hCG, Total, Quantitative
The Pregnancy blood test is used to check the levels of hCG in the blood. The human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is produced during pregnancy. It is made in the placenta and rises a lot during the first trimester of pregnancy in the blood as well as urine. If the levels of hCG in the blood increases at a slower rate, it may be a sign of ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy that occurs outside of the uterus (ectopic)). Abnormal levels of hCG can also help diagnose and monitor fetus chromosome defects such as Down syndrome. An hCG blood test in conjunction with a few other tests can be utilized to diagnose other fetal abnormalities. Quantitative tests measure the definite levels of hCG and are performed on blood samples. Few labs have set the standards for what the hCG levels should be for each week of gestation during the first trimester; however, each woman's levels may vary and so the gestational age is uncertain. The most important characteristic of hCG to keep in mind is that during the first trimester of pregnancy, its levels should essentially double every two or three days.
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Preparation: Please do not exercise prior to testing. It is best that your blood is taken in a rested state.