Are there different types of pregnancy tests?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Yes. There are two types of pregnancy tests. One tests the blood for the pregnancy hormone, hCG. You need to see a doctor to have a blood test. The other checks the urine for the hCG hormone. You can do a urine test at a doctor's office or at home with a home pregnancy test (HPT).

These days, many women first use an HPT to find out if they are pregnant. HPTs are inexpensive, private, and easy to use. HPTs also are highly accurate if used correctly and at the right time. HPTs will be able to tell if you're pregnant about one week after a missed period.

Doctors use two types of blood tests to check for pregnancy. Blood tests can pick up hCG earlier in a pregnancy than urine tests can. Blood tests can tell if you are pregnant about six to eight days after you ovulate (or release an egg from an ovary). A 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. This makes it very accurate. A qualitative hCG blood test just checks to see if the pregnancy hormone is present or not. So this test gives a yes or no answer. The qualitative hCG blood test is about as accurate as a urine test.

This answer is based on source information from The U.S Department of Human Services Office on Womens Health.  

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