What is a positive beta hCG level?
The following beta hCG values will be used to detect whether you are pregnant
Negative: less than 5 IU/L
Indeterminate: 5 to 25 IU/L
Positive: greater than 25 IU/L
The indeterminate value represents the grey area. The beta hCG levels will be tested multiple times during the pregnancy to confirm a healthy pregnancy. High beta hCG levels may be observed in twin pregnancy or in a type of cancer called choriocarcinoma.
The beta hCG levels are matched against the chart given below.
|Weeks from last menstrual period (LMP)||Approximate amount of hCG (in mIU/mL or IU/L)|
|17-24 weeks (second trimester)||4,060-165,400|
|25 weeks to term (third trimester)||3,640-117,000|
|After several days postpartum||<5|
What is hCG and what are the two types of hCG tests?
Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone, often called the pregnancy hormone, is initially made by the lining cells of the embryo and later by the cells of the placenta. Its function is to nourish the egg after it has been fertilized.
The hCG level reaches its peak anywhere between 9 and 12 weeks of pregnancy. It then goes on declining until it remains steady for the rest of the pregnancy.
Two types of beta hCG testing are usually used
- Qualitative testing: Also known as the urine pregnancy test, the qualitative beta hCG test is the over-the-counter pregnancy test that only indicates whether you are pregnant.
- Quantitative testing: It measures the amount of the hormone present in the blood. A blood sample will be collected from your vein and sent to the laboratory to check the blood levels of beta hCG. It is also known as
- hCG blood pregnancy test
- Serum hCG
A doctor usually orders a beta hCG blood test to confirm pregnancy after a positive urine pregnancy test. It is important to note that an ectopic pregnancy may also cause the test to be positive. This is a dangerous condition requiring urgent medical intervention.
Sometimes, your doctor may not be very much concerned about your hCG level. This is because you may have a perfectly healthy baby irrespective of low hCG levels. An ultrasound done at 5 to 6 weeks is more reliable than the beta hCG blood test.
The doctor will probably ask you to undergo beta Hcg level testing not once but multiple times during the pregnancy.
The hCG level is not a completely accurate way to date a pregnancy because these numbers can vary so widely.
Why is the beta hCG blood test performed?
Your doctor can ask for a beta hCG blood test to
- Confirm pregnancy
- Determine the approximate age of the fetus (baby)
- Check if there is an ectopic pregnancy (an abnormal pregnancy)
- Diagnose miscarriage
- Screen if the baby has Down’s syndrome
Increased hCG levels are found in cancers of the
Sometimes, the beta hCG levels are used in the management of other condition such as
Pregnancy and Parenting Resources
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
American Pregnancy Association