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How and when to use home pregnancy tests

Your pregnancy can be detected in different ways, including pregnancy tests that detect hormones generated by the newly-formed placenta.

Clinical tests of urine and blood can detect pregnancy hormones from 6 to 10 days after conception, once the fertilized egg (known as a blastocyte) has implanted in the uterus. Home pregnancy tests use samples of urine to measure pregnancy hormones and cannot usually detect pregnancy until 12 or 15 days after conception.

Both types of tests can detect whether the woman is pregnant or not, but cannot tell us the date the pregnancy started or the due date.

Beware of false positive results in home pregnancy tests, especially at the early stages, as many users fail to follow the instructions correctly. You should only start truly celebrating your pregnancy once it has been confirmed by a health professional.

Once you have had your pregnancy confirmed, the embryo can first be seen by ultrasound at around 5 weeks gestation (3 weeks after fertilization), and the heartbeat may be seen by 6 weeks gestation.

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