The Quantitative hCG Pregnancy Blood Test Difference
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG)?
Also sometimes referred to as beta-hCG, Human Chorionic Gonadotropin is a hormone made by cells in the placenta after a fertilized egg attaches itself to a woman’s uterine wall.
How do hCG tests in blood compare to urine pregnancy tests?
A blood test can measure the exact amount of hCG that’s produced during pregnancy, while urine tests typically only determine whether any amount of hCG is present and aren’t as sensitive.1 A blood test can detect pregnancy before a woman has even missed her period—as early as six to eight days after conception)2—while a urine test may only yield accurate results after the first day of a missed period.
What is a quantitative test?
A quantitative hCG test measures the specific level of hCG in the blood, and a numerical value is provided with the result.3 This reading can tell you and your doctor how far along you are in your pregnancy, give an early warning about some possible complications of pregnancy and monitor declining hCG levels before or after a miscarriage. Conversely, a qualitative hCG test (blood or urine) simply checks to see whether hCG is present or not.
Labcorp OnDemand’s quantitative hCG blood test can detect small levels of hCG earlier than either a urine test or a qualitative blood test.
Can I take a quantitative hCG blood test multiple times to track changes in my hCG levels? Why would I want to?
hCG levels ramp up quickly in the early weeks of pregnancy. The range for women in their third week of pregnancy is 6 to 71 mIU/mL, compared to 10 to 750 mIU/mL in the fourth week and 217 to 7,138 mIU/mL in the fifth week. Levels continue rising from there until they peak between the eighth and 11th week of pregnancy and then decline and level off. 4
A quantitative hCG blood test can provide an accurate read-out week by week (or even day by day). When taking multiple tests over the course of several days, you and your doctor can detect if your levels are increasing or decreasing. This can help determine if a chemical pregnancy (i.e., early pregnancy loss occurring shortly after implantation), ectopic pregnancy (i.e., non-viable pregnancy in the fallopian tubes or elsewhere outside the uterus) or a miscarriage has occurred. A urine test, on the other hand, only determines whether hCG is present in urine in any detectable amount.
Is a doctor visit required for a quantitative hCG blood test?
No. The process is quick, private and easy when you get a pregnancy blood test from Labcorp OnDemand. You can purchase and schedule your test online without consulting a doctor.
How early can I tell if I’m pregnant?
You can take a quantitative hCG blood test like the one from Labcorp OnDemand for trustworthy results as early as six to eight days after conception. A urine test may only yield accurate results two weeks or more after conception—or after the first day of a missed period.5
You can take a quantitative hCG blood test like the one from Labcorp OnDemand for trustworthy results as early as six to eight days after conception.
A urine test may only yield accurate results two weeks or more after conception—-or after the first day of a missed period.
1 “Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) Blood Test.” Healthline. healthline.com/health/hcg-blood-test-quantitative
2 “HCG blood test -- quantitative.” UCSF Health. ucsfhealth.org/medical-tests/hcg-blood-test---quantitative
3 “Pregnancy Tests.” WomensHealth.gov. womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/pregnancy-tests
4 “What is HCG?” American Pregnancy Association. americanpregnancy.org/getting-pregnant/hcg-levels/
5 “Pregnancy Tests—Urine and Blood.” American Pregnancy Association. americanpregnancy.org/getting-pregnant/understanding-pregnancy-tests/