Pregnancy HCG Levels Determine If You Are Pregnant and How Advance Your Pregnancy Is
Pregnancy hcg levels increase during your early pregnancy and throughout you first trimester to taper off during second and third trimester. The first time you detect the presence of the hcg hormone is in your ruin during you home pregnancy test.
HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, is a hormone produced by the embryo at implantation and it can be detected in the blood or urine of the pregnant woman even before she misses her period.
When you take a home pregnancy test, it is this hormone that is measured. The higher the levels go hcg in your urine, the more advanced your pregnancy. Hcg levels play a very important role during early pregnancy.
The following is a list of the main functions of HCG during pregnancy:
1. Hcg maintains the production of progesterone by the corpus luteum.
2. Hcg supports the endometrium lining during the first trimester.
3. Hcg is important for the development of sexual organs in the baby.
4. Hcg supports the synthesis of androgen hormones necessary for the development of testes.
5. Hcg supports the synthesis of estrogen.
6. Hcg is necessary for the placenta's development during pregnancy.
Pregnancy hcg levels increase as the pregnancy becomes more and more advanced and the baby continues to develop in utero.
It is possible to detect hcg in your blood as early as 10 days after the egg has been fertilized. This type of blood test is very sensitive and it is done at your doctor's office. Pregnancy HCG levels will double every 72 hours in early pregnancy.
That's why if you think that you are pregnant and your home pregnancy tests says that you are not, you should wait a couple of days before re-testing.
Pregnancy hcg levels continue to increase until you are about 10 weeks pregnant and then taper off to a steady value throughout the pregnancy.
Since the risk of miscarriage is high during the first trimester, your doctor monitors your pregnancy hcg levels to detect low levels. Ectopic or tubal pregnancies show low pregnancy hcg levels.
Facts about pregnancy HCG levels:
1. It is possible for some women to have normal pregnancy and have low hcg levels.
2. An ultrasound at 6 weeks is usually more accurate in determining baby's stage of development than pregnancy hcg levels.
3. Women on fertility treatments, who received the hcg injection, should wait 14 days before taking a pregnancy test because that's how long it takes for the hcg to clear the body. If you test to soon you may have a falso positive result.
4. Any pregnancy hcg level over 5 is considered a positive pregnancy test.
5. The miscarriage rate is higher within the first 14 days after conception. This is the time of embryo implantation. That's why some women have a positive early pregnancy test that becomes negative.
It is better to wait 14 days after ovulation to test because at this time the embryo is well implanted and the rate of miscarriage decreases tremendously, but stays high during the first trimester.
6. After the first trimester the possibility of miscarrying is lower because the placenta takes over the production of HCG and at this point the pregnancy is well established and the baby's major organs are already developed.
The following chart shows the hcg levels during the stages of your pregnancy. Please note that these values are a just a general indication. In order to know if your pregnancy hcg levels are rising as they should, you need to talk to your doctor and you will have to take a couple of tests 72 hours apart.
This is only done if there is a history of miscarriage or for other medical reasons. If you are not sure of your ovulation date, these pregnancy hcg levels will not match your pregnancy stage. So, please do not worry.
Weeks After Last Menstrual Period (LMP):
3 Weeks: 0-5 mIU/HCG
4 Weeks: 5-426 mIU/HCG
5 Weeks: 18-7340 mIU/HCG
6 Weeks: 1,080-56,500 mIU/HCG
7/8 Weeks: 7,650-229,000 mIU/HCG
9/12 Weeks: 25,700-288,00 mIU/HCG
13/16 Weeks: 13,300-254,000 mIU/HCG
17/24 Weeks: 4,060-165,400 mIU/HCG
25-40 Weeks: 3,640-117,000 mIU/HCG
4-6 Weeks Postpartum: < 5 mIU/HCG
If hcg levels fail to double every few days, there could be a problem with the pregnancy. In this case a risk of miscarriage or tubal pregnancy is very high and your doctor will closely monitor your levels to detect what the problem could be.Low HCG levels Can Be Due to:
1. Miscalculation of pregnancy date.
2. Possible miscarriage of blighted ovum (the embryo does not develop and only the pregnancy sac does).
3. Ectopic pregnancy (the fertilized eggs develops in a location outside of the uterus, like the ovary, abdominal cavity or most likely the Fallopian tubes).
High levels of hcg can indicated the following:
1. Molar pregnancy (growth of abnormal tissue within the uterus as a result of a genetic aberration and no developing embryo is present).
2. Twin or multiple pregnancy.
3. Miscalculation of pregnancy date.
Many midwives or OBGYN do not check pregnancy hcg levels regularly unless there is history of tubal pregnancy, miscarriage, or if the pregnant woman is experiencing bleeding or cramping.
After a miscarriage, pregnancy hcg levels should return to a non pregnant level within six weeks. If the levels of hcg are still high at that point, it is possible that a piece of the placenta was retained and not completely expelled by the uterus.
If that is the case a Dilation and Curettage procedure to remove the placenta cells will be performed.
I hope this helps you gain a good idea on how hcg levels play a role in your pregnancy. If you are in doubt of your hcg values, always consult with your caring physician.
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