What is Pregnancy Hormone Test?
Windowofworld.com – Pregnancy Hormone Test is an examination procedure to detect the presence or amount of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone, a hormone produced during pregnancy. This examination can be done using urine or blood samples.
The human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone is produced by cells formed in the placenta and functions to maintain eggs that have been fertilized by sperm and have been attached to the uterine wall. The hormone hCG can generally be detected in the blood or urine at least 10-14 days after fertilization.
Pregnancy hormone testing consists of two types of tests, namely:
- Qualitative examination, which is an examination to detect whether or not the hCG hormone increases in the blood or urine. This examination can be done at home using a pregnancy or hospital test if using a blood sample.
- Quantitative examination, which is an examination carried out to measure the amount of hCG hormone in the blood. This examination requires testing blood samples in the laboratory.
Indications for Pregnancy Hormone Test
Pregnancy hormone test are generally done to confirm pregnancy. In addition, examination of pregnancy hormones through the blood is also carried out for several things as follows:
- Determine the estimated age of the fetus.
- Diagnose abnormal pregnancy, such as ectopic pregnancy.
- Detect abnormalities that may occur in the fetus, such as Down’s Syndrome.
Pregnancy hormone test through the blood is sometimes also done to determine whether a patient is pregnant, before he underwent treatment that could potentially harm the fetus, such as radiotherapy or surgery. If the patient is proven to be pregnant, the doctor will make efforts to protect the fetus from the effects of the treatment.
Pregnancy hormone test through the blood can also be used to examine and evaluate certain types of cancer by detecting the hormone hCG. Besides being produced during pregnancy, the hCG hormone is a hormone that is also produced by several types of tumors. Some types of cancer that cause increased hCG levels, including:
Apart from cancer, the hormone hCG can also be increased in non-cancerous conditions, such as cirrhosis and inflammation of the intestine.
Before Pregnancy Hormone Test
For the test of pregnancy hormones either done alone or in the laboratory do not need to do special preparation. However, there are some things that need to be considered for antenatal care testing with pregnancy test kits, including:
- Read the usage instructions printed on the package and other information that can be found inside the package.
- Ensure the pregnancy test kit used does not pass the expiration date.
- Avoid consuming large amounts of fluids before undergoing a pregnancy test, because it will affect hCG levels in urine and make the results of the examination inaccurate.
In addition, before patients undergo pregnancy hormone test, both through urine and blood, patients should tell the doctor if they are taking drugs, such as diuretics, antihistamines, anticonvulsants, Parkinson’s disease drugs, and sedatives, because it can affect the results of the examination.
Pregnancy Hormone Test Procedure
Pregnancy hormone test should be done 1-2 weeks after late menstruation to get accurate test results. The steps to check pregnancy hormone through urine and pregnancy test kits are as follows:
- Do the test when you first pee after waking up. In the morning, urine still looks concentrated and contains the highest levels of hCG because it has not been mixed with other fluids.
- Point the indicator to the urine that flows for about 5 seconds until it is wet. Some other types of pregnancy tests may require the patient to collect urine into a container, then slip the indicator device into the container.
- Wait about 5-10 minutes for the results to come out
Pregnancy hormone test through the blood is carried out using a simple blood drawing procedure with the following steps:
- An elastic band will be attached to the patient’s upper arm to stop the flow of blood and make blood flow in the arm more easily visible.
- The doctor will clean the blood vessels to be pricked, with alcohol.
- The doctor will stick a needle into a vein and blood will be collected in a tube that is connected to the needle. The patient will feel a stinging sensation when the needle enters.
- As long as the needle is in the blood vessel, the patient will feel a little uncomfortable.
- After enough blood is drawn, the elastic band will be removed from the patient’s arm.
- The doctor will remove the needle and place an alcohol swab or gauze on the injection site. The patient may feel pain and slight throbbing at the injection site after the needle is removed.
- The patient is asked to keep pressing the injection site for several minutes to prevent bleeding.
- The doctor will cover the injection area with a bandage or tape
Results and After Pregnancy Hormone Test
The results of a qualitative pregnancy hormone test consist of 2 types, namely:
- Positive results. Positive results indicate that the hCG hormone is detected to be increased in the urine.
- Negative results. Negative results indicate that the hCG hormone is not detected in urine. However, these results are not definitive results that the patient is not pregnant.
- This condition is caused by several other factors, such as:
- A pregnancy test has expired or is not used according to instructions.
- Pregnancy tests are done too early, so hCG levels are still low or not enough to show positive results.
- Urine has been mixed with other liquids.
Take certain medications before or when undergoing tests.
Qualitative pregnancy hormone test (pregnancy test kits) that are sold freely are generally not 100% accurate. Whatever the outcome, you should still consult a doctor to confirm the pregnancy. Your doctor may do a pregnancy hormone test through the blood or additional tests to confirm the pregnancy, if needed.
The results of pregnancy hormone test through the blood are generally adjusted to the patient’s hCG hormone levels. The following table shows the normal levels of hCG during pregnancy.
|Weeks from the Last Menstruation Period||Normal hCG levels (mIU / mL)|
Normal hCG levels for nonpregnant women are less than 10 mIU / mL. If the hCG levels are outside the normal range, then these results can indicate certain conditions, including:
If the hCG level in the blood is lower than the normal range, this can indicate:
- Ectopic pregnancy.
- Alleged miscarriage or abnormal egg cells.
- Miscalculation of pregnancy time.
If the hCG level in the blood is higher than the normal limit, this can indicate:
- Grape pregnancy, which is a condition when an egg does not develop into an embryo after undergoing fertilization.
- Pregnancy twins, such as twins or triplets.
- Miscalculation of pregnancy time
Risk of Pregnancy Hormone Examination
Pregnancy hormone test through urine is generally safe and does not cause side effects. Likewise with pregnancy hormone test through the blood, it is generally safe and sometimes only causes mild side effects, such as small bruises on the injection site. However, in some rare cases, test of pregnancy hormone through the blood can cause the following risks:
- Mild headache
- Passed out
- Infection at the injection site
- Swelling of blood vessels
- Heavy bleeding
Immediately contact the doctor or the nearest hospital if you experience the side effects above or the side effects get worse.