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Detecting the Signs of Pregnancy

When a woman misses her menstrual period, it could be a sign that she's pregnant. However, a missed or delayed period is not a reliable indication of pregnancy. That's why women resort to other means of detecting and verifying the signs of pregnancy. Some will employ pregnancy tests while others visit the gynecologist.

Pregnancy tests date way back to the time of ancient Greece and Rome. Women would use wheat and barley to identify signs of pregnancy. Moreover, ancient Greek physician Hippocrates told women to take in honey and water during bedtime. If they developed cramps, they are likely pregnant.

In the 1970s, new methods of detecting pregnancy evolved. By the end of the 20th century, home pregnancy kits were available. Now they are continually used to detect early signs of pregnancy.

Early pregnancy tests require either urine or blood samples. Both tests rest on the same premise: to detect the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) — a hormone secreted by the placenta soon after the egg is fertilized and attaches to the uterus. Pregnancy tests that require blood samples are typically conducted by a doctor only, while pregnancy kits that only require urine can be done at home.

Home pregnancy kits are the widely used type since they're easy to operate, even though pregnancy tests that require blood samples are more accurate because they're more sensitive than home pregnancy kits. Nevertheless, home pregnancy tests have an impressive 96 percent accuracy, give immediate results, are readily available and are very affordable.

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