Understand Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) Blood Test

By  , Expert Content
Feb 07, 2013
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HCG blood test is done to measure the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). This hormone is present only when a woman is pregnant and hence it is also called the pregnancy hormone. HCG levels in a pregnant woman can be measured in the blood or urine;

  • Blood test: In this test your blood is tested for the presence of HCG (the pregnancy hormone)
  • Urine tests: In this test the urine is tested to confirm presence of HCG (the pregnancy hormone).

If you think you are pregnant –HCG blood test can help to confirm it. A positive test means that you are pregnant and a negative test means that you are not pregnant.


The test can determine if you are pregnant anywhere from 7-12 days after conception. It is a very accurate test to confirm pregnancy. The test has to be done in a lab and cannot be done at home like the urine pregnancy test


The types of HCG blood test that are done include;

  • Quantitative test: In the quantitative test the exact amount of HCG (the pregnancy hormone) that is present in your system is measured. 
  • Qualitative test: In the qualitative test, the blood is tested to confirm if HCG (the pregnancy hormone) is present in your system.

If the HCG blood test is done at a doctor’s office the accuracy is about 98 to 99 percent. However even the hCG blood test for pregnancy can be false positive or false negative.

  • False negative results means that the test will be negative but you are actually pregnant. The commonest cause of false negative test----if the test is performed too early.
  • False positive result indicates that the test will be positive but you are not actually pregnant. The common reason for false positive test----is medications. If you are medication that contains hCG the test may turn to be false positive.

Consult your doctor to understand the meaning of your test result.


Dr Poonam Sachdeva, our in-house medical expert talks about the why what and how in diabetes.



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