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Also known as:

  • Qualitative urine pregnancy test.
  • hCG urine test.
  • Qualitative urine HCG test.
  • Pregnancy test

What is The Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG Pregnancy ) Test?

The hCG pregnancy test is a hormone secreted in the initial stages of pregnancy by the trophoblasts of the fertilized ovum that supports the corpus luteum in secreting estrogen and progesterone, which helps sustain the pregnancy. The human chorionic gonadotropin urine test determines hCG hormone levels in the urine during pregnancy. It is produced by the cells present in your placenta that nourish the egg after fertilization, and is attached to the uterine wall, and provides nutrients to the developing embryo.

It is possible to detect hCG in a urine sample about 10-14 days after conception. The hCG levels in the body increase rapidly in the first few weeks of pregnancy, doubling every 48 to 72 hours. It is usual for hCG levels to reach their peak around 7-11 weeks of pregnancy, then decrease and level off, remaining consistent for the rest of the pregnancy. However, hCG levels can vary significantly between different pregnancies and between different individuals, and the timing and rate of hCG level changes can also vary. 

The hCG levels can be detected either in blood or urine to confirm the pregnancy. A urine test is a common way to detect hCG levels, and it can provide a qualitative result that indicates whether or not hCG is present in the urine sample. However, a blood test is a more sensitive test that can detect lower levels of hCG and can provide both qualitative and quantitative results. 

What is the Test Used For?

Your doctor may suggest an hCG pregnancy test to confirm pregnancy at the initial prenatal visits after a positive at-home test or urine pregnancy test. However, an hCG quantitative test is not necessary for routine pregnancies as a qualitative urine test is usually sufficient to confirm pregnancy. Most healthcare providers prefer to use a transvaginal ultrasound to visually confirm pregnancy and ensure that the pregnancy is progressing normally. This type of ultrasound can provide more detailed information about the development of the fetus and the health of the pregnancy. 

Other than pregnancy confirmation, your doctor may advise an HCG test if you are undergoing fertility treatments to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment. Healthcare teams caring for those women who take hCG shots to increase their chances of getting pregnant need to accurately time hCG tests to ensure that the medicine has entirely left the body and will not alter test results. 

Do you need to prepare for the HCG Blood Pregnancy Test?

No specific preparation is needed for the hCG pregnancy test or Blood pregnancy test.  

Is the hCG urine test always correct?

While an hCG urine test is a reliable way to confirm pregnancy, it's important to note that it is not 100% accurate all the time. False-negative results (when a woman is pregnant, but the test shows negative) and false-positive results (when a woman is not pregnant, but the test shows positive) can occur. In cases where there is doubt or uncertainty about the test results, a healthcare provider may recommend repeating the test or using a different type of blood pregnancy test, such as a blood test 

False-negative test results:

A negative hCG blood pregnancy test means you are not pregnant. However, if the test is performed too early in pregnancy, the levels are not high enough to be detected. A false-negative test result shows that a woman isn't pregnant when in fact, she is. It happens because hCG levels change rapidly during early pregnancy. Healthcare providers may recommend repeating the test within 48 to 72 hours to avoid getting false-negative results. 

False-positive results:

On the other hand, it is possible to detect hCG in some non-pregnant conditions, causing a false-positive hCG pregnancy test. A false-positive result shows you are pregnant when you are not. This can occur due to the presence of certain antibodies in the body or due to lab errors. Therefore, it is important to confirm a positive result with a healthcare professional and follow up with further testing if necessary. 

Stay informed with CURA4U - Our clinical experts ensure the accuracy of our health and medical content, which is regularly updated with new information.

Medically reviewed and last updated: January 09, 2024.


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