How to Measure HCG Levels
Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) is a hormone produced by the placenta during pregnancy. It is present in the blood and urine 10 days after fertilization and helps the baby grow during the first trimester.
An HCG test is administered to confirm or rule out pregnancy. It is measured by quantitative and qualitative methods. A quantitative test measures how much of the hormone is present, can estimate the length of pregnancy and tell if it is progressing normally. A qualitative test only indicates if HCG is present.
3 Steps to Measure HCG Levels
1. Take a home pregnancy test.
These tests can be bought at drugstores and are sometimes used before your menstrual cycle starts. HCG levels increase quickly during the first two weeks of pregnancy and home tests that detect the lowest levels will tell you an early result.
2. Have your doctor administer a urine test.
The doctor is less likely to err when administering the test. He will have you urinate in a cup and then, using a pregnancy test, tell you if you are pregnant.
3. Draw blood at a doctor’s office.
A blood test is the most accurate measurement of HCG levels. It can tell you if you are pregnant, approximate length of pregnancy and if it is progressing normally.
If your home pregnancy test is negative and you still think you are pregnant, make a doctor’s appointment.
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