Free Beta HCG test maternal is a blood test that is performed to measure the levels of Beta human gonadotropin in the blood.
Beta HCG or Beta human gonadotropin is a hormone that is produced by the placenta during pregnancy. The hormone can be easily detected in the maternal blood and urine, thereby serving as the basis of confirming pregnancy. The hormone helps in establishing and maintaining pregnancy through placentation and embryo development.
HCG can be detected in the blood after 8 -11 days of conception. HCG levels double continuously after every 48 to 72 hours and are highest during the 8 - 11th week of conception. After this time the levels of HCG remain steady for the rest of the pregnancy. However, the levels of HCG may be reflective of various other conditions. HCG is also present in males and aids in the production of testosterone.
Why get tested?
The test measures the level of human gonadotropin hormone in the blood. These levels may be used to –
Determine the age of the developing fetus
Diagnose a potential miscarriage
Determine the risk of ectopic pregnancy (when the fertilized egg starts developing outside the uterus)
Determine multiple pregnancies (twins, triplets)
Screen for disorders such as Down syndrome
This test is more accurate than the pregnancy kits that are used to check pregnancy at home.