You realized that you are already few days delayed with your menstruation. Panic is slowly creeping into your mind and you are unsure whether to schedule a trip to the doctor for blood pregnancy test or head straight to the drugstore and get a home pregnancy test.
Both tests can identify the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) or pregnancy hormone. Since people are often so familiar with home pregnancy test, this post will cover blood pregnancy test and how early can blood tests detect pregnancy.
What Is Blood Test for Pregnancy?
Also known as pregnancy serum test, blood test for pregnancy is designed to measure the amount of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your bloodstream. This will determine if you are pregnant since hCG is evident in your bloodstream within 10 days of fertilization.
There are two types of pregnancy blood tests:
Quantitative – This measures the exact amount of hCG in your blood.
Qualitative – This indicates if hCG is present or not.
How Early Can Blood Tests Detect Pregnancy?
Similar to home pregnancy tests, you can detect pregnancy through blood tests about seven to 12 days after conception. Nonetheless, blood tests are better options in determining pregnancy because it can also check the hCG levels in your blood. This information is useful to help you check any problems experienced during pregnancy,
In case you feel the early signs of pregnancy, such as missed period, tenderness of breasts, or vomiting, it is best to take pregnancy blood test. This will help you check whether or not you are pregnant and get the necessary pre-natal vitamins to ensure your baby’s safety.
How Accurate Are Blood Tests?
Pregnancy blood tests are 99 percent accurate.
If you want to be more precise about your condition, it is best to go for quantitative blood test. Qualitative blood test will simply answer “yes” or “no.” However, quantitative blood test doesn’t just tell you if you are pregnant, but also checks if your pregnancy is healthy and normal. Keep in mind that your hCG levels are high during the first four weeks of gestation and then gradually decrease as the pregnancy progresses.
After knowing this, you may want to know which kind of test is more accurate: blood test or urine test?
As discussed above, blood test is highly accurate. Compared with that, urine test may not be that accurate. Based on a study presented at the Scientific Assembly of the American College of Emergency Physicians, urine hCG test could miss early pregnancy.
In fact, around six percent of pregnancies showed a negative result in urine test but came back with a positive pregnancy result after blood testing.
Nonetheless, it is not entirely the urine test’s fault. Experts suggested that recent miscarriages could play an impact of the discrepancy of results wherein the urine test detected normal hCG levels while the blood test recorded otherwise.
In other words, if you want to be sure about your pregnancy, it is best to go for blood test. After all, you know the answer on how early can blood tests detect pregnancy and how accurate it is.
How Long Do You Have to Wait for the Result?
The answer is it depends. After blood extraction, your sample will be sent to a laboratory for analysis. This could be an hour to several days, depending on how the lab processes it. Oftentimes, two to three days is the waiting time before the results are released.
Perhaps, this is another reason why many opt for home pregnancy tests. Aside from the affordability factor, urine tests will yield results in two to three minutes, giving you an idea whether you are pregnant or not as soon as you want to know.
More Things Blood Tests Can Detect
Normally, blood test is offered to check the hCG levels, which is important in determining whether you are pregnant or not. In some cases, your doctor might want to check blood time, Rh factor, and presence of any diseases. Pregnancy blood testing might also be used to check if your unborn baby has medical issues like Down’s syndrome.
Apart from this, blood test can be used to check the following:
Iron Level – This checks any form of iron deficiency that could cause health issues in your pregnancy. This is important to avoid possible complications in the future.
Glucose Level – This is normally required during the end of your second semester or at the beginning of third trimester. This test is important to check if you have potential of gestational diabetes.
In other words, pregnancy blood test is not only used to determine hCG levels that signify pregnancy, but also to check your health condition. This will determine possible complications that could plague your pregnancy. At the same time, you will be able to make necessary adjustments on your lifestyle to ensure you and your unborn child’s health.
After knowing some many questions about blood tests for pregnancy, including "how early can blood tests detect pregnancy", you will know although this might cost you more than home pregnancy kits, it will save more in the long run.