What is a qualitative pregnancy test?
- A qualitative pregnancy test only detects hCG hormone and shows that you are pregnant based on its presence or absence.
- A qualitative pregnancy test is popularly known as a home pregnancy test. The stick pregnancy test you take is a qualitative pregnancy test.
When to take a qualitative pregnancy test?
- A qualitative pregnancy test is the first preliminary pregnancy test a doctor recommends. It is the step before doing a quantitative pregnancy test.
- You have to take the qualitative pregnancy test after you experience early pregnancy symptoms.
- The early pregnancy symptoms include tender breasts, missing your periods by more than a week, cramps, mood swings, etc.
How is a qualitative pregnancy test performed?
- A woman takes a qualitative pregnancy test as instructed by the particular pregnancy test kit.
- It is a basic procedure of exposing the pregnancy test to urine and then allowing the pregnancy test to develop results.
How to read a qualitative pregnancy test?
- A qualitative pregnancy test displays the result in the form of lines or symbols.
- If the test line appears, then the pregnancy test is positive, and otherwise, it is negative.
- Some pregnancy test use symbols such as a plus sign for a positive pregnancy test and minus sign for a negative pregnancy test.
- Digital pregnancy test shows the results as written phrases ‘pregnant’ or ‘not pregnant.’
What does a qualitative pregnancy test tell?
- A qualitative pregnancy test simply tells you whether you are pregnant or not.
- It doesn’t differentiate between a healthy pregnancy and an unsustainable pregnancy.
- It might be that the qualitative pregnancy test detects hCG present due to other medical conditions such as ovarian cysts. In this case, it will give a false positive pregnancy test.
What is a quantitative pregnancy test?
- A quantitative pregnancy test is a test which estimates and quantifies hCG present in your blood. A quantitative pregnancy test validates healthy progression of your pregnancy.
- A doctor performs the quantitative pregnancy test using advanced medical assays.
When to take a quantitative pregnancy test?
A quantitative pregnancy test comes after taking a qualitative pregnancy test. You’ve to go to the doctor whether you get a negative pregnancy test in spite of pregnancy symptoms or a positive pregnancy test.
How is a quantitative pregnancy test performed?
- A blood test is done for performing the quantitative pregnancy test.
- Doctors withdraw a small volume of blood for performing the quantitative pregnancy test.
- He will insert a needle into the superficial vein of your arm near the elbow and then cover the puncture.
- You don’t have to follow any particular instructions like fasting.
- Then your blood will go for testing, and you will get the reports after a day or two.
How to read a quantitative pregnancy test?
Usually, you don’t have to interpret a quantitative pregnancy test as the results are written in the report.
However, if you want to know what does a particular hCG level indicate you can refer to these ranges:
- If hCG levels are below 5 mIU/ml then you are not pregnant.
- If the hCG level is between 5 mIU/ml to 25 mIU/ml then repeat the test.
- Levels of hCG above 25 mIU/ml show that you are pregnant.
A minimum 66% increase occurs within 48 hours. When hCG level is between 1200 – 6000 mIU/ml then it doubles in 72 hours. If the hCG level is higher than 6000 mIU/ml, it takes about four days to double.
The hCG level goes on increasing with the progression of pregnancy.
What does a quantitative pregnancy test tell?
Depending on the hCG level obtained a quantitative pregnancy test estimates the stage of pregnancy.
Levels of hCG during pregnancy week wise:
From the 3rd week of pregnancy hCG levels are considerable
|3rd week of pregnancy||5 - 50 mIU/ml|
|4th week of pregnancy||5 - 426 mIU/ml|
|5th week of pregnancy||18 - 7340 mIU/ml|
|6th week of pregnancy||1080 - 56,500 mIU/ml|
|7th - 8th week of pregnancy||7650 - 2,29,000 mIU/ml|
|9th - 12th week of pregnancy||25,700 - 2,88,000 mIU/ml|
|13th - 16th week of pregnancy||13,300 - 2,54,000 mIU/ml|
|17th - 24th week of pregnancy||4060 - 1,65,400 mIU/ml|
|25th - 40th week of pregnancy||3640 - 1,17,000 mIU/ml|
What do high hCG levels indicate?
A high level of hCG indicates
- Molar pregnancy
- Multiple pregnancies
- Ovarian cysts or tumors
What do low hCG levels indicate?
- Wrong prediction of pregnancy
- Ectopic pregnancies
Difference between Qualitative and Quantitative Pregnancy Tests
Quantitative Pregnancy Test Vs Qualitative Pregnancy Test
|Qualitative Pregnancy Test||Quantitative Pregnancy Test|
|Done in Medical labs/clinics||Done at home|
|Tests level of hCG||Only detects hCG|
|More accurate||Less accurate|
It is always recommended by medical professionals to verify the results of a qualitative pregnancy test.