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2. What is HCG and what is its significance in pregnancy testing? How early can a pregnancy test be done? How likely is a false negative in an early pregnancy test? What over the counter pregnancy tests are most accurate?




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This article is from the Pregnancy Screening FAQ, by Lynn Gazis-Sax (gazissax@netcom.com) with numerous contributions by others.

2. What is HCG and what is its significance in pregnancy testing? How early can a pregnancy test be done? How likely is a false negative in an early pregnancy test? What over the counter pregnancy tests are most accurate?

From Robbrenner@aol.com (Robert Brenner MD)

2. HCG is human chorionic gonadotropin. It is secreted by the
placenta and is measured by pregnancy tests. Urine pregnancy tests
can turn positive as early as 2 days after a missed period. I
recommend doing a urine pregnancy test when 1 week late for the period
to lesson the incidence of false negative results. Serum pregnancy
tests can turn positive around the time of the missed period but again
I wait til the patient is 1 week late to avoid false negative
results. Essentially all over the counter pregnancey tests are the
same. In a normal pregnancy HCG levels should double every 3 days.
This is measured by quantitative serum HCG tests.
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previous page: 1c. What about screening for venereal disease?
  
page up: Pregnancy Screening FAQ
  
next page: 2d. My HCG level is not rising as quickly as it is supposed to? What is the normal range, and how worried should I be?