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Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG)

How It Feels

Blood test

The blood sample is taken from a vein in your arm. An elastic band is wrapped around your upper arm. It may feel tight. You may feel nothing at all from the needle, or you may feel a quick sting or pinch.

You may feel anxious while awaiting results of an hCG test done to check the health of your baby.

Urine test

There is normally no discomfort with collecting a urine sample.

Risks

Risks of a blood test

There is very little chance of a problem from having a blood sample taken from a vein.

  • You may get a small bruise at the site. You can lower the chance of bruising by keeping pressure on the site for several minutes.
  • In rare cases, the vein may become swollen after the blood sample is taken. This problem is called phlebitis. A warm compress can be used several times a day to treat this.
  • Ongoing bleeding can be a problem for people with bleeding disorders. Aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin), and other blood-thinning medicines can make bleeding more likely. If you have bleeding or clotting problems, or if you take blood-thinning medicine, tell your doctor before your blood sample is taken.

Urine test

There is no chance for problems while collecting a urine sample.

Results

The human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) test is done to measure the amount of the hormone hCG in blood or urine to see whether a woman is pregnant. HCG may also be measured to see whether cancer of the ovaries or testicles is present.

Normal

The normal values listed here—called a reference range—are just a guide. These ranges vary from lab to lab, and your lab may have a different range for what's normal. Your lab report should contain the range your lab uses. Also, your doctor will evaluate your results based on your health and other factors. This means that a value that falls outside the normal values listed here may still be normal for you or your lab.

Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) levels in blood2
Men and nonpregnant women:

Less than 5 international units per liter (IU/L)

Pregnant women, 1 week of gestation (about 3 weeks after the last menstrual period):

5–50 IU/L

Pregnant women, 2 weeks of gestation (about 4 weeks after the LMP):

50–500 IU/L

Pregnant women, 3 weeks of gestation (about 5 weeks after the LMP):

100–10,000 IU/L

Pregnant women, 4 weeks of gestation (about 6 weeks after the LMP):

1080–30,000 IU/L

Pregnant women, 6–8 weeks of gestation (about 8–10 weeks after the LMP):

3500–115,000 IU/L

Pregnant women, 12 weeks of gestation (about 14 weeks after the LMP):

12,000–270,000 IU/L

Pregnant women, 13–16 weeks of gestation (about 15–18 weeks after the LMP):

Up to 200,000 IU/L

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 04, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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