Pregnancy is a crucial stage of every woman’s life requiring precision and perfection right from the start. There are some conditions which may confuse you whether you are pregnant or not. Absence of menstruation, which is generally the most common reason you would want to go for pregnancy diagnosis, can also be due to other factors including acute illness.
Symptoms like breast tenderness, which usually occur during pregnancy, can also occur owing to hormonal upsetting within the body. In some women, a soft tumor of the uterus can also suggest pregnancy which actually is not the same.It is important to know the essential diagnostic tools which confirm and differentiate pregnancy from other conditions. And the sooner you get the good news, the better it can be for you and your child’s health.
Essential Tools for Diagnosing Pregnancy
Experts rely on three major diagnostic tools for confirming a pregnancy – your history including physical examination, laboratory assessment and ultrasonography. Generally, these tools are amalgamated to diagnose pregnancy early and proceed with the way forward.
History and Physical Examination
Your gynecologist performs a physical examination of your body (abdomen) to determine whether you have symptoms of pregnancy or any other pathological outcome. Additionally, he/she will seek your history, especially medical history, to clarify pregnancy.
Right from your first visit, you may need to undergo a series of tests to confirm pregnancy and related outcomes. Your doctor can also ask you to perform a urine test right there if you have not done it prior to the appointment.
During pregnancy, your urine can be tested for human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which is a hormone produced after your egg is fertilized. Urine test can be easily done at home also with a standard home pregnancy testing kit. When done correctly, a home pregnancy test can give accurate result when performed after certain time of fertilization, generally after a missed period. If urine test does not confirm pregnancy, a blood test may follow.
Blood test is not commonly done to confirm pregnancy as the urine test may be sufficient in doing so. Nonetheless, a blood test can diagnose pregnancy earlier than a home pregnancy test. A blood test can give result as early as six to eight days after ovulation.
The hCG test can be of two types – qualitative and quantitative hCG test. If you just want to know whether you have conceived or not, go for the qualitative hCG test. It can be done as early as 10 days after missing period, although some tests can detect hCG even earlier.
The other one, quantitative hCG test or beta hCG, can tell the exact amount of hCG in the blood. This test can determine even extremely low levels of hCG in blood and may help in identifying a problem in pregnancy.
Ultrasound during pregnancy can produce multiple outcomes than merely confirming pregnancy. Through this image testing technique, your doctor can determine numerous conditions including your pelvic organs’ health, your baby’s age and potential complications in pregnancy to treat them timely.
You need a full bladder before undergoing ultrasound test. In early pregnancy, you need to consume enough fluids to have a full bladder. The test can be performed by locally applying the probe or placing it into the vagina.