- Human Chorionic Gonadotropin Levels in Early Pregnancy
- What is HCG?
- HCG Normal Levels at Each Week of Pregnancy
- High and Low HCG Levels
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin Levels in Early Pregnancy
Throughout the pregnancy the expectant mother makes a great number of tests that help to track the normal fetal development or detect any abnormalities and fix them in a timely manner. The woman takes a blood or urine tests to measure HCG levels (the blood test is considered more precise comparing to the urine test). HCG levels can indicate abnormalities in the placental functions, an ectopic pregnancy or a missed miscarriage. Below we will speak on normal HCG levels and on what high or low levels of this hormone mean.
What is HCG?
On the 7th day after the fertilization, the cells of the future placenta start to produce a hormone that will protect the baby from the “aggressive” impact of the mother’s body. This is human chorionic gonadotropin. It can be detected already on the 11 day after the conception by a blood test and 12-14 days after the conception using a pregnancy test.
Chorionic gonadotropin has the effect similar to stress hormones like corticosteroids. It helps the woman to overcome the stress associated with her pregnancy and weakens her immune system in order to prevent it from “expulsing” the embryo.
HCG Normal Levels at Each Week of Pregnancy
HCG levels allow to track the normal development of a pregnancy as well as detect any abnormalities, that’s why it is worth learning its normal levels for each term of pregnancy. In most cases of normal pregnancy, HCG levels below 1200 double every 48-72 hours.
Pictures: hcg chart by week.
HCG level of less than 5 is considered negative, while levels above 25 - positive. If the test showed a result between 5-25mIU/ml, you need to repeat it a few days later. Between 10-11 and 14-15 weeks of pregnancy, a double and a triple screenings are performed respectively. HCG measurement is a part of these tests. It allows detecting any abnormalities in the fetal development.
High and Low HCG Levels
It should be understood that HCG readings don’t provide the complete information for a diagnosis. It is necessary to make an ultrasound and retake beta HCG tests.
Reduced HCG levels may indicate:
- threat of a spontaneous miscarriage or an empty sac;
- miscalculation of pregnancy dating;
- ectopic pregnancy or missed miscarriage;
- slow fetal development;
- violations of placental functions.
Increased HCG levels may indicate:
- intake of synthetic hormones by the expectant mom;
- some diseases and illnesses (late toxicosis, diabetes);
- hereditary diseases in the fetus or abnormalities of the fetal development;
- multiple pregnancy;
- miscalculation of pregnancy dating.