Pregnancy tests work by measuring a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This is a hormone that is secreted by the placenta as soon as the embryo starts to implant in the uterine lining (usually about 10 days after conception).
You can purchase home pregnancy tests at any drug store. They typically cost $10 – $20. The person pees on the test stick and it measures the level of hCG in their urine. The tests are most accurate if the person waits until their period is 5-7 days late. However, some of the newer tests on the market are more sensitive and are able to detect hCG 3-4 days before the period is due.
If the test is negative and the person’s period still hasn’t arrived a week later, it may be a good idea to repeat the test.
Pregnancy tests can also be done at any health clinic, including with us! If you get a pregnancy test done at our centre, we ask for a $5 donation, but it’s not mandatory. The doctor or nurse may do a urine test in the centre or give a blood requisition form for blood work. Blood tests can often detect hCG slightly earlier than urine tests and may be done as soon as 6 – 8 days after a risk of pregnancy.