A missed period is usually the first pregnancy symptom women notice, and taking a pregnancy test is the sure way to confirm whether you’re pregnant or not.
There are two types of pregnancy tests: urine and blood. Although these two differ in methods, all pregnancy tests detect a special hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). The developing placenta produces this hormone after a fertilized egg implants in the uterus (implantation).
Both types of tests have their advantages and disadvantages. Urine tests can be purchased over-the-counter at any local drug store or online. However, the results from urine tests can also sometimes be inaccurate.
Blood pregnancy tests tend to be more accurate than urine tests, especially in the earlier stages of pregnancy, but they’re not available over-the-counter and until now have required a visit to the doctor. A blood pregnancy test can detect the presence of hCG earlier than a urine test can, usually by six to eight days post-conception.
With the new Labcorp OnDemand service, you no longer need to schedule and attend a doctor’s visit (online medical review and authorization are part of the process).
You purchase an hCG test online and instead visit any of Labcorp’s nearly 2,000 locations (including over 350 in Walgreens) for the collection of your blood sample.
The test is the same one used every day by physicians. Results are usually ready within a few days, and your results are accessed online.
Understanding Blood Pregnancy Test Results
A blood pregnancy test can measure the exact amount of hCG hormones in your blood. The level of hCG in your blood is a good indicator if you are pregnant, and can also provide some information about the status of your pregnancy.
Normal hCG levels usually double every 48-72 hours during the first weeks of pregnancy.
What If It’s Too Low
Low levels of hCG hormones can indicate a cause for concern, especially if you are also having any unusual symptoms such as pain or bleeding. It is best to see your doctor if you have any concerns.
What If It’s Too High
Extremely high levels of hCG hormones can mean that you’re carrying multiples (twins, triplets, etc.) or other complications that may require further discussion with your doctor.
How Soon Can A Blood Test Detect Pregnancy?
A blood test can detect pregnancy as early as 6-8 days after implantation. This is sooner than urine tests that usually detect pregnancy starting about 2 weeks after implantation and around the time of the first missed period. A blood test may be useful if you get conflicting results from urine pregnancy tests.
Choosing a Urine or a Blood Pregnancy Test
Although both of these pregnancy tests are reliable and show 99% accurate results when used properly, here are some considerations:
Urine Pregnancy Test
- Convenient. Can be used at home.
- Easy to use.
- Affordable. Can be bought over the counter.
- Accurate starting about 2 weeks after implantation.
- Shows results (yes or no for pregnancy) in around ten minutes.
- Less sensitive – needs more hCG for a positive reading.
Blood Pregnancy Test
- More sensitive than urine tests – for earlier detection
- Can detect the exact amount of hCG.
- Can be accurate even before a missed period.
- Can only be ordered by a medical professional.
- More expensive.
How Does Labcorp OnDemand’s hCG Blood Test Work?
- Choose Your Test
Shop for tests and pay online. An independent physician will review and approve your test requests.
- Provide Your Sample
Take the requisition number they’ll email you, along with a photo ID, to any Labcorp location for sample collection. You can make an appointment to help reduce your waiting time or just walk in without an appointment.
- Access Your Results Online
View your easy-to-read results online in your Labcorp OnDemand account. For certain results that may require prompt attention, you will also be contacted via phone or mail.
Can You Still Be Pregnant If Blood Test Is Negative?
Yes. It’s possible to get a negative test result from a blood test even if you’re pregnant. This is called a false-negative test result.
This usually occurs if you get tested too early before your developing placenta has enough time to produce enough hCG. To confirm, you can repeat a pregnancy test in a few days or ask your doctor for further evaluation.
When Is Too Early For A Blood Pregnancy Test?
Since a blood test detects pregnancy from 6-8 days after implantation at the earliest, it may be too early to come in for a blood test earlier than that.
When Should I See A Doctor About My Pregnancy?
Your physician might also order a blood pregnancy test in these situations:
- You have multiples (twins, triplets, etc.)
- You have a high-risk pregnancy
- Undergoing fertility treatments
- Possible miscarriage is suspected
- Potential ectopic pregnancy is suspected
- There are other pregnancy complications
Several of these indications require interpretation of the results by a healthcare professional or your attending physician.
Since some women have trouble getting an appointment with their doctor in the first few weeks of pregnancy, the Labcorp OnDemand test is great to understand where you are in your journey.
Does Labcorp OnDemand Have Other Tests For Women?
Yes, Labcorp OnDemand has a full portfolio of tests that can be useful for women in their health and wellness journey:
- Women’s Ovarian Reserve (Fertility Test) – helps assess your reproduction potential
- Vitamin B12 & Folate Test – important for pre- and post-partum
- Thyroid Stimulating Hormone Test – hypothyroidism is a leading cause of difficulty in achieving and maintaining pregnancy
- Women’s Health Test – a comprehensive assessment of your health with various screenings for cholesterol, diabetes, and more