Most people do not know what an HCG blood test is and why it is needed. I mean, why would you know about them if you weren’t pregnant before or trying to find out if you were?
HCG stands for ‘Human Chorionic Gonadotropin’, so you can see why most people choose to use this acronym. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin is a hormone produced by cells in the placenta during pregnancy, and an HCG blood test measures levels of this hormone.
HCG is produced early in pregnancy, as early as ten days after conception. It can show up in both blood and urine, but an HCG blood test is a more accurate way to measure hormone levels than a urine test.
What is the HCG blood test used for?
The hCG blood test is useful when expectant parents want to determine the exact age of the fetus and can also aid in the diagnosis of an abnormal pregnancy (such as an ectopic pregnancy) and a possible miscarriage. .
The HCG blood test is also used as a screening test for conditions such as Down Syndrome.
The HCG blood test is also sometimes used to screen for pregnancy before the expectant mother undergoes specific medical treatments that could harm the developing fetus, such as X-rays. .
If an HCG test concludes that someone is pregnant, healthcare professionals can make sure they are protected and that those medical treatments are not harmful to the unborn baby.
What is a normal HCG level?
You may be wondering what levels of HCG are considered normal. For non-pregnant women, the average was less than 10mIU/mL, and for healthy men, the average was less than 2mIU/mL.
During pregnancy, HCG levels rise rapidly during the first trimester, and then they start to drop. This means that HCG levels will help determine where you are in your pregnancy. Your hCG levels double every 48 to 72 hours during the first trimester and peak around 8 to 11 weeks after conception.
Levels vary considerably, from about 5mIU/mL at three weeks of pregnancy, to about 201,165 mIU/mL at week 12.
Where can I get an HCG blood test?
While your doctor or midwife may recommend an HCG blood test, you may also decide to have it tested for peace of mind, especially in the early days of pregnancy – this can give you know how far you’ve come and ease any worries you may have.
If you are in London and you are looking to order a private HCG Blood test in London, you can’t go wrong with ordering an HCG test at Harley Street Health Center.
Many clinics offer the HCG Blood Test as part of their pregnancy service, so check with your local health centers and private clinics to see what options you have.
What do I need to do to prepare for the HCG blood test?
One of the positives of the HCG Blood Test is that it requires very little preparation.
As with any blood test, you should eat and drink well before the test, allowing your phlebotomist to collect as much blood as possible to complete the test correctly.
Are there other reasons that an HCG test might be recommended?
Beta HCG is also considered a tumor marker, meaning it is a substance that is secreted by specific types of tumors. You may find that the HCG blood test is recommended for measuring and managing certain types of cancer.
Here are some cancers that can cause higher-than-expected HCG levels:
- Uterine cancer, or carcinoma of the breast
- Lung cancer
- Breast cancer
- Ovarian cancer
There are also noncancerous conditions that can lead to elevated HCG, such as ulcers, cirrhosis, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
HCG can also be present in men and can be a sign of testicular cancer. If a man develops a tumor in one of his testicles, his doctor may test to see if HCG is present to highlight whether a particular type of cancer is present. Further testing will then be needed to determine the cause.
Final, HCG . blood test Mainly used to monitor and measure pregnancy. Pre-booked tests are becoming more common as expectant parents expect to receive as much information as possible about the development of their pregnancy.