Banner image

HCG blood test - qualitative

Beta-HCG in blood serum - qualitative; Human chorionic gonadotrophin - serum - qualitative; Pregnancy test - blood - qualitative; Serum HCG - qualitative; HCG in blood serum - qualitative

Find

Learn More

Considerations

False positive tests may occur when certain hormones are increased, such as after menopause or when taking hormone supplements.

A pregnancy test is considered to be very accurate. When the test is negative but pregnancy is still suspected, the test should be repeated in 1 week.

Definition

A qualitative HCG blood test checks if there is a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin in your blood. HCG is a hormone produced in the body during pregnancy.

Other HCG tests include:

How the Test is Performed

A blood sample is needed. This is most often taken from a vein. The procedure is called a venipuncture.

How the Test will Feel

When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain. Others feel only a prick or stinging. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.

How to Prepare for the Test

No special preparation is needed.

Normal Results

The test result will be reported as negative or positive.

  • The test is negative if you are not pregnant.
  • The test is positive if you are pregnant.

Risks

Risks of having blood drawn are slight, but may include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fainting or feeling lightheaded
  • Blood accumulating under the skin (hematoma)
  • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)

What Abnormal Results Mean

If your blood HCG is positive and you DO NOT have a pregnancy properly implanted in the uterus, it may indicate:

Why the Test is Performed

Most often, this test is performed to determine if you are pregnant. HCG level in the blood may also be high in women with certain types of ovarian tumors or in men with testicular tumors.

Review Date: 10/4/2016
Reviewed By: John D. Jacobson, MD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda Center for Fertility, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

ADAM QualityA.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch).

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 9-1-1 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only—they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-2010 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.