Pregnancy Test (HCG): About This Test

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What is it?

A pregnancy test can check to see if the hormone hCG is in your blood or urine. Your body makes this hormone when you're pregnant. Many women use home pregnancy tests to find out if they are pregnant.

Why is this test done?

This test will show if you are pregnant or not. If you are pregnant, your doctor will use the test results as a guide to care for you and the baby.

How do you prepare for the test?

In general, there's nothing you have to do before this test, unless your doctor tells you to.

How is the test done?

A urine or blood test for pregnancy can be done in your doctor's office, clinic, or lab.

Blood test

A health professional uses a needle to take a blood sample, usually from the arm.

Urine test

You catch urine in a cup given to you by a health professional. When you are finished, you give the cup back.

How accurate is the test?

This test may not show that you are pregnant if you are very early in your pregnancy.

How long does the test take?

The test will take just a few minutes.

What happens after the test?

You can go back to your usual activities right away. If you are pregnant, you will get more information from your doctor.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to keep a list of the medicines you take. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your test results.

Where can you learn more?

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.