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.
24 to 36 Hours
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.
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 –
· 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.
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.
Specimen type: Serum (Blood Sample) How is the specimen collected: Venipuncture collection of blood from a vein in the arm.
|<5.0 Miu/ml||Normal (non-pregnant)|
|<9.5 Miu/ml||Normal (postmenopausal)|