How does an OBGYN Test for Pregnancy?

When you take a pregnancy test, and it's positive, it can be overwhelming emotional in various ways. And it can be challenging to know what to do next. If you think you may be pregnant, the best place to start is to schedule an appointment with an OB/GYN as soon as possible. 

Why See An OB/GYN?

Home pregnancy tests are highly accurate when used correctly. However, taking the test at the wrong time or incorrectly could lead to a false-positive or false-negative result. Also, home pregnancy tests differ in diagnosing pregnancy in women who have recently missed a period. So, if your periods are irregular, it might be a bit more complicated. To determine if you are pregnant, it's best to get tested by an OB/GYN. It's also a positive step to see a doctor early in your pregnancy to help you and your baby stay healthy.

How does an OB/GYN test for pregnancy? 

Whether bought over the counter or taken at a doctor's office, all urine pregnancy tests work by screening for a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). hCG is also known as the pregnancy hormone. When a fertilized egg implants itself in your uterus, your body starts to produce hCG. You can detect trace levels of hCG from as early as eight days after ovulation. This means some women can get a positive pregnancy test several days before their period starts. 

If you suspect you are pregnant, one of the benefits of being examined by an OB/GYN is that the doctor can use additional tests to confirm the pregnancy — such as a blood test and a pelvic ultrasound. The blood test your doctor performs can detect pregnancy earlier than a urine pregnancy test. The drawback is that it usually takes 24 hours to get results.

Ultrasound Scans for Determining Pregnancy

Your OB/GYN can also do a pelvic/transvaginal ultrasound if required. It is a type of ultrasound scan carried out by placing a probe in the vagina. A pelvic/transvaginal ultrasound can detect the heartbeat very early in your pregnancy—earlier than a standard abdominal ultrasound done on your stomach. A pelvic/transvaginal ultrasound can confirm early pregnancy and assist with due date calculation. This is done at 6 – 7 weeks after your last cycle. It is safe for both you and the fetus. 

Further along in pregnancy, your OB/GYN might do an abdominal ultrasound (sonogram). It uses reflected sound waves to produce a picture of a fetus. It can determine how far along the pregnancy has progressed. Sonographers will also carefully examine your baby's body to check its health and development. The scan can be used to:

  • Calculate your estimated due date
  • Check the size of the baby and that it is growing normally
  • Identify if there is more than one baby
  • Detect certain physical conditions
  • Show the position of the baby and the placenta
  • Varify the gender of the baby if requested

Whether transvaginal or abdominal, there are no known risks to you or the baby from having an ultrasound scan. 

Colorado Obstetrics & Women’s Health

At Colorado Obstetrics & Women's Health, we pride ourselves on providing the highest quality OB/GYN care. We offer complete obstetrical and prenatal care through routine or high-risk pregnancies. Our team of dedicated women's health professionals understands that every pregnancy and childbirth is a unique experience for everyone. 

If you are looking for an OB/GYN who will work with you to have the best possible experience throughout your pregnancy, give us a call today at (719) 634-8800 to schedule an appointment.