You Just Got a Positive Pregnancy Test – Now what?
Realizing that you are pregnant can be an eagerly anticipated event, or it may come as a surprise. This is the reason why your OB-GYN or fertility expert may ask how you feel when you inform them that your pregnancy test result is positive. Even if you wanted to conceive, you could have a lot of mixed feelings since you will be undergoing significant life changes.
Other than the range of emotions linked with pregnancy, you will likely wonder what you should do now. This article will try to answer some of the common and most pressing questions people have on early pregnancy and outline the steps you can take after getting a positive test result if the pregnancy is desired.
But before we dive in, here are some key takeaways you should know:
- During the early days of pregnancy, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) levels increase by about 50% every 48 hours. The at-home tests primarily focus on checking hCG levels in your urine.
- The chances of getting false negative pregnancy results will be rare when you follow the instructions outlined on the pregnancy test kit.
- Once you get a positive result after taking the pregnancy test, you may opt to call your healthcare provider. The physician will likely schedule an appointment by the 8th week to confirm the pregnancy and its condition via ultrasound and other vital screenings and tests.
- Suppose you had not started taking the prenatal vitamins with about 400 micrograms of folate (folic acid or methylfolate). In that case, you will be expected to begin taking them as soon as possible.
Now that you have the key takeaways, we can dive into the details.
First things first: the science of the home pregnancy tests
If you want to confirm if you are pregnant, you can do a urine test or blood test. The home pregnancy tests are designed to check the amount of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine. Home pregnancy tests are designed to detect a predetermined threshold that determines if you are pregnant (most often between 10 to 25 mIU/mL).
Fertility2Family pregnancy tests are designed to detect at 10mIU/ml making them one of the most sensitive in Australia.
So, what’s hCG again? Once implantation occurs, a structure is known as the chorion (it forms around the embryo) will start to produce hCG and eventually grow into a part of the placenta. The hCG levels will increase by about 50% each day during the early pregnancy days. Some studies suggest a relationship between this hormone and pregnancy symptoms, like morning sickness or vomiting. In fact, 70% to 80% of pregnant women usually experience these symptoms. A large percentage of the people who experience these symptoms report them being resolved once the first trimester is complete, a time when the hCG begins to stabilize.
How soon can you do a home pregnancy test?
Pregnancy tests usually come with different guidelines (depending on the brand), and it’s crucial to follow the instructions religiously to get the most accurate readings. About 30% of people find it difficult to follow instructions, something that leads to false readings:
- Although most pregnancy test kits can detect conception after a missed period, some tests are designed to detect the pregnancy as early as six days before the expected period date. But, pregnancy tests are most accurate beginning from the day of the missed period
- Consider testing approximately two weeks after you ovulate
- Technically, you can take the test at any time, but it’s recommended that you take it first after waking up in the morning using the first urine as it has high concentrations of hCG.
- If you have irregular periods, you might find it hard to know when your next period will start. Luckily, you can track ovulation and LH (luteinizing hormone) surges and use the information to test instead.
- Fertility2Family pregnancy tests are designed to be used as early as seven days past ovulation, making them one of Australia’s best early detection pregnancy tests.
How do you confirm a positive pregnancy test result?
As we will share in the next section, it is crucial to reach out to a healthcare provider once you get a positive pregnancy test result. The healthcare provider will confirm the pregnancy at the first appointment, which often occurs around the 8th week after the last menstrual period (primarily via ultrasound or a blood test). Once they verify that you are expectant, they’ll get your prenatal care scheduled and recommend that you start taking pregnancy supplements like folic acid if you haven’t started already. Do not be offended if the provider asks you to test again before setting the appointment, as they’ll likely want to make sure you didn’t get a false-positive result.
Getting a positive result followed by a negative one or periods can confuse. But, if you use the pregnancy test as instructed, the chances of getting an inaccurate result will be rare. That said, there’re some cases in which a false positive result may occur when the hCG levels are elevated:
- Specific fertility treatments entail hCG hormone injections, but the excess hormones are cleared some weeks later.
- Some tumours can produce elevated hCG (hCG tests were developed to check this).
- After a miscarriage or chemical pregnancy (an early pregnancy loss that occurs about five weeks after conception or after the embryo is implanted in the uterine lining).
What of false negatives? You will get these results when hCG levels aren’t detected, regardless of the current pregnancy. This may be a result of:
- They were taking the test too early before the hCG levels were high enough for the test to detect pregnancy.
- Testing with diluted urine. (this is why it’s recommended that you take the test early in the morning with the first void.
Once you get negative results but think you might be pregnant, take another test a few days later.
When is the best time to schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider after realizing you’re pregnant?
It’s essential to contact your healthcare provider when you get a positive test result. Experts recommend scheduling the first prenatal appointment eight weeks after the last menstrual period, so you can discuss important details about the pregnancy and essential things you should know, mainly if it’s your first time. Remember that this initial visit may take longer because your OB-GYN will need to collect and review a lot of information.
Due to covid-19, telehealth prenatal care has expanded, and that’s why some providers review the medical history and offer counselling before the eight weeks. However, the appointments that follow after the eight weeks have to be in person because they include lab work, ultrasounds, and exams.
As mentioned earlier, the first appointment with the healthcare provider is when the pregnancy and location are confirmed via an ultrasound – sometimes, the physician may choose to do a blood test to confirm the pregnancy. So why is the pregnancy location vital? Events like ectopic pregnancy, whereby the egg gets fertilized outside the uterus, can cause serious complications. Knowing the location will help the healthcare provider recommend the best solution for an ectopic pregnancy.
Is it possible to schedule an in-person appointment earlier before the eight weeks of pregnancy? Well, this isn’t usually recommended unless you are having issues like severe cramping, bleeding, or sudden abdominal pain. You can also rely on the visit to address vomiting or nausea if the guidance you got over the phone isn’t helping.
Positive pregnancy test results after ART (assisted reproductive technology)
The women who undergo assisted reproductive technology to conceive, like in IVF, can expect more tests early on – and the fertility expert will probably confirm the pregnancy through blood work or do an ultrasound much earlier in the pregnancy. In most cases, the fertility doctor will still provide care until about ten weeks into the pregnancy so you can start seeing the OB-GYN.
What are you expected to do before your first prenatal appointment?
Once you realize you are expectant and you’re waiting for the first prenatal appointment, there are steps you’ll need to take to stay healthy and ensure the fetus develops healthily too:
- Make sure you take your prenatal vitamins each day and ensure they have at least 400 mcg of folate (folic acid).
- If you are taking other medication, be sure to discuss it with your provider to verify if it’s safe to take them while pregnant or you need to discontinue their use.
- Stop taking alcohol, vaping, or smoking.
- Avoid taking undercooked or unheated meat, and fish, unpasteurized dairy, or any foods liked to listeria.
- Eat 2-3 servings of fish that’s high in DHA and low in mercury (like salmon) each week. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, you can take Conceive Plus prenatal vitamins. Do not forget to take lots of fruits and veggies.
- If you start experiencing nausea, try out bland foods and ginger (ginger tea, ale, etc.) to settle your stomach.
- Pay close attention to your workout, as some exercises aren’t recommended during pregnancy. Your health care provider can help you find the most suitable recs.
- Drink a lot of water.
How do healthcare providers calculate the due date?
The due date provided by the healthcare provider is a mere calculation of when you will be 40-weeks pregnant. But, it’s important to remember that a full term is 37 to 40 weeks, so the due date may not be an exact prediction of when you will give birth.
In most cases, providers date the pregnancy at the first prenatal appointment based on the 1st day of the last period. Why is it so? Not everyone knows the exact date when they ovulated, so when they use the previous period, they will have a more definite date for the count. The most precise method is an LMP (last month period) consistent with the first-trimester ultrasound. However, if you notice a big difference (such as seven days between the predicted due dates), you should focus on the ultrasound prediction. People with irregular periods end up having different due dates after the ultrasound.
When is the most appropriate time to tell people you are pregnant?
Deciding when to tell your family and friends about the pregnancy is an emotional and personal decision. Since the probability of pregnancy loss reduces considerably after the first trimester, it’s better to wait until the 2nd trimester to share the news. Nonetheless, there is no wrong or right time to inform people that you are pregnant, so just follow your instinct.
What should you expect from the prenatal appointments throughout the pregnancy?
As the fetus continues to develop in your womb, your visits with the healthcare provider will change in frequency and focus. Here is an overview of things you should expect at the in-person appointments during pregnancy:
First trimester: Although the expected appointments during the first three months of the pregnancy vary depending on the clinic, provider, and geographic location, they are typically two. At these appointments, you will undergo several screenings and tests (unless any of them was already done before conception or at a preconception appointment):
- Ultrasounds to confirm the pregnancy, the estimated gestational age, check to ensure the uterus is developing or how many fetuses there are, and determine the fetal heart rate.
- Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT). Genetic screening tests such as maternal serum analytes or non-invasive prenatal testing.
- Blood work to determine your blood type, test for sexually transmitted infections, check for vaccine antibodies and measure A1C to check diabetes risk factors.
- Carrier screening.
- Nuchal translucency ultrasound is done between 11-13 weeks to check for chromosomal abnormalities.
- Vaccines (flu shot and covid-19 vaccine).
Second trimester: Throughout this phase, you should expect prenatal appointments with the healthcare provider after every four weeks, and the following may happen:
- Prenatal genetic diagnostic assessment if the genetic screening tests done earlier came back abnormal (CVS or chorionic villus sampling between 10-13 weeks, or amniocentesis after the 15th week might be recommended).
- Maternal serum analytes (the 2nd part of the first and second-trimester blood tests, known as ‘the quad screen’) within 15-18 weeks to check for chromosomal abnormalities.
- Glucose challenge test within weeks 24 and 28 of the pregnancy to check gestational diabetes.
- Ultrasounds (an anatomy ultrasound is done between the 18th and 22nd week to screen for any anatomical abnormalities.
Third trimester: During the third and last trimester, you will go from the monthly or biweekly to weekly appointments after the 36th week. Here is what may happen:
- Ultrasounds to determine the fetus position
- A group B strep swab for checking the existence of group B strep (this is a popular and native bacterial strain) in a vagina
- The vaccine for whooping cough
- Additional lab work can be done if necessary
The bottom line
Whether your pregnancy is a surprise or not, knowing what may happen or what to do after getting a positive pregnancy test is vital. If you are pregnant and want a more in-depth guide on what to expect, you should consult with your healthcare provider or check our other articles for more insights.
If you need to test for pregnancy, Fertility2Family can provide the test kits to help you get reliable results. Our pregnancy test kits are affordable and efficient, so all you need to do is follow the outlined instructions,
Suppose you are currently pregnant, trying to conceive or planning to get kids in the near future. In that case, our prenatal multivitamins can provide the nutrients your body needs at each stage – even after delivery, whether you choose to breastfeed or not.
What To Do After You Get A Positive Pregnancy Test? If you get a positive pregnancy test result after your missed period. the next step is to call your healthcare provider