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Since not knowing whether you're pregnant can be very stressful for a woman, you want to find out as soon as possible. Today's home pregnancy tests (HPT) are very accurate and widely available. In some cases, however, your doctor may want to run a pregnancy blood test. These blood tests detect human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which is also referred to as the pregnancy hormone (hCG).
Pregnancy blood tests can detect smaller levels of hCG at an earlier stage in the pregnancy than a HPT, even as early as six to eight days following ovulation. A quantitative blood test (beta hCG test) returns an exact amount of hCG in the blood. Even if it's very early in the pregnancy with just a small amount of pregnancy hormone present, the quantitative test will measure it, making it quite accurate.
The second type of pregnancy blood test is a qualitative hCG blood test which simply determines whether hCG is present at all, without measuring it.