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Pregnancy Test, Blood

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Pregnancy blood tests are the most sensitive type of pregnancy testing. Blood tests can measure minute amounts of HCG in the bloodstream. Many doctors prefer that women undergo blood testing because such tests can measure specific levels of HCG in the body. This information is used to monitor a pregnancy's progress and to track any problems that may arise in a pregnancy. Laboratory blood pregnancy tests are also more accurate than at-home urine tests, particularly in early pregnancy detection. The test is conducted by taking a small blood sample from a woman. The test is minimally intrusive. Most women will feel no pain when giving a blood sample for a blood pregnancy test.

Quantitative Blood Test

This quantitative blood pregnancy test, also known as the beta HCG test, is used to measure the exact level of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in the blood. The test not only confirms pregnancy but also helps determine the date range of conception. HCG is produced by the placenta so when present in the blood a woman is typically pregnant (certain cancers can also cause the presence of hCG in the blood.) The HCG hormone can be present as early as six days after the fertilized egg has been implanted in the uterine wall, even before the first missed menstrual period.

Monitoring Pregnancy Progress
Doctors often use quantitative blood pregnancy tests in order to monitor the progress of a pregnancy. In the majority of pregnancies, HCG levels will double approximately every two days for the first four to five weeks of pregnancy. The production of HCG will then slow during the remainder of the pregnancy. A low production of HCG can indicate problems in a pregnancy. However, women should be aware that the blood pregnancy test is only one of the measures of healthy pregnancy.

Pregnancy Test Measurement
The test measures the milli-international units (mlu) of HCG found per milliliter (ml) of blood. Results include the quantity of HCG found in the blood followed by the abbreviation mlU/ml. In general, a result of 25 mlU/ml or higher is considered positive for pregnancy.