Does Birth Control affect Pregnancy tests ?
Since birth control pills can help prevent pregnancy, can it actually affect or harm the mother or the child? Do taking birth control pills actually affect pregnancy tests?
To fully understand that, we will need to understand how each process works. This article aims to clear all that up in a way that you can understand.
Modern medicine has advanced to such a degree that processes regarding reproduction can now be closely monitored and controlled.
Before these advancements, contraceptives were a hit and miss, and knowing that you were pregnant can take quite some time to confirm.
Now, however, there are pregnancy tests that you can take at home. These can tell you almost instantly if you are pregnant or not. There are also birth control pills that can help in preventing pregnancy from occurring.
Aside from this, there are also some health benefits in taking birth control pills aside from its intended purpose.
Both pregnancy tests and birth control pills are affordable, effective, and are available over the counter in most locations. However, there is a very small chance that they would fail.
As such, you can have a negative result even while you’re already pregnant, and you can also get pregnant even while taking your pills.
How Does a Pregnancy Test Work?
A pregnancy test works by detecting the hormone human chorionic gonadotrophin, or more commonly known as hCG.
This hormone is produced by the body once an egg has been fertilized. This, however, will only appear between 5 to 7 days after the fertilization process.
In eight to ten weeks, the production of hCG will reach its peak, which makes this the perfect time to do a pregnancy test. However, many pregnancy tests already claim that they can provide accurate results within 6 or 7 days.
This hormone can be found both in the blood and urine.
Pregnancy tests use the latter in testing whether you are pregnant or not. A specially treated strip will react to the hCG content in the sample provide which would then provide you with an indication of the results.
Different products will give you different types of displays but they all fall under either positive or negative only.
A positive test is almost surely accurate, while negative results have a higher margin of error.
Those who have failed a pregnancy test but want to be sure can take another test after a couple of days as hormone production will differ from person to person and the amounts in the sample may not have been sufficient yet to yield a positive result.
How Do Birth Control Pills Work?
Birth control pills are basically manmade hormones in pill form. These hormones are estrogen and progestin, the latter of which is a synthetic form of progesterone.
Both of these hormones help in stopping an egg from meeting sperm which would then result in fertilization.
This process works in one of two ways. First and foremost, these hormones help in stopping ovulation.
This means that no egg is being released by the ovaries. These hormones also help in thickening the mucus that forms naturally in the cervix. This helps prevent sperm from meeting any eggs that have been released.
Most birth control pills come in two forms, namely combination pills and progestin-only pills, also known as mini pills.
The difference is that combination pills contain both hormones while mini pills only contain progestin. However, both function in typically the same way.
To use birth control pills, you just have to take one pill each day at the exact same time. You will need to purchase pills that are suited to your normal cycle.
Some pills will have inactive pills that serve as placebos which would be in line with your natural menstruation period.
However, you should take note that, when taking mini pills, it would be possible for you to skip a month or two without having your period.
It is also possible to get periods only two or three times a year. It is important to also consult with your doctor before you start taking pills.
Birth control pills are not recommended for those who are breastfeeding, are taking other forms of medication, or have any other health conditions that may conflict with the hormones.
There may also be some side effects that can vary from person to person.
What Happens During Pregnancy?
The female body experiences many changes when an egg meets a sperm cell. However, this can only occur when the timing and conditions are close to perfect.
This is why some couples do not have children after many years of trying to conceive.
A woman is considered as pregnant when an egg is fertilized and it attaches to the uterine wall. The egg and sperm unite in the fallopian tubes and will start to divide.
Once the fertilized egg, called the zygote, attaches to the uterine wall, the placenta and umbilical cord will start to develop.
During this period, hormone levels will start to rise. This will also cause the suppression of the menstrual cycle as this will no longer be needed and will resume shortly after childbirth.
The pregnant woman will also experience symptoms such as headaches, morning sickness, and tender or swollen breasts.
What Experts Think
To answer the question of whether taking birth control pills will affect a pregnancy test, the short answer is no.
This is because birth control pills do not affect the amount of hCG produced by the body once a person gets pregnant. However, there are also certain risks involved when taking pills while pregnant.
While it is perfectly safe to be taking birth control pills when pregnant, it is recommended that you stop doing so after you find out about the pregnancy.
This is because estrogen and progesterone levels will rise naturally during pregnancy, removing the need for getting these hormones from an artificial source.
Moreover, there are certain risks with taking birth control pills while pregnant.
This holds specifically true when taking mini pills as continuing to take them while pregnant slightly increases the chances of an ectopic pregnancy, a potentially life-threatening condition for both the mother and the child.
There have also been some links between taking birth control pills immediately before or after conception to pregnancy-related complications such as low birth rates, premature births, and also miscarriages.
However, research regarding this is still a bit lacking although experts say that the risk is very minimal.
Experts recommend that you immediately stop taking pills once you learn that you are pregnant.
However, it is very much clear that birth control pills do not affect pregnancy and pregnancy tests, at least during the early stages of conception.
Still, there are also some risks involved when taking birth control pills, which is why visiting a specialist is recommended for those who want to use these types of products.
Experts also recommend that those who want to get pregnant need to stop taking birth control pills at least two weeks before they try to conceive.
As always, it is always better to get expert advice from a specialist on whether birth control pills are the right option for you. To completely remove the possibility of pregnancy, abstinence is still the best practice. It can also help you in preventing STDs, something that birth control pills cannot.
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