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, and other things. Your test results may be different depending on the lab used. They may not mean you have a problem. 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 may affect your results. Examples of these medicines are fertility medicines and water pills (diuretics). Drinking too much fluid before the test can affect your results. This is because your pee may be too diluted. Urine collected first thing in the morning usually contains the greatest concentration of HCG.

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: Raymond Turley Jr PA-C
Online Medical Reviewer: Tara Novick BSN MSN
Date Last Reviewed: 9/1/2022
© 2000-2022 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.