nurse Once a month, we feature answers to commonly asked questions that our Valley Women’s Clinic medical staff receives. Our nurses provide answers to these questions here on the blog.

Q. How Does a Pregnancy Test Work?

Have you ever wondered how a pregnancy test works? Is the test accurate or when would it be accurate? A lot of us have. Here is a little information to help us understand these questions.

A. Pregnancy tests detect the levels of the pregnancy hormone hCG present in a woman’s body to determine if she is pregnant.

When a woman gets pregnant, her body starts to produce a hormone called Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG). This hormone is found in a female body in very small amounts when she is not pregnant, but the levels escalate dramatically once she is pregnant. This hormone aids in the growth of the baby. hCG can be detected in a women’s urine as early as 7-10 days after ovulation or after she gets pregnant.

Some pregnancy tests are accurate at earlier dates in the pregnancy than others. This is because different tests are able to detect hCG at different levels, usually measured at 20 mlU/ml, 50 mlU/ml, or 100 mlU/ml. The lower the number, the quicker the test is able to detect a pregnancy.

Many urine pregnancy tests are set to detect hCG at 50 mlU/ml. These tests are not able to detect a pregnancy as early as the tests that Valley Women’s Clinic provides, which are set at detecting hCG at 20 mlU/ml. These tests are very effective and accurate.

If you think you may be pregnant and your home pregnancy test gave a negative result, the test may not have been able to detect the hCG level at the time of the test. You would want to re-test at a later date or get a test from a place that can detect the hCG level at an earlier time.

Free Pregnancy Testing at Valley Women’s Clinic

Valley Women’s Clinic provides free medical-quality pregnancy tests that are accurate for most women as soon as 10 days after conception. If your test comes back positive, our nurses can answer questions you may have about the pregnancy and one of our client advocates can consult with you about your options.

We also provide free STI testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea. All of our services are free and confidential. Request an appointment today for our Blacksburg or Radford clinic or call one of our offices.

Do you have a question for one of our VWC nurses? Fill out the form below to anonymously ask your question and it could be featured on one of our future Ask a VWC Nurse blog posts!

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