Finding out if you’re pregnant or not can be a nerve-racking experience. One can always take a home pregnancy test to find out yourself or else you can go to a doctor and get pregnancy blood test.
Pregnancy Blood test
Pregnancy Blood test is hCG quantitative blood test. Blood test for pregnancy has other names but ultimately is a beta hCG pregnancy test.
Home pregnancy tests are qualitative pregnancy tests. They only detect hCG and do nothing about the amount of hCG.
A quantitative beta hCG pregnancy test quantifies the concentration of serum hCG. The level of hCG doubles every 48 hours. It may take 72 hours to double the level of hCG in some cases. After implantation, the concentration of hCG rapidly picks up. It starts coming along in urine.
Urine hCG pregnancy tests detect hCG in urine. While the blood pregnancy tests quantify the serum hCG levels.
Other names of Blood pregnancy test:
- Quantitative blood pregnancy test
- Quantitative beta hCG blood test
- Beta hCG blood test
- Serum hCG pregnancy test
Why is hCG pregnancy blood test performed?
An hCG pregnancy blood test primarily detects pregnancy. But blood test pregnancy is not solely for detecting pregnancy. Why are hCG levels detected? There are other reasons for taking a beta hCG pregnancy test.
- A pregnancy blood test detects ectopic or tubal pregnancy. A pregnancy blood test can confirm this.
- Blood test pregnancy can estimate the levels of hCG and thus determine the pregnancy date and stage. The due date of delivery is also calculated using pregnancy blood test.
- It confirms pregnancy and cannot be wrong. A pregnancy blood test has the highest accuracy. A laboratory blood pregnancy test is the confirmatory test for pregnancy.
- The hCG pregnancy blood test also determines the gestational age. The approximate age of the fetus is calculated based on the concentration of hCG in blood serum. The hCG levels go on increasing until the 10th week of pregnancy.
- A chromosomal disorder called Down’s Syndrome affects baby’s mental health and leads to mental retardation. A blood pregnancy test can detect Down’s Syndrome in the baby.
- A blood pregnancy test is also useful for analyzing whether a woman can undergo any medical procurers. Blood pregnancy test is done before dental work while pregnant.
- Pregnancy blood test can also diagnose an impending miscarriage. The levels of hCG might fluctuate if a miscarriage is to happen. In this case, pregnancy blood test will be helpful in early detection.
How soon can a blood test detect pregnancy?
A blood pregnancy test can detect pregnancy 2-3 days after fertilization. You can take a blood pregnancy test as soon as seven days after ovulation. This is contrary to two weeks after ovulation using a home pregnancy test.
The reason for this is because the blood hCG levels rise more rapidly compared to urine hCG levels. Also, blood pregnancy tests are more accurate.
How early can a blood test detect pregnancy? You can get an appointment for a blood pregnancy test after seeing symptoms of early pregnancy.
If you experience implantation spotting, then you can get a pregnancy blood test done.
When can you take a blood pregnancy test? A blood pregnancy test is expensive to be repeated multiple times. It is best to wait for at least a week after a missed period before taking a blood pregnancy test.
How is pregnancy blood test performed?
Blood pregnancy test doesn’t require any special preparations.
- Your doctor will tie a rubber tube to your upper arm or wrist.
- He’ll then apply spirit or alcohol to clean that area.
- He might gently pat that area to make the vein protrude.
- After identifying an appropriate vein, he will insert a needle there.
- Using a syringe, he’ll withdraw enough amount of blood.
- He’ll then place a cotton plug at that point and carefully remove the syringe.
- You’ll be asked to lie down for a while and press the cotton plug tightly.
How long does a blood pregnancy test take?
Later the blood sample will go to the laboratory for beta hCG blood test. You may get your reports within a day or two. Your doctor will discuss the results with you after that.
How much is a blood pregnancy test?
Nowadays, a pregnancy blood test costs 49$. Some laboratories might perform other tests and charge you up to 200$.
Make sure that you confirm with your doctor about it before getting a huge bill. It is best to get all these tests done after confirmation of your pregnancy.
What are the risks associated with pregnancy blood test?
The pregnancy blood test as such has no significant risks involved. However, you may have the feeling of lightheadedness or bleed excessively after it.
It can also be that the needle used to withdraw blood was not sterile. This may lead to infections.
Nowadays, every hospital uses disposable syringes. Thus chances of any side effects of pregnancy blood test are minimal.
Pregnancy blood test results
If your blood pregnancy test hCG levels are lower than normal, it may be that you have an ectopic pregnancy.
Some women take longer to produce hCG hormone, and it is normal. Placental problems can also affect hCG production. Another reason for low hCG levels in pregnancy blood test is the possible miscarriage.
A blighted ovum can also cause low hCG levels pregnancy blood test result. It could also be that you have not calculated your pregnancy age appropriately.
High levels of hCG, during pregnancy blood test, could be a sign that you have twins. It could also be because of molar pregnancy.
A molar pregnancy is when the sperm fertilizes an empty egg. The cells divide to form an abnormal growth in uterus instead of a fetus.
From the 3rd week of pregnancy hCG levels are considerable
|3rd week of pregnancy||5 - 50 mIU/ml|
|4th week of pregnancy||5 - 426 mIU/ml|
|5th week of pregnancy||18 - 7340 mIU/ml|
|6th week of pregnancy||1080 - 56,500 mIU/ml|
|7th - 8th week of pregnancy||7650 - 2,29,000 mIU/ml|
|9th - 12th week of pregnancy||25,700 - 2,88,000 mIU/ml|
|13th - 16th week of pregnancy||13,300 - 2,54,000 mIU/ml|
|17th - 24th week of pregnancy||4060 - 1,65,400 mIU/ml|
|25th - 40th week of pregnancy||3640 - 1,17,000 mIU/ml|
Is a pregnancy blood test accurate? Can a blood pregnancy test be wrong?
No, pregnancy blood test is entirely error proof. Human error and individual differences always affect any test.
Pregnancy blood test is more accurate than the home pregnancy test. You may get false negative blood pregnancy test if you take the test too early. Similarly, if you are on fertility drugs, then you can get a false positive blood pregnancy test.
A blood pregnancy test can be wrong, but that will not have many reasons. Mixing of samples at the lab and human error are prime reasons for false pregnancy blood test. Another reason is the timing of blood pregnancy test.
How accurate are blood pregnancy tests?
A blood pregnancy test done by a qualified doctor is 99% accurate. Forget the bylines of home pregnancy tests saying that they are 99%. Only a pregnancy blood test is 99% accurate.
If you take the hCG blood test too early, then accuracy rates will be only 97%. During pregnancy, your hCG levels go on doubling every 48 hours.
Thus, the accuracy of blood pregnancy test increases further with passing time.
Why are pregnancy tests wrong?
Pregnancy tests detect the presence of a hormone called hCG and thus need a sufficient level of hCG. If a woman has hCG levels above 25 mIU/mL only then she is pregnant medically.
Some women might take longer to reach this concentration of hCG. If the pregnancy test is not timed accurately, then you will get false pregnancy blood test results.
Where can I get a blood pregnancy test done?
Only a doctor does a blood pregnancy test. Your obstetrician or gynecologist can do the blood pregnancy test.
You need to go to a laboratory to give a blood sample. Some laboratories provide the service of blood sample collection from home.
Can I get a blood pregnancy test at home? No, blood pregnancy test requires specialized lab equipment.
Also withdrawing blood is not something you can do at home. You can go to any hospital as blood pregnancy test doesn’t require any elaborate machinery.