Blood vs Urine Pregnancy Test: What’s the Difference? 
a woman looks at a urine pregnancy test - she had to make a choice between a blood vs urine pregnancy test

There are two common kinds of tests to detect pregnancy: blood tests and urine tests. Let’s explore the difference between the two.

Understanding How Pregnancy Tests Work

In order to understand how pregnancy tests work, it is important to understand what happens in your body when you become pregnant. About two weeks after the first day of your last period, a mature egg is released from your ovary. If you have unprotected sex within 24 hours of ovulation and a sperm reaches the egg, conception occurs. Six to 11 days later, the fertilized egg implants in the endometrium, or the lining of your uterus. About six days after that, or around the day you would expect your next period to begin, your body begins to produce the hormone hCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, and releases it into both your blood and urine. This hormone is important as it stimulates the production of progesterone, which is necessary to sustain a pregnancy.

Pregnancy tests work by detecting the presence of hCG in your blood or urine.

Differences Between Blood and Urine Pregnancy Tests

Blood and urine pregnancy tests have both similarities and differences. Below, we will discuss those similarities and differences.

Purpose

Both blood and urine pregnancy tests are used to detect pregnancy. However, because blood tests can measure the amount of hCG present in the bloodstream, they can also be used to determine gestational age, monitor for fetal loss, detect a possible ectopic pregnancy, and diagnose other medical conditions that cause hCG production.

Administration

blood test for pregnancy -  blood vs urine pregnancy test

Blood pregnancy tests require venipuncture – or inserting a needle into a vein to draw blood – which may be accompanied by slight pain or discomfort. Urine pregnancy tests are not uncomfortable; you will simply collect a small amount of urine in a cup or on a stick according to the instructions provided by your healthcare provider or the at-home test you have selected.

While blood tests must be ordered and administered by a medical provider and tested in a lab, urine tests can be ordered by a medical provider and tested in a lab or purchased over the counter and self-administered at home.

Cost

Tests administered at your provider’s office are more expensive than over-the-counter tests. The most affordable pregnancy test is one you can purchase over the counter and administered yourself. If you do elect to go to the doctor, urine pregnancy tests are more affordable than blood pregnancy tests. Pregnancy options clinics like Willow Womens Center usually offer free testing.

Results

It may take longer to get the results from a blood test than it does to receive results from an over-the-counter or urine pregnancy test. In most cases, you will have the results from a urine pregnancy test within a few minutes.

Accuracy of Blood vs Urine Pregnancy Tests

Although comfort, convenience, and affordability are all advantages of at-home urine tests, blood tests are sometimes used because they provide earlier results, improved accuracy when testing before your missed period, and more detailed quantitative information. This kind of information can be helpful for women who are facing high-risk pregnancies, who need treatment to sustain a pregnancy, or who suspect they may be experiencing a miscarriage. It can also be helpful for providers working to diagnose other medical conditions that involve hCG production.

In the vast majority of cases, a urine pregnancy test is recommended. Urine pregnancy tests are most accurate on or after the day you miss your period. Accuracy increases substantially with each day after a missed period due to the increase in hCG levels that occurs at that point in the pregnancy. Taking a urine pregnancy test right away in the morning when your urine is most concentrated can also help improve accuracy.

Blood tests can detect hCG almost as soon as you begin producing it; just 6-8 days after ovulation or around a week before your missed period.

When to Take a Blood or Urine Pregnancy Test

Women who are trying to conceive may choose to take a pregnancy test before they experience any signs or symptoms of pregnancy. In this case, a blood pregnancy test can be taken about a week after ovulation (or three weeks after the first day of your last period if you have a 28-day cycle) and a urine pregnancy test can be taken the day of or the day after your missed period.

In other cases, pregnancy is not planned and symptoms lead to suspicions and testing. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms after birth control failure or unprotected sex, consider taking a pregnancy test or scheduling a free test at Willow Womens Center:

  • Sensitive, sore breasts. Hormonal changes related to pregnancy often lead to breast soreness and discomfort in the first few weeks of pregnancy.
  • A missed period. If you normally have regular periods and you didn’t get it when you expected to, it’s an indication that you may be pregnant.
  • Exhaustion. While causes are unknown, early pregnancy often leads to fatigue and exhaustion, making it a common sign of pregnancy.
  • Nausea. While it’s often called ‘morning sickness,’ nausea that accompanies pregnancy can happen at any time of the day and doesn’t have to be accompanied by vomiting.
  • Frequent urination. More frequent urination is a sign that your kidneys are processing more fluid than usual – an indication that you might be pregnant.

Other less common signs and symptoms of pregnancy include cramping, mood swings, light spotting, food aversions, and bloating. Many of these symptoms can also accompany your menstrual period, so it is important to take a test to confirm a suspected pregnancy.

The sooner you know about an unexpected pregnancy, the more options you have available to you and the more time you have to learn about the options available to you and make an informed decision. For free pregnancy testing, early ultrasound, pregnancy options counseling, and more, schedule an appointment with the team at Willow Womens Center today.


Pregnant in College: Everything You Need to Know
Pregnant in college

While you might picture the traditional college student fresh out of high school with little responsibility, the truth is that college students come from diverse backgrounds, each with unique experiences and life stories. As a matter of fact, 22% of all students in undergraduate programs are parents, and there are 1.7 million single mothers enrolled in a program at any given time.

You can juggle pregnancy and parenting and finish your education with the right resources and support. You have options as a pregnant student, and there are rights for pregnant women in the education system, financial aid opportunities for those expecting or who have a child, and tips for pregnant college students.

Know Your Options

Knowing your options is the first step in making the most informed decision. When facing an unexpected pregnancy, you have three options: adoption, abortion, or parenting.

Adoption

Many women who are not ready to parent and who do not feel comfortable with abortion elect to have their child raised by another family. You can learn more about what to expect during the adoption process by meeting with an adoption agency. You might be surprised to learn how much autonomy and input you have, even as it relates to the child’s family and their relationship with you going forward.

Abortion

Some women consider abortion when facing an unplanned pregnancy while they are still in school. If you are considering to terminate your pregnancy, a pregnancy clinic such as Willow Womens Center will provide education on the different types of procedures and options available to empower you to make the most well-informed decision.

Parenting

You might decide to parent, and if you do, Willow Womens Centercan help connect you with the services you need to be successful, such as free diapers and wipes, parenting classes, referrals for medical care, support groups, and more.

Rights of Pregnant Women

Pregnant students are protected by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, commonly referred to as Title IX. Under Title IX:

  • women cannot be discriminated against because of pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion, childbirth, or the recovery associated with these
  • students have a right to take time away from school for pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion, childbirth, and/or recovery for as long as is medically necessary according to their doctor
  • schools must provide pregnant students with at least the same accommodations or special services they provide to other students with temporary restrictions
  • schools must provide you with a formal complaint process that you can follow if you feel your Title IX rights have been violated

This means is that if you must be excused from school for your doctor’s appointments, hospital stay, and any other time your doctor deems necessary, such as a medicallyrequired bed rest during a high-risk pregnancy. Additionally, if your university has offered distance learning options for students who have COVID-19 or who are recovering from a sports injury, then they must also offer distance learning options for pregnant women on physician-ordered bed rest.

Women who are employed have additional protections at work that vary by state. You can learn more about those protections in your state here.

Financial Aid Opportunities

Having a child changes the way your financial aid is calculated. While your parents’ income may have been taken into consideration before, having and claiming a child (who you will provide more than half the support for) will likely qualify you as an independent student. That means that your financial aid award will no longer take your parents’ income into consideration.

Additionally, you can typically include an unborn child when calculating your household size as long as he or she will be born within the academic year. Claiming a larger household size may give you access to more funding.

There are some exceptions; schedule an appointment with your financial aid advisor to learn more.

Additionally, there are other programs that may be beneficial to expectant students:

  • Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program provides a monthly stipend for nutritional foods like fruits, vegetables, formula, eggs, and cheese, along with education and screening services.
  • Medicaid provides many people – especially pregnant women and children – with access to free or low-cost healthcare.
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a monthly financial aid program bridging the gap for families who have no resources or source of income. The funds may be used to buy food, utilities, clothing, housing, or other necessities.
  • The Maternity Group Homes for Pregnant and Parenting Youth (MGH) Program, the Housing Choice Voucher Program, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) can assist low-income families with housing or housing expenses.

Additionally, many organizations assist new parents by connecting them with the basic items they need such as free car seats and diapers. Willow Womens Center offers free diapers once a week to families who need them; you can learn more here.

Tips for Pregnant College Students

Facing pregnancy during your undergraduate program? These tips can help you continue on your path to success while caring for your own health and wellness:

  • Schedule an appointment with a pregnancy options clinic such as Willow Womens Center early. Early information, resources, and referral can provide you with more options and help you make the best decision.
  • Connect with your advisor at school early to discuss how your school supports pregnant students and parents and what programs are available to promote success.
  • If you are worried about the cost of pregnancy, childbirth, or raising a child, schedule an appointment with your local Medicaid office. They can explore the programs you might be eligible for and walk you through the application process.
  • Share the news with somebody you trust so you do not have to work through these feelings and make these decisions alone. Having a support person can help you stay objective as you explore options and consider your next steps.

To get started with Willow Womens Center, request an appointment online or by calling 608-312-2025 today. Our caring team offers free pregnancy testing, ultrasound, STD testing, education on pregnancy options, parenting classes, diapers, and more.


First-Time Parents: Should you Take Parenting Classes?
First-time parents

Surprised to learn that you are expecting…unexpectedly? Parenting can feel intimidating even when your pregnancy is planned for a lot of reasons, the same as getting to prenatal appointments or preparing for the cost of diapers and formula. But outside of those logistics, knowing how to raise a child can also feel overwhelming.

Children require different things from parents at different ages and stages throughout their childhood, and no two children are the same. Furthermore, our own experiences as infants, children, and adolescents can influence how we raise our own children – positively or negatively –

 unless we understand what our children need from us and why we think and behave the way we do.

Whether you are facing unplanned pregnancy or just looking for guidance and support as a first-time parent, the free classes at Willow Womens Center check all of those boxes.

Should First-Time Parents Take Parenting Classes?

As you work through your ‘first-time parent checklist,’ parenting classes deserve a spot on that list.

A few of the reasons you might take a parenting class:

  • Just like childbirth classes put your worries about giving birth at ease, parenting classes can ease your anxieties about raising a child.
  • Nobody is born knowing how to raise children in today’s society; there is no handbook,  but there are classes that help make the gray areas black and white.
  • Your own experiences may influence the way you parent – sometimes unintentionally in a way that can be harmful to your child’s development. Parenting classes help you better understand exactly what children need and how to overcome your own experiences to parent effectively.
  • How you parent will impact your child more significantly than whether you bottle or breastfeed, what brand of diapers you use, or what clothes or toys you buy.
  • Parenting classes at Willow Womens Center are free, so you can improve your skills without spending anything at all.

When you think about the reasons not to take a parenting class, the list is short. Perhaps the only disadvantage is that parenting classes require a small investment of your time when you are already trying to juggle a busy schedule.

What are the Benefits of Parenting Classes?

Parenting classes can help you raise children who are able to cope with their feelings, recognize and respond to the feelings of others, overcome adversity, and make good decisions. All of these skills help your children lead healthy, happy, and successful lives – and some day they will raise healthy, happy, successful children themselves!

Some of the benefits of taking parenting classes include:

  • better understanding of how your child is developing, thinking, feeling, and behaving, which improves your parenting style
  • an enhanced support network as you connect with other parents and hear their stories, struggles, feelings, and resources while they work through the same ages and stages
  • improved parental mental health and ability to cope with the feelings that can accompany caregiving, such as guilt, anger, anxiety, and depression
  • fewer negative behaviors and more positive, pro-social behaviors among your children when you participate in parenting classes and use what you have learned in practice
  • lower likelihood of child abuse or using corporal punishment when you have the skills you need to understand your children, drive positive behavior, and avoid power struggles
  • more confidence in yourself and your parenting skills as you learn and connect with others, practice those skills, and see the results

Parenting classes are helpful for everyone, but they can be especially helpful for those who are worried about their ability to parent. We don’t always get to choose our experiences in life, and the most difficult experiences can influence our skills and ability to cope. You might be worried if:

  • you struggle with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues that make it challenging to cope with stress and negative behaviors or emotions
  • Child Protective Services has been involved in your children’s lives in the past
  • you were not planning to have a child right now or are not sure you want a child right now
  • you may be raising the child alone or with minimal support
  • your own parents were lacking parenting skills and you are  not sure how to raise children because you never had a great example yourself
  • You are facing challenges meeting basic needs, such as food, water, and shelter
  • You are struggling with substance abuse or addiction

It is never too late to improve your confidence and competency as a parent, and parenting classes provide compassionate, empathetic, and loving support as you work to learn and grow.

How do you Choose the Correct Parenting Class?

Willow Womens Center offers three parenting classes, and choosing the right class for you is relatively easy.

Love and Logic: Early Childhood Parenting Made Fun® teaches skills for parents of children ages to birth to six years old. If you only have children who are six and under, this is the right class for you.

Parenting with Love and Logic® offers skills for parents of all ages. If you have older children or children in multiple age groups, this program will work well for you. Because the classes at Willow Womens Center are free, many parents take more than one class.

Love and Logic: Adults Supporting Youth with Challenging Pasts® is geared toward the parents and guardians of children who have experienced trauma during their lives. These children need a different kind of support, and with training and education you can provide exactly what they need to overcome adversity and lead happy and fulfilling lives.

Free Parenting Classes at Willow Womens Center

To summarize, there is no textbook for raising children. It is hard for even the healthiest adults and even more challenging for those facing adversity. Parenting classes provide a compassionate, loving environment in which you can learn, network, and build confidence, preparing you and your child for long-term success together.

Are you ready to make the most important investment you will make as a current or expectant parent? You can get more information on the free parenting classes at Willow Womens Center here. Willow Womens Center offers pregnancy counseling, pregnancy testing, early pregnancy ultrasound, STI testing, and parenting classes in Beloit, Wisconsin.


What do Parenting Classes Teach? 
What do parenting classes teach?

As you begin thinking about all the things related to pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting, you may want to consider adding a local parenting class to the list. While diapers, wipes, and birth plans tend to take precedence during this busy time, parenting classes can be tremendously helpful as you prepare for a new infant, helping you build confidence and skills that will set you and your new baby up for long-term success together.

A common mistake we make as new parents is prioritizing the nursery, the baby’s clothes, or even the housekeeping, when what our children really need from us is intimate connection, help to manage their emotions, safe boundaries, and psychological safety. New infants need very little physically; they don’t need their own room, matching outfits, sensory toys, heated wipes, or any of the other gadgets that tempt new parents who are already overwhelmed. They need you, and the best gift you can give them at the start of life is the best version of you there is – one who is educated and who understands what children need from their parents and how parents can provide for those needs.

Parenting classes are arguably the most important investment you can make as you plan for your family. You’ll learn how your child thinks and what they need from you, how to best respond in difficult situations, and how to prepare your child up for a happy and fulfilling life.

Learning About Your Child

One of the goals of a parenting class is to help you better understand your child. Why is your infant crying when he’s not wet or hungry? Why does your toddler throw a tantrum when she doesn’t get her way? How can early childhood experiences help your toddler develop self-discipline and confidence?

At Willow Womens Center, we offer three different, free parenting classes to help you better understand your unique child:

  • Early Childhood Parenting Made Fun®, aimed for parents of children ages birth to 6 years
  • Parenting with Love and Logic®, aimed for parents who have children of all ages
  • Love and Logic: Adults Supporting Youth with Challenging Pasts®, designed for parents and adults who support children of any age who have faced adversity in their youth

The Love and Logic courses offered at Willow Womens Center help you understand how your child learns, builds trust, and responds, so you can develop healthy relationships with your children that foster their self-control, decision-making, and responsibility. Parenting classes at Willow Womens Center are perhaps the only thing on your checklist that you can mark off without paying anything at all (and that will last well beyond your baby’s first year).

Learning About Yourself

Contrary to popular belief, parenting is a skill that can be learned, not a natural-born talent that some people have and others lack. Our own experiences throughout life will naturally impact the way we raise our children unless we’re taught otherwise – and we can be taught to do something different than how we personally experienced it.

Some common parenting mistakes that are often a reflection of our own unhealed pain from past experiences include:

  • becoming overly dependent on the love and approval of our children
  • setting high, impossible-to-reach standards for our children (and/or reacting harshly when they fail to meet those standards)
  • becoming overprotective, preventing our children from socializing with other children or engaging in positive experiences
  • overreacting to unhealed emotional triggers (and then blaming our children for our own reactions)
  • withholding love and affection from our children because we struggle to trust and develop authentic relationships

Additionally, unhealed trauma from their own childhood could lead a new parent to react to their children’s misbehavior in ways that are unhealthy.

Parenting classes can help us learn more about ourselves and how our own experiences might influence our thoughts and behaviors around parenting. Perhaps more importantly, parenting classes can help us overcome damaging belief systems and thought cycles that prevent our children from developing the skills and confidence they need to form genuine connections, make good decisions, and cope with adversity throughout their lives.

When it comes to parenting, knowledge is power. The free parenting classes at Willow Womens Center equip expecting and new parents with the knowledge they need to form positive relationships with their children and prepare them for success.

Choosing the Right Parenting Class

Any parenting class will help you empower your children to take responsibility for their actions, own their emotions, cope with challenges, and make good decisions, so enrolling in the right class doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Choosing the right class, though, is easy.

If you’re parenting only children who are six and under, you’ll want to enroll in the early childhood class here.

If you’re parenting children of all ages (even if some are under six and some are over), you’ll benefit from the class for parents of children of all ages.

Children who have experienced trauma need a different approach, and the more we understand about their needs and their behavior, the better we can support them. If you’re parenting or supporting a child who has experienced trauma, you’ll want the class for parents of youth with challenging pasts here. Not sure? Some examples of childhood trauma include abuse, violence, sudden loss of somebody they loved, living through a national disaster or war, neglect, deployment of a parent, or a serious illness or accident.

You can learn more about all the parenting classes offered at Willow Womens Center here.

Whether you are ready to sign up, have more questions, or think you may be pregnant and are looking for support, Willow Womens Center can help. You can learn more by making an appointment today; our compassionate team understands the stress that comes with an unexpected pregnancy. We are here to provide care and information without judgment.


How Soon After Giving Birth Can You Get Pregnant?
how soon after giving birth can you get pregnant

If you have recently given birth, you may have heard that you do not need to be concerned about getting pregnant for a while, especially if you are breastfeeding. But is that accurate?

In this article, we will discuss what the truth is about how soon you can get pregnant after giving birth. We will also discuss if breastfeeding is an effective method of birth control and how to process your option if you discover that you are unexpectedly pregnant soon after giving birth.

How Soon Can You Get Pregnant After Giving Birth?

Several conditions are necessary for pregnancy to occur, and they include:

  • Ovulation and the egg entering one of the fallopian tubes
  • The presence of sperm
  • Fertilization of the egg by a sperm in the fallopian tube
  • The fertilized egg travels through the fallopian tube to the uterus and implants in the uterine lining, where it continues to develop

So in order to become pregnant, you have to ovulate. Knowing this, you may wonder how soon you can ovulate after giving birth. The answer is that most women ovulate about six weeks after giving birth if they are not breastfeeding. But, it is possible to ovulate as soon as three weeks after giving birth, which means that it is vital to have a birth control plan in place to prevent another pregnancy.

Can You Use Breastfeeding as a Birth Control Method?

Many women ask if breastfeeding is a reliable method of contraception. The simple answer is – it depends. Some women do not ovulate while they are breastfeeding, and some women do. The problem is that you won’t know which applies to you, so it is best to use a dependable method of birth control any time you want to prevent a pregnancy from occurring.

It is less likely (but still possible) that you will ovulate while breastfeeding if all five of the following conditions are present:

  1. Your baby is under six months old.
  2. Your baby is exclusively breastfed – meaning your baby does not receive nourishment from any other source.
  3. Intervals between breastfeeding are no longer than four hours during the day and six hours at night.
  4. You do not use a breast pump.
  5. You have not had a period since you gave birth.

Next, we will clear up four common myths about getting pregnant again after giving birth.

Myth #1: You can’t get pregnant after giving birth if you haven’t had a period yet.

You can get pregnant even if you have not had a period yet after giving birth. In a typical menstrual cycle, you ovulate about two weeks before your period starts, but many women do not ovulate before their first post-birth period.

However, many women do ovulate without warning before their first post-birth period. This means you can give birth, not have a period for three months, ovulate, and get pregnant again without ever having a period after giving birth.

Myth #2: You can’t get pregnant if you have sex when you are not currently ovulating.

Are you someone who knows when she is ovulating? Maybe you experience ovulation pain on one side or other symptoms that signal ovulation. Can’t you simply avoid having sex when you know you are ovulating to prevent pregnancy? No, and the reason for this is that you can ovulate after you have sex.

According to Mayo Clinic, sperm can live for up to five days in the female reproductive tract. This means that if you don’t feel like you are ovulating and have unprotected sex but then ovulate five days later, you could become unexpectedly pregnant.

Myth #3: You can’t get pregnant if you are breastfeeding.

For the reasons we previously discussed, you can definitely get pregnant if you are breastfeeding.

Myth #4: It’s fine to space your pregnancies close together.

The reality is that your body needs time to recover from a pregnancy. March of Dimes recommends to wait at least eighteen months after giving birth before becoming pregnant again.

When you give your body a chance to recover between pregnancies, you reduce the risk of:

  • Premature birth
  • Baby being small for gestational age (SGA)
  • Low birth weight
  • Congenital disorders
  • Maternal anemia
  • Long-term health problems

After you give birth, you are adjusting to a disrupted sleep schedule, caring for a newborn, and healing from childbirth all at the same time. You deserve to take care of yourself, so give yourself time to recover and adjust before becoming pregnant again.

If you do unexpectedly become pregnant, help is available.

What To Do if You Become Pregnant Soon After Giving Birth

Unexpected pregnancies happen every day, and it is not the end of the world if you discover you are pregnant soon after giving birth. You may even know someone who successfully had pregnancies close together.

If you have recently given birth and are pregnant again, your first step is to be gentle with yourself. You probably feel shocked, and you need time to process the news. Be sure to see your healthcare provider as soon as possible so they can provide you with guidance for a healthy pregnancy.

But what if you feel that you cannot possibly continue your pregnancy? In that case, take a deep breath and seek support from an unbiased pregnancy center where you will not be judged for considering abortion.

Considering Abortion?

Willow Womens Center is a safe place to process your thoughts and options about an unexpected pregnancy without judgment. We are a medical clinic with licensed professional healthcare providers who can walk with you as you process your doubts and questions.

You do not need anyone to tell you what to do about your unexpected pregnancy. At Willow Womens Center, you will feel empowered after getting the answers to all your important questions and you will be ready to make an informed decision.

You can be confident about your next steps when you are unexpectedly pregnant. Contact us today for your confidential appointment. Our services are always at no cost to you.