beta hcg free and total serum Test

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what is beta hcg ?

HCG refers to the Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, a hormone that is produced by the placenta during pregnancy. A qualitative HCG blood test detects the presence of this hormone in your blood, while a quantitative HCG or Beta HCG blood test checks for its specific levels.


Where the Beta HCG Total blood test diagnoses pregnancy and helps in the examination of suspected ectopic pregnancy, Beta HCG Free is performed during the first trimester prenatal screening for Down syndrome.

when do you expect results?

24 to 36 Hours

why get tested?

At the time of pregnancy, the cells in the developing placenta begin making HCG and it can be detected after about 11 days from conception.  A Beta HCG blood test is performed to –

  • Confirm pregnancy
  • Determine the age of the fetus 
  • Detect ectopic pregnancy 
  • Detect a potential miscarriage 
  • Screen for Down’s syndrome 

An increased level of HCG in the blood may also indicate specific types of ovarian tumors in women and testicular tumors in men.

reason to take beta hcg free and total serum test

A blood HCG test can be carried out after 10 days of a missed menstrual period. A quantitative blood HCG test can be suggested more than once, when the doctor wants to rule out an ectopic pregnancy. Women can take the test when they begin seeing symptoms of pregnancy or that of an abnormal/ectopic pregnancy. Some of the symptoms of ectopic pregnancy include –

  • Low back pain
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Cramps or pain in the lower abdomen
  • Pain on one side of the pelvis


Your doctor may also advise a BETA HCG blood test before prescribing a medical treatment that might be harmful during pregnancy. 

preparations needed for beta hcg test

No special preparation is needed to take this test. It is however best that you inform your doctor about any drug, vitamins, Ayurvedic or herbal preparations, nutritional supplements, or homeopathic medicines that you may be taking, before the test.

sample required?

Specimen type: Serum (Blood Sample) How is the specimen collected: Venipuncture collection of blood from a vein in the arm.

Understanding results ofBeta HCG Free and Total Serum

Reference RangeInterpretation
<5.0 Miu/mlNormal (non-pregnant)
<9.5 Miu/mlNormal (postmenopausal)