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HCG (Urine)

Does this test have other names?

Human chorionic gonadotropin urine test, urine pregnancy test

What is this test?

This test measures the amount of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in your urine.

When you get pregnant, your body makes HCG. In a healthy pregnancy, the amount of HCG in the blood increases a lot over a short time, usually doubling every 24 to 48 hours for the first 8 to 10 weeks. HCG can be found in your urine 5 to 7 days after conception or about 26 to 36 days after the first day of your last menstrual period.

Except for very early in a pregnancy, this test can show if you are pregnant within days of a missed period.

Why do I need this test?

You may have this test to find out whether you are pregnant. This test is much like home pregnancy tests, which also measure the amount of HCG in your urine.

You may have this test to help plan your pregnancy care or as part of an exam to figure out the cause of symptoms you've been having.

What other tests might I have along with this test?

Your healthcare provider may also order other tests, including:

  • HCG blood tests

  • Ultrasound

  • Blood tests to measure certain hormone levels

What do my test results mean?

Test results may vary depending on your age, gender, health history, the method used for the test, and other things. Your test results may not mean you are pregnant. Ask your healthcare provider what your test results mean for you. 

Results are given in milli-international units per milliliter (mIU/mL). A positive result is usually more than 20 mIU/mL of HCG, meaning that you are pregnant.

Results of less than 5 mIU/mL of HCG are negative, meaning that it's unlikely you are pregnant.

If the results are unclear, or if your healthcare provider has reason to believe you're pregnant, you may need to repeat this test in about a week.

How is this test done?

The test needs a urine sample. Your healthcare provider will tell you how to collect it.

Does this test pose any risks?

This test has no known risks.

What might affect my test results?

Medicines that contain HCG, like some fertility drugs, and diuretics (water pills) may affect your results. Drinking too much fluid before the test causing your urine to be too dilute can also affect the results.

How do I get ready for this test?

You don't need to prepare for this test. Be sure your healthcare provider knows about all medicines, herbs, vitamins, and supplements you are taking. This includes medicines that don't need a prescription and any illegal drugs you may use.

Online Medical Reviewer: Chad Haldeman-Englert MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Maryann Foley RN BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Turley Jr PA-C
Date Last Reviewed: 8/1/2020
© 2000-2020 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.