A blood pregnancy test can detect or confirm pregnancy by checking the female’s blood for the presence of the pregnancy hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). There are 2 types of blood pregnancy tests.
A qualitative hCG test checks for the presence of hCG hormone in the female’s body. On the other hand, a quantitative hCG test, also known as beta hCG measures the exact amount of hCG in the blood.
Blood pregnancy tests yield a positive result on detecting 5 mIU (milli-International Units per milliliter) of hCG hormones in the blood. This level can usually be seen shortly after conception.
How soon can blood tests detect pregnancy?
A female can choose to have a blood pregnancy test to know if an unintended pregnancy has occurred after contraception failure or to see if she succeeded in getting pregnant.
A blood pregnancy test can confirm pregnancy as early as 10 days after a female has missed a period (around 6 to 8 days after ovulation). Sometimes, blood pregnancy tests can detect the hCG hormone even earlier than that.
A female must go to her gynecologist to get a blood pregnancy test after a missed period. Blood pregnancy tests are more sensitive than home pregnancy test kits, so they can detect a pregnancy earlier than those. Although a female can get the results very quickly with a home test, it takes relatively longer to get the results to the blood pregnancy test.
Types of blood pregnancy tests
There are 2 types of blood pregnancy tests that a female can undergo after a missed period to confirm pregnancy-
- Qualitative Blood Serum Test: This pregnancy blood test can only confirm whether or not hCG (pregnancy hormone) is present. It basically gives a yes (the female is pregnant) or a no (the female not pregnant) result. The qualitative hCG blood test is nearly as accurate as of the home urine test.
- Quantitative Blood Serum Test: This pregnancy blood test, also known as the beta hCG test, measures the exact amount of hCG in the female’s blood. As this test can detect even slight traces of hCG, it is a highly accurate test. A quantitative blood test can also help the doctor to determine if the pregnancy is progressing normally.
How is a pregnancy blood test performed?
A pregnancy blood test is performed just like a normal blood test. The site from where the blood sample is to be taken (most likely the forearm or the back of the hand) is cleaned with an antiseptic. A tourniquet will then be placed on the upper arm to apply pressure. A needle will be inserted to collect the blood in an airtight syringe. The blood sample will be then sent out to a lab to be analyzed.
Accuracy of pregnancy blood tests
Blood pregnancy tests have an accuracy rate as high as 98 to 99%. The pregnancy blood tests can be performed around 7 days after conceiving and still provide highly accurate results. With the urine or home pregnancy tests, false pregnancy test results are possible, both negative and positive.
The blood pregnancy tests can take longer to receive give results as compared to a home pregnancy test. The time to get back the results from a pregnancy blood test can vary from lab to lab and may range from an hour to a few days.
Blood pregnancy tests must be performed at the gynecologist’s clinic or a hospital. Book an appointment or chat online to know more about pregnancy blood tests.