If you think you might be pregnant or you’ve been trying and this whole pregnancy thing is new and scary, we’re here to help you. The two most common pregnancy tests are the blood and urine tests performed to look for HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). This is the hormone that is produced after a fertilized egg implants in the uterus.
What is the HCG urine test?
Also known as the pregnancy hormone, HCG is produced by a woman’s placenta after a fertilized egg implants into her uterus. The urine test can typically detect pregnancy 10 days after your first missed period. During the first eight to ten weeks of pregnancy, the levels of HCG rapidly increase in your body.
The urine test can be performed or in your doctor’s office. If you believe you’re pregnant, but not getting a positive result on your at home test, you may want to consider heading into our office for a physician-administered test that provides immediate results. The urine test does not reveal specific amounts of the hormone in your system, rather that the hormone is present in your body.
What is the HCG blood test?
The HCG blood test reveals exact levels in your bloodstream of HCG. Results typically can be seen about as soon as two to three days after implantation and double every two to three days. As your pregnancy progresses, levels will decrease and level off.
This test is performed to confirm pregnancy, estimate the age of the baby, diagnose any abnormalities like an ectopic pregnancy, reveal a potential miscarriage, and screen for Down’s syndrome.
Levels are gauged as follows:
- hCG under 5 mIU/ml: Not pregnant
- hCG between 5-25 mIU/ml: “Inconclusive”. Repeat test in a couple of days
- hCG over 25 mIU/ml: pregnant
Because of the accuracy of this test, many physicians will use it to screen for pregnancy prior to performing any procedures that could negatively affect the health of the baby, including x-rays, MRIs, and more.
Follow-Up On Your Tests
If your HCG test reveals you’re pregnant, your physician will start you on a course of prenatal vitamins and folic acids. Taking these medications is an important part of making sure your baby grows at a proper rate.
The doctor will also likely schedule a transvaginal ultrasound, to get further details on where you’re at in your pregnancy. You should be able to see at least a gestational sac once the hCG levels have reached between 1,000 – 2,000mIU/ml. After the initial appointment, you’ll come back for routine visits and exciting moments like hearing the heartbeat (usually around week or six) and finding out the baby’s gender.
Proper prenatal care and early detection of pregnancy go hand in hand. Contact us to schedule an appointment with the doctor. We can perform these tests and, if pregnant, guide you through the entire pregnancy process, making sure both mom and baby are healthy and happy.