Ultrasound vs. Over-the-Counter Pregnancy Test: Which One Better Detects Pregnancy?

Your period is due and you’re feeling a little “off.” Did you catch that bug that’s going around? Or could you be pregnant? The thought of being unexpectedly pregnant is scary and you’re not sure what to do next. You know over-the-counter pregnancy tests are available, but you’re wondering if they will give you accurate results.

At Pregnancy Care Clinic, we understand how important it is to ease your mind and how quickly you want to know if you’re really pregnant. So we provide you with no-cost pregnancy testing, along with confidential, non-judgmental, and caring services to give you answers to your questions.

Over-the-Counter Pregnancy Tests

When a pregnancy implants into the uterus, the body produces a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (HCG). Over-the-counter pregnancy tests are designed to detect the (HCG) in your urine. Test manufacturers claim they are 99% accurate [1]. However, it’s important to know this is dependent on several factors such as:

  • When you take the test: You will get a more accurate result using concentrated, first morning urine after a period was missed. You are more likely to get a false negative result if your urine is diluted.
  • When you ovulated: If you have a 28-day cycle, you will typically ovulate around day 14. Stress, excessive exercise, and illness call all delay ovulation [2]. If you ovulate later in your cycle, you may get a false negative result [3].

Over-the-counter pregnancy tests only tell you if the HCG hormone was detected, but an ultrasound will confirm your pregnancy and tell you if it is viable.

Ultrasound

A viable pregnancy is one that is likely to end in birth. According to March of Dimes, up to half of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, and knowing if your pregnancy is viable is a crucial piece of information to have [4]. Ultrasounds detect this.

  • An ultrasound detects the location of a pregnancy: A viable pregnancy will be properly implanted in the lining of the uterus. If a fertilized egg implants in the fallopian tube before it reaches the uterus, it’s called an ectopic pregnancy [5]. An ectopic pregnancy cannot continue and requires emergency treatment.
  • An ultrasound detects if a pregnancy is not viable or at risk to miscarry: This is important to know if you will be making a decision about an unplanned pregnancy. You definitely don’t want to risk having an unnecessary procedure for an unviable pregnancy.

How Pregnancy Care Clinic Can Help

If you think you might be pregnant, make an appointment today at Pregnancy Care Clinic for a confidential, no-cost pregnancy test. If your pregnancy test is positive, we will also provide you a no-cost ultrasound to confirm the viability of your pregnancy. Our licensed medical professionals and trained advocates are committed to answering all your questions and offering unbiased information that will empower you to make a decision about your pregnancy that is best for you.

[1] Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Home pregnancy tests: Can you trust the results? Retrieved August 31, 2019 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/in-depth/home-pregnancy-tests/art-20047940

[2] Healthline. (n.d.). Late ovulation: symptoms, causes, effects on conception. Retrieved August 31, 2019 from https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/late-ovulation

[3] Shape. (n.d.). Why you might get a false negative or false positive pregnancy test result. Retrieved August 31, 2019 from
https://www.shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/false-negative-false-positive-pregnancy-test-result

[4] March of Dimes. (n.d.). Miscarriage. Retrieved August 31, 2019 from https://www.marchofdimes.org/miscarriage.aspx

[5] Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Ectopic Pregnancy. Retrieved August 31, 2019 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ectopic-pregnancy/symptoms-causes/syc-20372088