Am I pregnant? Find out with a pregnancy blood test.

August 19, 2021

You’re feeling really tired. Your first clue.

Your breasts are feeling tender and achy. Your second clue.

You’ve missed a period. Your third clue.

You suspect you’re pregnant.

Before you reach for the home pregnancy test (HPT), let’s find out a bit more about your testing options.

10 week pregnancy blood test

Pregnancy blood test — great for early confirmation

A pregnancy test checks for a special hormone — called human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG — in the urine or blood. It’s only present when a woman is pregnant.

After fertilised egg implants in the uterus, cells around the embryo release hCG. The levels of hCG increase throughout the first trimester. But in the first few weeks, hCG levels are very low and hard to detect by a urine test.

A pregnancy blood test can pick up hCG earlier in a pregnancy than a urine test. They are about 99% accurate. The two main types of blood tests to check for pregnancy are:

  • Quantitative blood test (or the beta hCG test) measures the exact amount of hCG in your blood. So it can find even tiny amounts of hCG. It can also help estimate how far along you are.
  • Qualitative hCG blood tests just check to see if the hCG is present or not. It gives a yes or no answer. This test can’t help estimate how far along you are.

You can have a pregnancy blood test as early as 11–14 days after ovulation. That means you can have this test done as soon as you’ve missed your period.

You can order a pregnancy blood test referral from the comfort of your couch with InstantScripts®. One of our GPs will send through the referral which you take to your nearest blood collection (pathology) centre.

The results of most blood pregnancy tests take at least a couple of days. The laboratory will tell your doctor the result, and they’ll send you your result by email.

Home pregancy test kits

You can buy a home pregnancy test kit — or pregnancy urine test — from your local pharmacy. These are around 97% correct if performed strictly according to the instructions in the kit.

However, many women who use home pregnancy test kits get inaccurate results.

The main reason for incorrect results is that women test for pregnancy too soon after the missed period.

Home pregnancy test

To reduce the risk of getting an inaccurate result:

  • Follow the instructions on the test very carefully.
  • Repeat the test if you’ve done your first test soon after your missed period (and the result was negative). Do the repeat test two weeks later when the results will be more reliable. Some home pregnancy test kits include two tests for this reason.

If you’re taking medicines to boost fertility or you’re an older woman, a urine pregnancy test is more likely to give you a false result. In this case, it’s best to consult a GP about pregnancy testing.

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