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I've seen a lot of people talk about these, and I know essentially know what they are. Is it something that only your doctor can tell you from bloodwork or something? Or urine? No one ever mentioned beta levels to me with my 1st baby. Can you test at home? This is confusing to me.
It's a blood draw, and it tests to see what your blood hCG levels are. You usually have more than one a few days apart so that they can check and see how your levels double. I think they often do it for women who have a history of miscarriage or problems, or if someone is experiencing worrysome signs like heavy cramping/bleeding etc. Some docs do it routinely. I sort of pushed to have it done for my own piece of mind - finally the doc was like "well if it'll make you feel better," and did it. If you don't have any worrysome signs there's really no need to have it done, but you can ask for it if you'll feel better and maybe they'll do it. I know it made me feel WORLDS better to know that I had a good doubling time on my hCG (28 hours!). Hope that helps!
My doctor isn't going to do beta levels unless something is wrong, but I'd really like to have them done just for the peace of mind since this is my first child and I may be high risk later in pregnancy. Like everyone else said, most doctors don't feel it's necessary unless there's a problem or a history of miscarriage. I only know this from reading the other forums and asking questions like crazy, though.