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HCG in urine

Definition

This type of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) test measures the specific level of HCG in the urine. HCG is a hormone produced in the body during pregnancy.

Other HCG tests include:

Alternative Names

Beta-HCG - urine; Human chorionic gonadotropin - urine

How the test is performed

To collect a urine sample, you urinate into a special (sterile) cup. Home pregnancy tests require the test strip to be dipped into the urine sample or passed through the urine stream while urinating. Carefully follow package directions.

Usually a first-morning sample (the first time you urinate in the morning) is best. This is because urine is the most concentrated and has enough HCG to be detected.

How to prepare for the test

No special preparation is needed.

How the test will feel

The test involves urinating into a cup or onto a test strip.

Why the test is performed

Urine HCG tests are a common method of determining if a woman is pregnant. The best time to test for pregnancy at home is after you miss your period.

Normal Values

  • The test is negative if you are not pregnant.
  • The test is positive if you are pregnant.

A pregnancy test, including a properly performed home pregnancy test, is considered to be about 98% accurate. Positive results are more likely to be accurate than negative results. When the test is negative but pregnancy is still suspected, the test should be repeated in 1 week.

What the risks are

There are no risks, except for false positive or false negative results.

References

Morrison LJ. General approach to the pregnant patient. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al, eds. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2009:chap 175.


Review Date: 11/8/2012
Reviewed By: Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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