Detecting Pregnancy with HCG

woman-1209322_1920When you’re actively trying to get pregnant you’re eager to take a pregnancy test as soon as possible in order to confirm what you’ve been hoping for – a baby! But have you ever wondered just what a home or doctor administered pregnancy test is looking for? That red or blue line, plus or minus symbol indicator holds a lot of hopes and dreams, but here’s what it’s really telling you.

What that little stick is checking for is HCG – human chorionic gonadotropin. The hormone HCG is produced in the earliest stages of pregnancy. HCG is made by the placenta during pregnancy. Levels of HCG rise rapidly in the earliest days of pregnancy and usually first appears in urine 9-10 days following the estimated day of conception when using the most sensitive HCG Rapid Test.

HCG helps to maintain your pregnancy and affects the development of your baby. Levels of HCG increase steadily in the first 14 to 16 weeks following your last menstrual period, peak around the 14th week following that date, and then decrease gradually. The amount that HCG increases early in pregnancy can give information about your pregnancy and the health of your baby.

Results from the test can also help determine and monitor an abnormality of the pregnancy. For example, low HCG levels during a pregnancy can suggest an ectopic pregnancy or even miscarriage. High HCG levels can indicate twins or triplets. Not all pregnant women who test before the day of their expected period will obtain a ‘pregnant’ result. This is because urinary HCG levels may not yet be above the threshold for the test.

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