Beta-HCG - urine; Human chorionic gonadotropin - urine
How the test is performed
As you urinate, collect a urine sample in a special (sterile) cup. Home pregnancy tests require the test strip to be dipped into the urine sample or passed through the urine stream while urinating. Carefully follow package directions.
Usually a first-morning sample (the first time you urinate in the morning) is preferred, because it is the most concentrated.
How to prepare for the test
No special preparation is needed.
How the test will feel
The test involves normal urination into a cup or onto a stick.
Why the test is performed
Urine HCG tests are a common method of determining if a woman is pregnant. The best time to test for pregnancy at home is after you miss your period.
The test is negative if you are not pregnant.
The test is positive if you are pregnant.
A pregnancy test, including a properly performed home pregnancy test, is considered to be about 98% accurate. Positive results are more likely to be accurate than negative results. When the test is negative but pregnancy is still suspected, the test should be repeated in 1 week.
What the risks are
There are essentially no risks (except for "false positive" or "false negative" results).
Morrison LJ. General approach to the pregnant patient. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al, eds. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 175.
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; and Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Redmond, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.