hCG Numbers To Evaluate Symptoms of Miscarriage
Human chorionic gonadotropin, commonly referred to as hCG is produced in the bodies of pregnant women. The hCG blood test measures the hCG levels or numbers in the blood. The tests and the results can be qualitative where a yes or no result is provided or it can be quantitative where an actual measurement of the hCG numbers are provided. The difference lies in the purpose for the test. For instance if a woman just wants to confirm her pregnancy at home she will use a pregnancy test kits which indicates whether hCG is present or not. Quantitative tests are used to determine the progression of the pregnancy.
Why Do Doctors Order hCG Blood Tests?
Tests to monitor hCG numbers are a routine part of early pregnancy prenatal care. Some doctors use urine based tests to confirm pregnancy and only order blood tests if they need to know more about what is taking place in the pregnancy for instance if there is vaginal bleeding or if the patient complains of any other symptoms associated with miscarriage.
They may also be ordered to determine if the hCG is within a normal range although this can vary widely. Another reason for the tests is to check the hCG doubling times to see if the pregnancy is progressing normally. In this case the tests will be given over a period of 2-3 days to check for increasing hCG numbers.
Getting Prepared for an hCG Blood Test
There is no special preparations necessary before taking an hCG blood test. No fasting or decrease in your fluid intake is necessary since these factors will not affect the blood drawn for the test.
What Are Serial hCG Blood Tests?
Serial hCG blood tests involve the quantitative analysis of blood to determine the hCG numbers over a two to three day period. Early in the pregnancy the levels should increase every 2-3 days. If the doubling time is more than this or if there is a decrease in hCG numbers then this is an indication that something could be wrong. It could be an indication of a possible miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy.
If you are experience miscarriage symptoms early in the pregnancy the doctor will request serial blood tests in order to get a better idea of what is going on with the pregnancy.
Interpreting the Results
The best person to interpret what your hCG numbers mean is your doctor since what is normal varies from one person to the next. Also single hCG tests, even when the hCG numbers are low, does not really provide much information on how the pregnancy is progressing. Your doctor would compare the results with the other information that he has on your medical history to make a conclusion. Some things he will take into consideration include whether you have had miscarriages in the past and what your current symptoms are.
Even though slow rising hCG levels might indicate problems it is still possible to have a normal pregnancy.