Think of your blood, otherwise known as your intravascular volume, as a fluid that can fill a cup. When excess fluid flows, it spills. In reality, that extra fluid spills to your urine. This is how your pregnancy test stripworks.
A hormone called beta-HCG that usually rises during pregnancy is spilled over from the blood and into the urine. This marks the test and control parts of the pregnancy test kits blue. However it rises slowly in the blood so if there is no spillover, you may have a negative test result even though you are pregnant. Not seeking consult from your doctor is the wrong thing to do. Another mistake is asking advice from people who have no idea on interpreting a pregnancy test kit.
Too often, the patient comes in with five pregnancy test strips of different brands. One of them even asked me, “what does four negative and one positive pregnancy test mean?” It’s not math and it’s not rocket science either.
The first thing we usually do is ask a whole bunch of important questions:
- Is this pregnancy planned?
- Are you seeking an abortion?
- What hereditary diseases run in your family?
- Do you smoke cigarettes? Drink alcohol?
- Do you use topical creams or drink medications, especially herbal?
- Would you like specialized OB-Gyne care?
- Are concerned parties already informed?
The abortion question is important to me. As a doctor, I exert a great influence on a mother’s decision. I can always save the baby given the opportunity to provide a good advice.
The next is a physical exam where your doctor would look for presumptive signs of pregnancy. A speculum and vaginal exam is always appropriate.
Your doctor would probably order a quantitative beta-HCG serum test as part of his/her diagnostics. If you remember the fluid in the cup analogy above, we could always measure the cup’s contents. A blood draw and an HCG count can tell us what stage of pregnancy you are in. If the count is too low, we know you are not pregnant.
Target audience: Moms, mothers-to-be, teenagers who are interested in how a pregnancy test strip works
Disclosure: Zero Mella MD is an Amazon Affiliate