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hCG Pregnancy

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Also known as: Pregnancy Test; Qualitative hCG; Quantitative hCG; Beta hCG; Total hCG; Total beta hCG
Formal name: Human Chorionic Gonadotropin

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Were you looking instead for hCG Tumor Markers, used to help diagnose and monitor therapy for certain cancers?

At a Glance

Why Get Tested?

To confirm a pregnancy; to help identify an ectopic pregnancy; to monitor a pregnancy that may be at risk of failing; occasionally to screen a woman for pregnancy prior to some medical treatments; as part of a panel of tests used to screen for fetal abnormalities (see First Trimester Down Syndrome Screen and Second Trimester Maternal Serum Screening)

When to Get Tested?

When you suspect that you are pregnant (testing can be done reliably by 10 days after you miss your menstrual period and some methods can detect hCG even earlier); when you have signs and symptoms that suggest you may have an ectopic pregnancy or a pregnancy that is failing; prior to some medical treatments

Sample Required?

A urine sample collected first thing in the morning or a blood sample drawn from a vein in your arm

Test Preparation Needed?

Do not drink large amounts of fluid before collecting a urine sample for a pregnancy test because overly diluted urine may result in a false negative; no preparation is needed for a blood sample.