All You Need To Know About HCG Pregnancy Test

HCG Injections

The main use of a pregnancy test is to evaluate if you are pregnant. Both urine and blood tests for HCG can be used for this purpose, and repeat testing may be done to confirm a pregnancy. Very early in a pregnancy, tests that measure the amount of HCG may also help assess the age of a fetus.

What Is The HCG Pregnancy Test?

A pregnancy test is a way to determine if you’re pregnant. If your pregnancy test is positive, it means you’re pregnant. If the test is negative, it means you aren’t pregnant. Pregnancy tests work by detecting human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), a hormone your body makes when you’re pregnant.

From the very beginning of pregnancy, your body starts to go through changes to support the cells that will develop into your baby. One thing that happens very quickly is the production of HCG. If you’re pregnant, your body starts to produce more HCG. Your HCG levels start to build up once the fertilized egg implants in your uterus about six to 10 days after conception.

Types of HCG Tests

HCG Tests

There are two main types of pregnancy tests — urine tests and blood tests. Often, you’ll take a urine test at home with a home pregnancy test. This type of test is available over the counter and in a variety of price ranges. Blood tests to check for pregnancy happen in your healthcare provider’s office and involve giving a sample of your blood. The other way to confirm a pregnancy is by using an ultrasound. Your provider performs an ultrasound in their office.

There are several reasons why you might take a pregnancy test. You could be trying to get pregnant and hoping for a positive result. You might have experienced an issue with your birth control. You might even be about to have a medical procedure or start a new medication that could be complicated by pregnancy. No matter what the reason, if you ever have any questions about your test results, the best thing to do is to reach out to your healthcare provider.

Knowing HCG Levels in Pregnancy and the Results

In pregnancy, HCG level rises rapidly during the first trimester and then declines slightly. The expected HCG ranges in pregnant women are based on the length of the pregnancy.

  • 3 weeks: 5 – 72 mIU/mL
  • 4 weeks: 10 -708 mIU/mL
  • 5 weeks: 217 – 8,245 mIU/mL
  • 6 weeks: 152 – 32,177 mIU/mL
  • 7 weeks: 4,059 – 153,767 mIU/mL
  • 8 weeks: 31,366 – 149,094 mIU/mL
  • 9 weeks: 59,109 – 135,901 mIU/mL
  • 10 weeks: 44,186 – 170,409 mIU/mL
  • 12 weeks: 27,107 – 201,165 mIU/mL
  • 14 weeks: 24,302 – 93,646 mIU/mL
  • 15 weeks: 12,540 – 69,747 mIU/mL
  • 16 weeks: 8,904 – 55,332 mIU/mL
  • 17 weeks: 8,240 – 51,793 mIU/mL
  • 18 weeks: 9,649 – 55,271 mIU/mL

Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your provider about the meaning of your specific test result.

Other Results Found In the Test

pregnant woman

Most pregnancy tests simply measure whether or not you have HCG in your sample. But certain pregnancy tests also measure how much HCG you have. These tests are called quantitative HCG tests, and they’re usually done on blood samples.

The amount of HCG in your body can give your provider important information about your pregnancy and the health of your unborn baby. Quantitative HCG tests are sometimes used to help:

  • Find out the age of the fetus if you’re very early in your pregnancy
  • Monitor your pregnancy if you have a high risk of miscarriage
  • Check for certain problems such as Ectopic pregnancy, Molar pregnancy (hydatidiform mole), and problems in the unborn baby

Your provider may also order a quantitative HCG blood test to help diagnose or monitor health conditions that aren’t related to pregnancy. These include ovarian and testicular cancer along with other conditions that can increase HCG levels.

Are There Any Risks Involved?

Risks of having blood drawn are slight, but may include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fainting or feeling lightheaded
  • Blood accumulating under the skin (hematoma)
  • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)

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All You Need To Know About HCG Pregnancy Test