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How Early Can Pregnancy be Detected

Eager to find out if the stork has visited you lately? Read on to know how early pregnancy can be detected.
Mukulika Mukherjee Apr 19, 2019
Pregnancy and motherhood are significant stages in the life of a woman. Every woman wants to experience the sheer bliss of watching her cherubic newborn smile!
Even though the symptoms of pregnancy may vary from one woman to another, the earliest symptoms mostly include morning sickness/nausea, pain in the lower back, mild to severe headaches, or a missed period. Are you experiencing one or more of these symptoms? Well, then all you need is to get a pregnancy test done.
A pregnancy test yields confirmed results only after a certain number of days after conception. This is because pregnancy tests measure the level of the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone, which increases with every week of pregnancy.
So how early can pregnancy be detected? How many days after conception can you confirm your pregnancy? To find an answer, let us discuss some methods of testing pregnancy, and how they work.

How Early Can You Detect Pregnancy

A pregnancy test can be conducted either at a doctor's clinic or at home. Yes! There are over-the-counter pregnancy kits available that you can easily use for detecting pregnancy at home.
There are many advantages of using a home pregnancy test: it's convenient, less expensive, and gives you instant results.
Pregnancy can also be detected by blood tests and urine tests. However, the most important factor to consider is the timing i.e when to take test. This depends on how sensitive each method of testing is, to the levels of hCG in blood or urine.
The sensitivity is determined by the minimum level of hCG that can be successfully detected by the test, which is measured in terms of milli-International Unit (mIU). How early you can detect pregnancy successfully using a kit, depends on its sensitivity.
The hormone hCG is produced by the trophoblast cells of the fertilized egg. This hormone can be traced in the blood only after implantation. Implantation, the attachment of the fertilized ovum or blastocyst to the wall of the uterus, happens within 10 days from ovulation and fertilization.
Early test of pregnancy is testing for the presence of hCG in blood or urine. Accuracy of the test solely depends on the sensitivity of the test to the levels of hCG. It is recommended that you conduct two tests, within an interval of 2-3 days, for accurate results. If you get different results on a home pregnancy test, then get a clinical blood test done.
The presence of hCG released by the blastocyst can be detected in the bloodstream, 3-4 days after implantation. This hCG can be found in the urine after another 3 days i.e., a week after implantation. This implies that higher the level of hCG in the blood or urine, greater the chance of a confirmed positive pregnancy test result.

Early Detection of Pregnancy by Urine Test

The home pregnancy test kits measure the amount of hCG in the urine. Most women prefer a home pregnancy test because it is hassle free and less expensive as compared to a clinical blood test. All you need to test for pregnancy at home, is a pregnancy kit available at any chemist's.
These kits are nothing but strips coated with a chemical indicator that changes color in the presence of hCG. If you notice a change in color, it indicates you are pregnant. However, it is important to note that some of the kits out there are more sensitive than the rest and, the more sensitive the kit you are using, the earlier you can detect pregnancy.
The tests that are designed to detect 20 mIU/ml of hCG are more sensitive and are able to detect pregnancy as soon as the egg is fertilized. Sometimes low amount of hCG can result in a faint line on the indicator strip. However, this indicates a positive result.
For greater accuracy of your home pregnancy test, you should take this test early in the morning, as the level of hCG in the urine is the highest at this time.
It is important to note that too early a detection may show a false negative result. This means that even if you are pregnant, it may fail to show up in the test results, because of very low hCG levels. In that case, all you need to do is to take the test again after a couple of days, when the hCG levels are high enough to be detected by the test.
A home pregnancy test kit may show that you are pregnant when, in reality, you are not. Such result is termed false positive. There are many factors that lead to this like an error in carrying out the test and administration of drugs containing hCG as a part of treatment for infertility. Read all instructions carefully before using a home pregnancy test kit.
For the earliest detection of pregnancy, you can opt for modern technology like testing for the early pregnancy factor (EPF) protein in the blood with the help of an enzyme assay test. This test can successfully detect pregnancy within 2 days of fertilization. However, this technology is at its nascent stage, due to which it is highly expensive.
There are other methods by which you can find out if you are pregnant. Ultrasonography is one of them. Ultrasound imaging is widely used for monitoring fetal development during the many stages of pregnancy. However, this method can detect pregnancy only 2-3 weeks after ovulation and fertilization.
Pregnancy is the journey of the fertilized egg from being a two-celled zygote to being a fully developed fetus. During this journey, several changes take place in your body as well as that of your unborn baby. If you experience any of the symptoms of pregnancy, you can take a pregnancy test.
If you are pregnant, consult your gynecologist or obstetrician who will guide you and monitor your health and the health of your baby, throughout the various stages of pregnancy.
This was all about how early pregnancy can be detected. You can test for pregnancy together with your spouse, and share the joys of parenthood. It's going to be an experience you'll cherish for a lifetime!