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Pregnancy Test (HCG): About This Test

What is it?

A pregnancy test can check if the hormone hCG is in your blood or urine. Your body makes this hormone when you are pregnant. Many women use home pregnancy tests to find out if they are pregnant. This care sheet focuses on a pregnancy test done in a doctor's office or clinic.

Why is this test done?

This test will show if you are pregnant or not. A urine test checks if hCG is in your urine. A blood test can also measure the amount of hCG. If you are pregnant, your doctor will use the test results as a guide to care for you and your growing baby.

How do you prepare for the test?

You don't need to do anything before the test.

How is the test done?

You may have a urine or blood test for pregnancy. If you had a urine test first, you'll need to have a blood test.

You may have a urine test in your doctor's office or at a clinic or lab. In most cases, you'll have a blood test in a 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.

What else should you know about the test?

  • This test may not show that you are pregnant if you are very early in your pregnancy.
  • If your tests show you aren't pregnant, but you or your doctor thinks you may be too early in your pregnancy, you may need another test.

How long does the test take?

  • The test will take just a few minutes.
  • Results from a urine test may be available right away. Blood test results may take a few days.

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 or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) 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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