What Is a Pregnancy Blood Test and How Does It Work?

Key Takeaways

  • A pregnancy blood test will let you know if you are pregnant by looking for the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) pregnancy hormone in your blood.
  • There are two types of hCG blood tests, qualitative hCG blood test and quantitative hCG blood test. Which one you take will be based on your doctor’s recommendations or personal preference. 
  • Both qualitative and quantitative hCG tests can be done in a healthcare practitioner’s office, a laboratory, or at home with a mobile collection service, such as Getlabs.
  • Fasting is not required before a pregnancy blood test. However, if you think you are pregnant, you should avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, and avoid extreme activities.

Did you know that the volume of pregnant women’s blood increases by up to 50 percent? It’s one of the many reasons why you often hear pregnant women described as “glowing”. This happens to help provide the fetus with enough oxygenated blood and to protect the mother’s health. The increase begins during the first couple of weeks after conception and continues throughout the pregnancy.

Knowing that you are pregnant as soon as possible will enable you to make any necessary health and lifestyle changes and give you time to plan for the birth of your child. A pregnancy blood test can indicate pregnancy even in the early stages. In this article, we will review how a pregnancy blood test works, where to get one, and what to expect.

What Is a Blood Pregnancy Test?

Many women who wish to find out that they are pregnant take an at-home urine pregnancy test. However, your health care provider may recommend a pregnancy blood test. In some cases, this method is preferred, especially if you are undergoing fertility treatment or if you are at risk of a high-risk pregnancy. You can purchase a pregnancy blood test at drugstores, online, or from a lab.

A pregnancy blood test will let you know if you are pregnant by looking for the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) pregnancy hormone in your blood. HCG is produced by the placenta once a fertilized egg has implanted in the uterus. HCG is also only made in the body during pregnancy.

A pregnancy blood test can confirm or rule out pregnancy at a much earlier stage than a urine test. Often hCG screening tests are conducted in the doctor’s office, but you can arrange an at-home pregnancy blood test with a mobile sample collection service.

Do I Need a Blood Pregnancy Test?

If you think you may be pregnant, you may wish to take a pregnancy blood test. Signs that you may be pregnant include:

  • A missed period
  • Swollen and tender breasts
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Frequent urination
  • A bloated feeling in your lower abdomen

There are two types of hCG blood tests. Which one you take will be based on your doctor’s recommendations or your personal preference.

  1. Qualitative hCG Blood Test. This test is designed to confirm if any hCG is present in your body. It gives you a yes or no answer to whether you are pregnant. This test is about as accurate as a home urine test. Furthermore, if you take the test before your body has had time to produce enough hCG to be detectable, you may get a false negative result. The most accurate results can be obtained 11-15 days after conception or 1-2 days after a missed period.
  2. Quantitative hCG Blood Test. A quantitative hCG blood test, also known as a beta hCG test, measures the exact level of hCG hormone in your blood. Because this is a very sensitive test, it can detect even very slight amounts of hCG, which means you can expect early detection even early on in your pregnancy.

Where Can I Get a Pregnancy Blood Test?

Both qualitative and quantitative hCG tests can be done in a healthcare practitioner’s office, a laboratory, or at home with a mobile collection service, such as Getlabs. If you choose a home hCG test with Getlabs, a qualified phlebotomist will come to your home to collect your blood sample, Once it has been collected, the Getlabs specialist will take it to a local lad to be analyzed.

Are Pregnancy Blood Tests Better Than Home Pregnancy Test Kit?

A qualitative hCG pregnancy test is about as accurate as a urine home pregnancy test provided it is not taken too early in the pregnancy. However, a qualitative hCG test is better than a urine home test for the following reasons:

  • The test is more sensitive
  • It measures the amount of hCG hormone in the blood
  • It can detect pregnancy earlier

What Should I Do Before My Pregnancy Blood Test?

You do not usually need to fast or take any other special precautions before a pregnancy blood test. If you suspect that you are pregnant you should:

  • Consult your doctor about whether to continue taking any medications or supplements
  • Avoid smoking
  • Avoid drinking alcohol
  • Avoid extreme activities

What Should I Do During My Blood Pregnancy Test?

All of our Getlabs specialists are committed to providing a friendly and professional service. When your phlebotomist arrives at your home, they will introduce themselves and show you their professional ID. The Getlabs specialist will also respect your personal space and privacy at all times. They will be friendly and maintain cleanliness and professionalism throughout the visit.

Before drawing your blood for your hCG test, your phlebotomist will confirm your identification and ask you a few questions about your general health and your previous experience with blood tests. They will ask you if you prefer to sit comfortably in a chair with arms or lie down. Once you are ready, your specialist will tie a tourniquet around the upper arm of your choice to help the veins become more visible. They will then sterilize your arm with an antibacterial wipe.

Next, your phlebotomist will insert a very fine needle into your vein. They will attach a test tube to the needle to collect the sample. Once the sample has been taken, the needle will be removed. Your specialist will ask you to apply pressure to the puncture site momentarily. After observing the puncture site for bleeding, they will apply a bandage to the puncture site. The test will be completed in under five minutes.

If you notice any of the following symptoms after your blood draw, you should contact your healthcare professional straight away:

  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Nausea
  • Pain or swelling in your arm
  • Signs of infection at the needle site

What Do My Pregnancy Test Results Mean?

The next steps you take will depend on whether your test is positive or negative. If your test is positive, you should consider another test to ensure that the results are accurate. You should also make an appointment to see your doctor before you reach eight weeks of pregnancy. You can discuss any lifestyle or dietary changes you need to make to keep you and your baby healthy.

Though rare, a false-positive result may occur for several reasons:

  • Chemical pregnancy: In this case, the pregnancy ends soon after the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of your uterus.
  • Ectopic pregnancy: A pregnancy in which the fetus develops in the fallopian tube.
  • Certain ovarian conditions: Such as ovarian cysts.

If your test result is negative, it’s advisable to take a second test. A false-negative test is possible if:

  • Certain medications: Such as anticonvulsants or tranquilizers.
  • Poor timing: If you take the test too soon after your missed period, you may not get accurate results.

Get Pregnancy Blood Testing Done with Getlabs

Contact Getlabs today if you want the comfortability of taking at-home lab tests. You can book your appointment online and enjoy the convenience of a pregnancy blood test taken by one of our professionals. After the test, your phlebotomist will take your sample to a local laboratory for analysis.

If you want to learn more about Getlabs, visit www.getlabs.com/faq to learn more.

This page is provided for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute the provision of medical advice or professional services. The information provided should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, and those seeking personal medical advice regarding any of the tests and conditions referenced above are advised to consult with a licensed clinician. Always seek the advice of your qualified health provider regarding a medical condition and do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information on this page. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or go to the nearest urgent care center or hospital.

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