What Is the Difference Between a Blood and Urine Pregnancy Test?

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Blood and urine pregnancy testing both work by detecting human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in a woman’s body. The pregnancy creates this hormone, which increases in the first trimester. The main differences between blood and urine testing are:

  • Availability- urine pregnancy tests are available for consumer purchase.
  • Cost- urine pregnancy tests are less expensive than blood tests.
  • Recommended time frame- blood tests offer reliable results earlier in pregnancy than urine tests.

Blood Tests

A medical provider sometimes uses blood pregnancy tests for earlier diagnosis of pregnancy since they can reliably detect hCG earlier than urine pregnancy tests. However, in most medical practices, blood tests aren’t used to detect pregnancy because urine tests are less expensive, and the results are available in minutes; blood test results can take hours or a day to return. 

Blood tests are most commonly used when a provider wants to ensure that a woman’s hCG levels increase at an appropriate rate early in pregnancy. Rising hCG levels in early pregnancy indicate a progressing pregnancy.

Urine Tests

Urine tests are available to women that want to test at home. Home pregnancy tests vary in reliability and claim accuracy at differing points in a woman’s cycle. When using a home pregnancy test, use the following tips to ensure accuracy:

  • Wait until a week after your missed period to test.
  • Test first thing in the morning when your urine is most concentrated.
  • Follow the instructions included in the test.
  • Avoid using too much urine or reading the pregnancy results after the time frame indicated in the instructions; both can cause evaporation lines which can be misread as a positive response.
  • If you test negative and do not get your period, test again in a week.

Follow Up

If your home pregnancy test determines that you are pregnant, your next step would be to schedule an appointment to obtain medical-grade pregnancy testing and ultrasound for confirmation. An ultrasound is the only way to accurately confirm the status of a pregnancy since hCG can remain in a woman’s system for weeks after a miscarriage. During that time, pregnancy testing will still return positive results. 

Other reasons to receive an ultrasound immediately after a positive test are to find out how far along the pregnancy is and that the pregnancy is located inside the uterus. These are vital pieces of information when considering your options for the outcome of your pregnancy.

Free Pregnancy Confirmation

Bella Women’s Center provides free confirmation pregnancy testing and ultrasounds to confirm, date, and locate your pregnancy. Contact us today for your free appointment.

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