A blood test is the most accurate way to confirm a pregnancy. It can be determined as early as one week after conception using just a few drops of blood. A blood test for pregnancy can also determine how far along you are by measuring the HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) in your blood. The HCG values increase as the pregnancy progresses. HCG is a hormone that is produced during pregnancy that is made by the developing placenta after fertilization. If you are early on in your pregnancy the HCG hormone may not register on a urine test, so a blood test will be needed to determine if you are indeed pregnant. Your practitioner will most likely  have to order  multiple blood tests, in the beginning the levels will be quite low, but within days the numbers will multiply rapidly,doubling every 48 hours.

Weeks of Pregnancy Amount of hCG in mIU/L
3 weeks 5 to 50
4 weeks 5 to 426
5 weeks 19 to 7,340
6 weeks 1,080 to 56,500
7 to 8 weeks 7,650 to 229,000
9 to 12 weeks 25,700 to 288,000


Just remember that the above are the ranges of “normal” and anything within those parameters are considered to be “normal”. If your numbers are off the chart or don’t fall within the range it is most likely that the pregnancy is fine and commonly your due date might just be off – or you could be carrying twins.  As long as your pregnancy is progressing normally and the numbers are increasing during your first trimester, don’t stress about the numbers at all. Any concerns, your practitioner will address at your appointment, sometimes a dating ultrasound early on will better confirm a viable pregnancy and more accurate dates.

blood test for pregnancyBlood tests at your first appointment with your practitioner are very common. In these initial blood tests you will be tested for your blood group, whether you are Rhesus positive or negative, your immunity to German measles (Rubella) and your hemoglobin levels. You will also be tested for hepatitis B, syphilis and HIV/AIDS. These blood test are very important and give your practitioner or caregiver pertinent information regarding your health and any possible problems that may arise during your pregnancy. If your partner is Rhesus positive and you are negative there is a good chance that your baby will be positive too and in that case your body may produce antibodies that will destroy the red blood cells in your baby. At around 28 weeks you will be given an injection which will prevent this from happening.

Early on in your pregnancy you will be offered a few genetic tests. These are optional and it is strongly suggested that you discuss these tests with your family practitioner. The first is a triple screen test, this is a blood test that looks for three specific substances; AFP, HCG and Estroil. This is usually performed between fifteen and twenty weeks pregnant. This blood test has to take into consideration many factors in order to be accurate; the due date, mother’s age, ethnicity and family history to name a few. The triple screen tests checks for defects in the neural tube such as spina bifida, Trisomy 21 (Down’s syndrome) and Trisomy 18 (Edward’s syndrome). It is very important to remember that this is not a diagnostic test, but merely tests for the possible risk the mother has in carrying a baby with a genetic disorder. This test also has a probability of a false positive, so make sure to discuss with your practitioner the necessity of this test.  Another test is a nuchal translucency; this is used to determine the possibility of Down’s syndrome. This has a specific timeline that it has to be performed in and enables you to get the most accurate results. Your practitioner will send you for this test between eleven and fourteen weeks.  It is a detailed test including an ultrasound in combination with a blood test, when tested together the accuracy of the result increases to 90 percent.

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