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Beta Hcg Test

Beta Hcg Test

What is beta HCG test?

Beta human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) is a hormone produced by the placenta during pregnancy, and is typically detected in the blood. A beta HCG test is a blood test used to diagnose pregnancy, and usually becomes positive around the time of the first missed period.

What is human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)?

During pregnancy, cells in the developing placenta make hCG. The placenta is the sac that nourishes the egg after it’s fertilized and attaches to the uterine wall.

hCG can first be detected in a blood sample about 11 days after conception. Levels of hCG continue to double every 48 to 72 hours. They reach their peak around 8 to 11 weeks after conception.

hCG levels then decline and level off, remaining steady for the rest of the pregnancy.

What risks are associated with the hCG blood test?

Risks involved with having blood taken are minimal.

There may be a small amount of bruising where the needle was inserted. This can be minimized by applying pressure to the area for several minutes after the needle is removed.

In very rare cases, the following may occur:

  • excessive bleeding
  • lightheadedness
  • fainting
  • hematoma, which happens when blood accumulates under your skin
  • infection at the needle site
  • swollen veins

What Is HCG Human Chorionic Gonadotropin?

hCG stands for "Human Chorionic Gonadotropin," the pregnancy hormone, which is produced by the placenta and which is detected in the blood within a few days after implantation. When you test at home with a pregnancy test, you actually test for the presence of hCG in the urine. If hCG is present, then the pregnancy test will be positive, and that means you are pregnant unless there is a false positive pregnancy test.

WHEN DOES HCG BECOME DETECTABLE?

Current techniques can only detect hCG from the 3rd or 4th weeks of pregnancy counted from the date of the last menstrual period.

Since the 4th week of pregnancy is usually the time at which the next menstruation should come, we always suggest that the patient wait for the menstruation not to show up for the test. In this way, we minimize the risk of false negative results.

Where does HCG come from?

hCG comes from the placenta and enters the blood soon after implantation and is detected via pregnancy tests. hCG starts to be produced by the placenta as soon as implantation occurs. This happens about one week after fertilization and ovulation when the embryo implants and the placenta attaches to the uterine lining.

How Is a Test Performed?

This test is completed just like a typical blood test. The puncture site (most likely your forearm or the back of your hand) will be cleaned with an antiseptic. A tourniquet will be placed around the upper arm to apply pressure. A needle will then be inserted, and the blood will be collected in an airtight vial or a syringe. Unless your doctor's office has an in-house lab, your blood sample will be sent out to a lab to be analyzed.

Possible Risks

There is very little risk associated with getting a blood pregnancy test. Just as with any blood test, there is always the chance that you may feel lightheaded, faint, have excessive bleeding, infection or bruising at the puncture site, and/or hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin).

Also, since veins and arteries differ in size from one person to another (and from one side of the body to the other), getting a blood sample could be more difficult for some people than for others. In order to get the blood sample needed for this test, it may require multiple pricks to locate a vein.

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