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You Just Got a Positive Pregnancy Test – Now what?

Realising that you are pregnant can be a very exciting, eagerly anticipated event – or it may come as a surprise. This is why your obstetrics or obstetrician gynaecologist (OB-GYN) or fertility expert may ask how you feel when you inform them that your pregnancy test result is positive.

Even if your goal was to conceive, you could have a lot of mixed feelings, as a positive pregnancy test means you will be undergoing significant life changes. But other than pregnancy-related emotions, you will likely be wondering, “What do I do now?”. This article aims to answer some of the common and most pressing questions regarding 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, some important information you should know includes:

  • During the early days of pregnancy, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) levels increase by about 50% every 48 hours. 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 test instructions outlined in the pregnancy test kit.
  • You may call your healthcare provider once you get a positive result after taking the pregnancy test. The doctor will likely schedule an appointment via ultrasound and other vital screenings and tests by the 8th week to confirm the pregnancy and its condition.
  • If you have not already started taking prenatal vitamins with about 400 micrograms of folate (folic acid or methyl folate), you will be expected to begin taking them immediately.

Now that you understand some key takeaways, let’s dive into the details.

You Just Got a Positive Pregnancy Test - Now what?
How soon should you see a doctor after a positive pregnancy?

The Science of Home Pregnancy Tests

If you want to confirm your pregnancy after receiving a positive result, you can conduct a urine or blood test. Our affordable home pregnancy tests at Fertility2Family are designed to check the amount of hCG in your urine. Home pregnancy tests are designed to detect a predetermined threshold determining whether 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 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 such as morning sickness or vomiting. Between 70% and 80% of pregnant women usually experience these symptoms. Many people who experience these symptoms report them being resolved once the first trimester is complete when the hCG begins to stabilise.

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. Many 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. However,, pregnancy tests are most accurate beginning from the day of the missed period. Consider testing approximately two weeks after you ovulate, which you can determine using an ovulation test.

How Do You Confirm a Positive Pregnancy Test Result?

Reaching out to a healthcare provider is crucial once you get a positive pregnancy test result. The healthcare provider will confirm the pregnancy at the first appointment, which often occurs around the eighth week after the last menstrual period. Once they verify that you are expectant, they’ll get your prenatal care scheduled and recommend that you start taking pregnancy supplements.

If you use the pregnancy test as instructed, the chances of getting an inaccurate result will be rare. That said, there are some cases in which a false positive result may occur when the hCG levels are elevated, such as:

  • Specific fertility treatments entail hCG hormone injections, but the excess hormones are cleared some weeks later.
  • Some tumours can produce elevated hCG.
  • After a miscarriage or chemical pregnancy.

False Negatives

What about false negatives? You will get these results when hCG levels aren’t detected, regardless of the current pregnancy. This may be a result of the following:

  • Taking the test too early before the hCG levels were high enough for the test to detect pregnancy.
  • Testing with diluted urine.

When you receive a negative result 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 Realising 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. Remember that this initial visit may take longer because your OB-GYN will need to collect and review a lot of information.

The first appointment with the healthcare provider is when the pregnancy and location are confirmed via ultrasound. Sometimes, the doctor may do a blood test to confirm the pregnancy. So why is the pregnancy location vital?

Events like ectopic pregnancy, whereby the egg gets fertilised outside of the uterus, can cause serious complications. Knowing the location will help the healthcare provider recommend the best solution for an ectopic pregnancy. Scheduling an in-person appointment before the eighth week of pregnancy isn’t usually recommended unless you have severe cramping, bleeding, or sudden abdominal pain.

Positive Pregnancy Test Results After Assisted Reproductive Technology

Women who undergo assisted reproductive technology (ATR) to conceive, such as IVF and ICSI, can expect more tests early on. The fertility expert will likely confirm the pregnancy through blood work or 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.

How can you tell if a pregnancy test is positive?
How can you tell if a pregnancy test is positive?

What Are You Expected to Do Before Your First Prenatal Appointment?

Once you realise you are expectant and you’re waiting for the first prenatal appointment, there are steps you can take to stay healthy and ensure the fetus develops healthily, too. This includes:

  • 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, discuss it with your provider to verify if it’s safe to take while pregnant.
  • Stop consuming alcohol, vaping, or smoking.
  • Avoid undercooked or unheated meat, fish, unpasteurised dairy, or foods like listeria.
  • Eat 2-3 servings of fish high in DHA and low in mercury (like salmon) each week. You can take Conceive Plus prenatal vitamins as a vegan or vegetarian. Eat lots of fruits and veggies.
  • If you start experiencing nausea, try bland foods and ginger (ginger tea, ale, etc.) to settle your stomach.
  • Pay close attention to your workouts; some exercises aren’t recommended during pregnancy. Your healthcare 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 a due date is an estimation.

In most cases, providers date the pregnancy at the first prenatal appointment based on the first 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 a last-month period (LMP) consistent with the first-trimester 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 second trimester to share the news. Nonetheless, there is no wrong or right time to inform people that you are pregnant, so follow your instincts.

What Should You Expect From Prenatal Appointments Throughout the Pregnancy?

As the fetus develops, your visits with your healthcare provider will change in frequency and focus. Here is an overview of things you should expect at your 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, there are typically two at this stage of pregnancy. At these appointments, you will undergo several screenings and tests, such as:

  • Ultrasounds to confirm the pregnancy, the estimated gestational age, and check to ensure the uterus is developing/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 hbA1C 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 every four weeks, and the following may occur:

  • Prenatal genetic diagnostic assessment if the genetic screening tests done earlier came back abnormal.
  • Maternal serum analytes (the second 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 monthly or biweekly to weekly appointments following the 36th week. These appointments may include:

  • Ultrasounds to determine the fetus’s position.
  • A group B strep swab to check the existence of group B strep in the vagina.
  • A vaccine for whooping cough.
  • Additional lab work, if necessary.

Positive Pregnancy Test: Bottom Line

Knowing what may happen or what to do after getting a positive pregnancy test is vital, whether your pregnancy is a surprise or not. If you get a positive pregnancy test result after your missed period, the next step is to call your healthcare provider.

If you need to test for pregnancy, Fertility2Family can provide pregnancy test kits to help you get reliable results. Our kits are affordable and efficient, so all you need to do is follow the outlined instructions. For further information, get in touch with us at Fertility2Family today.

Myo-Inositol and fertility
Myo-Inositol and folic acid have been proven to assist with fertility issues.
Sources:

Fertility2Family only uses trusted & peer-reviewed sources to ensure our articles’ information is accurate and reliable.

Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care (2022) Gestational age, Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. Available at: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/pregnancy-care-guidelines/part-d-clinical-assessments/gestational-age (Accessed: 13 October 2023).

Cleveland Clinic (2023) Quad Marker Screen: Purpose, procedure & results, Cleveland Clinic. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diagnostics/4698-pregnancy-quad-marker-screen (Accessed: 13 October 2023).

Department of Health & Human Services (2000) Assisted Reproductive Technology – IVF and ICSI, Better Health Channel Australia. Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/Assisted-reproductive-technology-IVF-and-ICSI (Accessed: 13 October 2023).

Department of Health & Human Services (2001) Ectopic pregnancy, Better Health Channel Australia. Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/ectopic-pregnancy (Accessed: 13 October 2023).

Department of Health & Human Services (2001) Pregnancy – week by Week, Better Health Channel Australia. Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/pregnancy-week-by-week (Accessed: 13 October 2023).

Healthdirect Australia (2023) HbA1c test, healthdirect. Available at: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/hba1c-test (Accessed: 13 October 2023).

HealthyLife Australia (2018) Folic acid, folinic acid and methylfolate, healthylife.com.au. Available at: https://www.healthylife.com.au/learn/understanding-folate-folic-acid-folinic-acid-and-methylfolate (Accessed: 13 October 2023).

Huggies (2021) HCG level – week by week chart – huggies au, Huggies Nappies & Baby Wipes. Available at: https://www.huggies.com.au/pregnancy/stages-of-pregnancy/hcg-levels (Accessed: 13 October 2023).

Lee, N.M. and Saha, S. (2011) Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy, Gastroenterology clinics of North America. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3676933/ (Accessed: 13 October 2023).

The Royal Women’s Hospital (2014) Genetic testing in pregnancy, The Royal Women’s Hospital Australia. Available at: https://www.thewomens.org.au/health-information/pregnancy-and-birth/now-you-are-pregnant/genetic-testing-in-pregnancy (Accessed: 13 October 2023).

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Evan Kurzyp

Evan is the founder of Fertility2Family and is passionate about fertility education & providing affordable products to help people in their fertility journey. Evan is a qualified Registered Nurse and has expertise in guiding & managing patients through their fertility journeys.

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