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Hcg Blood Test

Hcg Blood Test

What is this test?

hCG may reach detectable limits within 7-10 days of conception. hCG is produced by the placenta and reaches a peak between the 7th and 10th week of gestation. hCG is a glycoprotein hormone produced by the syncytiotrophoblast of the placenta and secreted during normal pregnancy and with pathologic conditions such as hydatidiform mole, choriocarcinoma and testicular neoplasm.

Also known as Beta Human Chorionic Gonadotropin Automated Blood, Beta HCG test, HCG Test, BHCG test, HCG Pregnancy Test, Beta Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, Beta Pregnancy Test, Quantitative Pregnancy Test, Chorionic Gonadotropin Test.

Why would you need to get a beta HCG test?

Beta HCG (BHCG or blood pregnancy test) may be performed by your doctor if they suspect that you may be pregnant, or if you suspect pregnancy yourself! Usual pregnancy symptoms include a missed or late period (amenorrhea), breast fullness or tenderness, or nausea and vomiting (morning sickness).

The test is often routinely performed in women of childbearing age with abdominal pain, and those who require an Abdominal X-Ray or Pelvic X-Ray, because of concerns or radiation to an unborn baby.

In some situations a quantitative beta HCG may be useful. This measures the amount of this hormone in the blood. Under normal circumstances, this level doubles approximately every 2 days, in the first trimester.

Test results explained

Qualitative beta HCG:

  • A POSITIVE beta HCG means that the woman IS pregnant
  • A NEGATIVE beta HCG means that the woman is NOT pregnant

Quantitative beta HCG:

  • The result is given as a number, indicating the measured concentration of the hormone in the blood
  • The fetus is usually visible on a trans-vaginal ultrasound scan when the level is above 1500 units
  • When the level is above 4000 units, the fetus is also usually visible on a transabdominal ultrasound scan
  • The beta HCG level usually doubles approximately every 2 days

Two Types of Tests

Doctors offer two types of blood pregnancy tests:

  • Qualitative Blood Serum Test: This blood test can only confirm whether or not the pregnancy hormone, hCG, is present. It basically will give you a yes (you're pregnant) or a no (you're not pregnant) result. The qualitative hCG blood test is about as accurate as a home urine test.
  • Quantitative Blood Serum Test: This test is also known as the beta hCG test. It measures the exact amount of hCG in your blood. Because this test can detect even trace amounts of hCG, it is a very accurate test. A quantitative blood test can also help your doctor to determine if your pregnancy is progressing normally.

Disadvantages

It can take longer to receive your results from a blood pregnancy test as compared to a urine test. The time it takes to receive the results from a pregnancy blood test varies from lab to lab and can range from an hour to a few days.

Blood pregnancy tests must be performed your doctor's office. This may take more time out of your schedule. Blood tests are also more expensive than home pregnancy tests (with the price varying based on doctor’s and lab fees).

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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