How Conclusive is a Positive Pregnancy Test?

Maybe you just have a “feeling” or perhaps you’ve had an upset stomach the last couple of mornings. You’re thinking you might be pregnant. Before you reach for that at-home pregnancy test, STOP. How conclusive is a positive pregnancy test? Does it depend on when it’s taken?

Actually, yes. If you take a pregnancy test too early, you risk getting an incorrect reading, causing you to think you’re pregnant when you really aren’t or thinking you aren’t pregnant and you really are.

Be Patient

The first thing you need to do is calculate the day your period is expected. To do this, take the first day of your last period and count forward 28 days. That will be the estimated start of your next menstrual cycle.

Hold on, though! Even though many companies claim their tests can be taken the day your period is due, or even before that, you will benefit from waiting until the second day.

Why wait? Mayo Clinic says, “Shortly after a fertilized egg attaches to your uterine lining, the placenta forms and produces the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). This hormone enters your bloodstream and urine… The earlier you take the home pregnancy test, the harder it might be for the test to detect HCG… If your periods are irregular, you might have a hard time figuring out when your period is due.”

How Do Pregnancy Tests Work?

Home pregnancy tests use urine to detect HCG. Tests vary for use—some say to place a stick into your urine stream, while others use a collection cup to then dip a stick into or use a dropper to place urine on the unit where designated.

After waiting the prescribed amount of time, usually just a couple of minutes, the results will show in a window on that stick. This can display in a few different ways—as a plus or minus sign, with the words pregnant or not pregnant, or one or two lines. The Directions for Use included with each test will explain what exactly you should look for.

Ways to Get a False Positive Result

There are several ways to get a false positive result. The best way to avoid this is by reading the directions thoroughly before taking the test. Instructions can vary from test to test, so don’t assume you know how the one you are using right now works.

Evaporation lines: Make sure to read the result in the prescribed time period. If you wait too long, and you have a non-digital test, you may see a line that you think means you are pregnant. In reality, it could be the evaporation line from the urine.

Previous miscarriage or abortion: When pregnant, the hormone HCG is secreted and after a miscarriage or abortion the levels will drop slowly, ending between nine and 35 days after this event. Taking a test within this time frame could result in a false positive.

Molar pregnancy: This is a condition that causes a uterine tumor to grow and is caused by a genetic abnormality at conception resulting in an abnormal pregnancy where only the male chromosomes are present. When this occurs, a dilation and curettage is required to remove the abnormal tissue.

Medications: There are certain medications that can lead to a false positive pregnancy test. Generally, these medications contain HCG and are used to treat infertility.

Medical conditions: There are some medical conditions that can cause a false positive because they cause HCG to rise when not pregnant. Some of those include disorders affecting the pituitary gland, certain cancers, phantom HCG, ovarian cysts, and urinary disease or urinary tract infections.


If used following the instructions carefully, and patiently waiting an extra day after a missed period, home pregnancy tests can be 99 percent accurate, according to the United States’ Office on Women’s Health.

Positive Pregnancy Tests are NOT Conclusive

If you get a positive reading on a home pregnancy test, call to schedule a visit at Willow Womens Center for a pregnancy test to confirm your results. A positive pregnancy test is not conclusive. The best way to determine how far along you are and the viability of your pregnancy is with an ultrasound. We offer you a no-cost pregnancy test and ultrasound and will help you determine the need for an STI screening.

Make an appointment to come to Willow Womens Center. We care about you holistically: physically, emotionally, spiritually and want to support you in all of those areas.

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My Period Is Late, Am I Pregnant?

Before you freak out and assume you’re pregnant, there may be a reason your period is late. Whether your period is a day late or a few days, we know the toll that can take on your emotions, and the day-to-day decisions you make. Although this isn’t an exact science, a late period or missed period can be caused by several different factors.


Your body is sensitive to your emotions, especially stress. When your stress levels rise, it can disrupt your menstrual cycle causing your period to come later or be missed. This, in turn, can be a stress factor which can spiral into something more. If your cycle has become more irregular and you’ve missed your period multiple months, you may have secondary amenorrhea. Your doctor will be able to confirm this and can help you find a remedy to help regulate your cycle.


Although exercise is great for your body, extreme exercise, such as training for a marathon, can send your hormones off track. It can even stop your period temporarily. And women on both ends of the weight spectrum can experience hormonal changes which can cause your period to be late or missed. Being 10 percent below the normal weight range for your height strongly effects how your body operates. Your doctor will work with you on how to eat properly and either gain or lose weight in order to bring your cycle back to normal.

Health Issues

There are a few specific conditions that may cause your body to have an irregular cycle. Ovarian cysts, diabetes, celiac disease, and thyroid issues are a few of the main health culprits to ask your doctor about. Of course, they can help pinpoint the exact issue and will likely be able to help treat the issue quickly and that will bring your regular cycle back. It’s never a good idea to try to diagnose and treat yourself based on information from friends or the internet, always consult your primary doctor or OB-GYN.


If none of these are the reason your period is late, you may be pregnant. While at-home pregnancy tests are quick, they aren’t always accurate. At Willow Womens Center, we can confirm your at-home result with a medical-grade pregnancy test. However, it’s important to know that a pregnancy test does not confirm a viable pregnancy, only an ultrasound can. An ultrasound can not only confirm viability, but it also dates the pregnancy, which allows you to explore all your options.

If you think you might be facing an unexpected pregnancy, Willow Womens Center is your best choice for answers. We know what you’re feeling and can help you work through all the emotions and provide you with non-judgmental, unbiased, and accurate information about a possible pregnancy. Don’t walk this journey alone.


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Navigating Pregnancy While Single

Navigating pregnancy while single might seem impossible, but the truth is that while it isn’t going to be the easiest thing you’ve done, and it will challenge you at times, it doesn’t have to be a scary experience.

First, know that you are not alone. There are hundreds of thousands of women who have taken the same path you are on and everyone seems to have advice on the best way to handle it. There are certain things, though, that just about everyone agrees on.

Get Support

Support takes on different roles at different times during your pregnancy. Right now, you may not know who to turn to, or where to go for this. At Willow Womens Center, you will find a safe, caring, non-judgmental environment where your health and well-being come first.

Come in to see us and let our patient care team help you, answer your questions, and give you the support and resources you need for a successful journey through pregnancy.

As time goes on you will need support in different ways. Emotional support can come from those who love you—your family, friends, and maybe even a classmate or neighbor. This is not the time to go it alone. Maybe you need to move in with family or a friend in order to make it financially. Perhaps you could use a friend to go along to doctor’s appointments.

Plus, friends are great for getting you to laugh, at helping you to look on the positive side, and helping you with the practicalities of pregnancy.

Financial Support

Financial support may be your biggest concern as you ask yourself, “How can I afford this?” There are a few things to keep in mind.

Your partner will have a financial responsibility to help you.

There are some practical arrangements you could consider. One of them might be sharing housing with others in the same position you are, where housekeeping, cooking and even babysitting duties are shared, and you might be able to share rides to and from work and daycare.

At Willow Womens Center, we can point you toward community resources that will help you as well.

If your partner does not help, you may need to budget your own income.

Believe in Yourself

Doubting yourself can sabotage your future. Instead, know that believing in yourself together with hard work will take you anywhere you want to go.

Will there be times you need help and no one offers? Yes. Will you be lonely at times and feel a bit sorry for yourself? Sure. But don’t dwell on it. Don’t make it your focus. You have so many good things to be grateful for and when you focus on the positives, the rest slides into the background.

At Willow Womens Center, we see this every day. Women who find their feet, look at the positives, who work hard, and reap the rewards. We believe in you and know you can do the same.

Come to See Us

Make an appointment at Willow Womens Center and let us give you the support you need, the answers to the questions you are asking, and provide you with resources to help you navigate your pregnancy while single.

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Signs You Might Be Pregnant

A lot of women think that the first sign you could be pregnant is a missed period. In reality, there are a lot of early signs pointing to a possible pregnancy. Of course, things vary from one woman to the next, so you may not experience all of them, or some may not appear as early for you as they do for someone else.

At Willow Womens Center, we know that facing an unexpected pregnancy can be hard. It certainly starts you on an emotional roller coaster that isn’t nearly as fun as those at Six Flags. If you think you might be pregnant, take a look at the early signs of pregnancy below and see if any of them match up to things you are experiencing.

Early Signs of Pregnancy

Fatigue: You may feel exhausted and want to sleep all the time. This is because your body is working very hard and all your energy is being used on your pregnancy.

Nausea/vomiting: A lot, but not all, women experience this. For some, it’s first thing in the morning, while others have it happen at night. Eating many small meals or snacking regularly on crackers may help you through this.

Tender/swollen breasts: Remember the way your breasts feel when you get your period? Multiply that by 10. They may enlarge, the nipples can become darker, and a vein may become visible.

Spotting: Light bleeding or spotting can mean the embryo has implanted into the uterine wall. This usually happens about a week before you would expect your period but can fool some women into thinking they’ve had a period.

Aversion to certain foods: You may experience times when foods you normally like make you feel sick. Even the thought of some can do that, and the smell can do it as well. Beware, sometimes your sense of smell is enhanced and that might lead to nausea as well.

Cramping: Cramping, similar to menstrual cramps, can occur, but is less common than other symptoms.

Mood swings: Hormones get the blame for this one and can affect the neurotransmitters in the brain. This can take the crabbiness level you usually experience during your period and make that seem like Happy Days. If you have trouble dealing with this, talk to your doctor and see what help they can offer.

Peeing: Another one to blame on the hormones, increased blood flow through your kidneys, and a growing uterus pressing on your bladder. This can begin as soon as one week after implantation.

Dizziness or fainting: This can happen due to the uterus compressing major arteries in your legs while standing and cause your blood pressure to drop. Don’t skip meals or going too long without food as it can cause blood sugar to drop and result in feeling dizzy.

Constipation: Hormones can slow down bowel functions to allow for better absorption of vitamins and nutrients.

Heartburn: As the uterus grows, the hormone HCG slows down digestion, so your stomach doesn’t empty as fast, increasing stomach acid and causing that uncomfortable feeling of heartburn.

Come See Us for Testing

If the early signs you might be pregnant sound familiar, you are probably thinking its time to take a pregnancy test. We are here to help you at Willow Womens Center with no cost pregnancy tests, ultrasounds and STI testing.

One of our licensed medical staff members will administer the medical-grade pregnancy test and discuss your results with you immediately afterward. If the result was positive, we will provide you with a no-cost ultrasound.

An ultrasound can tell you how far along you are, determine the location of the pregnancy (If your pregnancy develops in your fallopian tubes, this is called an ectopic pregnancy and can be life-threatening), and will tell you the gestational age, an important piece of information if you are considering an abortion.

An ultrasound may also help determine the risk that you might miscarry: 20% of all pregnancies do not carry to term and 80% of all miscarriages happen in the first trimester (first 13 weeks). If it is determined that you are at risk for a miscarriage or have an ectopic pregnancy, you may not need to have an abortion. Instead, you would need to seek prompt medical attention.

Willow Womens Center also provides testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea. Since abortion can be an invasive procedure, untreated STI’s can be pushed into the uterus where they can drastically affect your long-term reproductive health and future fertility. An untreated STI can leave you with Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, causing chronic abdominal pain, fever, abnormal bleeding, nausea and infertility.

Once all the testing has been completed, we will give you clear, unbiased information, answer all your questions openly and honestly, and give you the support you need to make a decision about your future. We know that having all the information you need will give you the confidence and peace about the choice you make, whatever it is.


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Pregnant and Deciding What to Do?

You just took a pregnancy test and it is positive. A lot of thoughts will be running through your mind. There may be shock. There may be panic. You might secretly hope that the test result was not right, that the test was not working properly. These thoughts and feelings come in waves and are making it hard to know what to do now and who to talk to.

At Willow Womens Center we understand what that is like. We are here to help you sort through your thoughts and feelings. We will provide you with unbiased information to help you through the process of making some hard, but very important, decisions about your current situation and your future. But first of all, give yourself a break and just breathe.

Your first step should be to make an appointment with us so we can confirm the results of your home test with one of our medical-grade urine-based pregnancy tests. This will be the starting point for you to determine what to do next and which option to choose – abortion, parenting or adoption. Just as no two women are the same, no two people approach the process in the exact same way. This is because each of us holds different beliefs, values, and has different goals for their future.

Pregnancy Screening

At your appointment we will use our lab-grade pregnancy test to confirm whether you are pregnant or not. This test is done at no cost to you. Sometimes a home pregnancy test isn’t as accurate, especially if it was taken too early. If our urine pregnancy test is positive and if there are no obvious medical issues, we suggest you allow us to conduct an ultrasound, also at no cost to you.

Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to generate images – this is the earliest way to detect if your pregnancy is viable. About 20 percent of all pregnancies end in natural miscarriage, most of these miscarriages occur in the first trimester. We do not perform a diagnostic ultrasound. We simply confirm that there is a heartbeat, we determine the gestational age (how far along you are) by measurements and we confirm the proper placement in the uterus. If there seems to be any medical concern, we will recommend you consult a physician or ER/Urgent Care facility as soon as possible.

If you are considering abortion as one of your options, it is important to know the gestational age since this is used to determine what type of abortion procedure is available to you. STI testing is a requirement if you consider an abortion. An untreated STI can lead to many medical complications, incl. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) which is painful and could result in future fertility problems. We provide limited STI testing, also free of charge to you.

Your Choices

After the positive pregnancy test and the ultrasound it is time to talk about your choices. At Willow Womens Center, we care about you holistically: physically, emotionally, spiritually, and we want to support you in all of those three areas. One of our staff members will talk with you about your options – abortion, adoption and parenting. We will try to answer your questions and will strive to provide you with the information you may need to make the best decision for you and your personal circumstances.

Our team cares about you and is committed to providing information in a non-judgmental environment.

Let’s talk about your 3 options:

Abortion ends the pregnancy. There are several abortion methods, depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy. We will give you clear, accurate information on the different procedures.

Parenting means letting your pregnancy go full-term. We strive to answer your questions on what this means for you and will offer information about resources available to you. We also offer a program called SAFE START that provides support and education for all aspects of your pregnancy, delivery and the post-natal time.

Adoption is a way of choosing life by placing the responsibility in the hands of others. You may decide that abortion isn’t right for you, but you are also not ready to be a parent, either. Adoption may be the right option for you.

At Willow Womens Center, your health and well-being comes first. Make an appointment for a consultation and the free pregnancy test/ultrasound and let us help you consider all your options. YOU ARE OUR TOP PRIORITY.

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