Pregnancy Test Expert, Mollee Bloom Bauer

 

Mollee Bloom Bauer is the general manager and owner of Pregnancy.org, a web site that covers getting pregnant to baby and beyond, and has held her position for the past eight years. Mollee's education consists of a bachelor's degree in journalism, with an emphasis in mass communications.
How did you come to work for Pregnancy.org?
I am the owner and founder. I have been in the Internet field since 1995. Pregnancy.org is my third venture in this field. Previously, I helped create BabyCenter.com back in 1998 and before that, my ex-husband and I created the world's first web-based interactive pregnancy calendar.

What would you say is the most satisfying or rewarding part of working for an organization that offers information to women about pregnancy?
To empower women on a daily basis with the knowledge they need to feel secure, well-informed and live without fear.

How do pregnancy tests work?
We have several wonderful articles about how they work. For example: http://www.pregnancy.org/article/how-do-pregnancy-tests-work -- There are two types of pregnancy tests - blood and urine tests. Both tests look for the presence of hCG, the pregnancy hormone. Today, many women use a urine test, or home pregnancy test (HPT), to find out if they are pregnant. HPTs do not cost a lot, are easy to use, can be done at home, and are private. When a woman has a positive result on an HPT, she needs to see her health care provider right away. The health care provider can confirm a positive HPT result with a blood test and a pelvic exam.

There are two types of blood tests you can get from a health care provider. A quantitative blood test (or the beta hCG test) measures the exact amount of hCG in the blood. This means it can pick up very small amounts of hCG, making it a very accurate test. A qualitative hCG blood test gives a simple yes or no answer to whether you are pregnant. This test is more like a urine test in terms of its accuracy.

Blood tests can pick up hCG earlier in a pregnancy than urine tests can. Blood tests can tell if you are pregnant about 6 to 8 days after you ovulate (or release an egg from an ovary). Urine tests can determine pregnancy about 2 weeks after ovulation. Some more sensitive urine tests can tell if you are pregnant as early as 6 days after you conceive, or one day after you miss a menstrual period.

Pregnancy tests can be performed at home, or through blood samples taken by a doctor or nurse and analyzed in a medical lab. What are some benefits and/or drawbacks to each method? 5. How accurate are home pregnancy tests? Is there a particular type or brand that you would recommend to women?

Home pregnancy tests (HPTs) are very accurate. Most brands of HPTs say they are 97% to 99% accurate, but this can vary with actual use. Each brand varies in how sensitive it is in picking up the pregnancy hormone hCG. If a test is not done correctly, it will be less accurate. And, always check the package to make sure it is not past its expiration date - if it is, it will not be accurate. Most brands of HPTs tell users to do the test again in a few days, no matter what the results.

If you use an HPT too early in your pregnancy, you may not have enough of the pregnancy hormone hCG in your urine to have a positive test result. Most HPTs will be accurate if you test yourself around the time your period is due (about 2 weeks after you ovulate, or release an egg from your ovary). You can get a negative test result if you are not pregnant or if you ovulated later than you thought you did. You may also have problems with the pregnancy, which affects the amount of hCG you have in your urine. If your HPT is negative, test yourself again within a few days to 1 week. If you keep getting a negative result and think you are pregnant, talk with a health care provider right away.

Most medications, both over-the-counter and prescription drugs, including birth control pills and antibiotics, should not affect the results of a home pregnancy test (such as Profasi, Pregnyl or Novarel). Only those drugs that have the pregnancy hormone hCG in them can give a false positive test result (where the test says you are pregnant when you actually are not). Drugs that have hCG in them can be used for treating infertility (not being able to get pregnant). Alcohol and illegal drugs do not affect HPT results, but you should not be using these substances if you are trying to get pregnant

What is the most significant piece of advice you can give to women who wish to take a pregnancy test?
Pregnant women will vary in levels of HcG within their body at different times. But once HcG levels beginning to build, they should not fall until after 10 - 12 weeks (LMP). A dramatic decline in HcG levels may indicate a miscarriage" and one should consult with their caregiver. The chart below gives an average range of mIU/ml of HcG in pregnant women from 3 - 26 weeks from last menstrual period. Please note that in multiple births HcG levels may raise faster. An hCG level of less than 5 mIU/ml generally indicates you are not pregnant.

Do you have any further comments or suggestions to offer regarding pregnancy testing?
Not all pregnancy tests are created equal. The more sensitive the test (the smaller amount of hCG it can detect), the earlier the opportunity to detect pregnancy. That means with a test sensitive to 20 mIU/ml hCG, a home pregnancy test is accurate as early as six to eight days after conception, well before your first missed period. NOTE: Conception may take place several days after date of intercourse, so the date of intercourse should not necessarily be viewed as the day of conception.
For more information on pregnancy tests, read our Pregnancy Test Guide. To find a pregnancy test, consult our Pregnancy Test Directory.

 


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