hCG is human chronic gonadotropin, a peptide hormone released in your pregnancy.
Mainly this hormone is developed by the cells that form the placenta in your pregnancy.
In hospitals, hCG test is performed to check the levels of this hormone in urine or blood to confirm whether your are pregnant or not.
Abnormally, certain tumors can also produce hCG. The tumors are especially that come from sperm or egg.
Generally the levels of this hormone can be tested in women who may have abnormal tissue growth in the uterus, a cancer in her uterus, molar pregnancy and any other condition that is other than normal pregnancy.
You need to undergo various hCG tests if you have experienced a miscarriage, in order to make sure that there is not molar pregnancy.
The levels of this hormone can first be detected by a blood test about 11 days after conception and about 12-14 days after conception by a urine test. Generally the levels of hcg will be doubled for every 72 hours.
Key things you need to know about hCG:
- In the case of normal pregnancies, the levels of hCG will be doubled for every 48-72 hours. As your pregnancy due date comes nearer, this period will increase and the level will be doubled to about every 96 hours.
- You must take precaution while making higher hCG numbers. For the women who have normal pregnancy, their hCG levels will be low and they can give birth to a perfectly healthy baby. The test results from ultrasound after the gestational period of 5-6 weeks give much accurate results than using hCG numbers.
- The level of this hormone is measured in milli-international units per milliliter (mIU/ml).
- If the level is less than 5mIU/ml then it is considered as negative pregnancy. The level greater than 25mIU/ml is measured as positive pregnancy.
- Don’t use the hCG levels to tell the pregnancy due date, because these numbers can vary greatly.
- A particular hCG reading is not sufficient to provide enough information. When you have query about the health of the pregnancy then multiple hCG readings will give more accurate measurement.
- Two types of hCG tests will be used to detect the condition. One qualitative hCG test and the other is quantitative hCG test. Qualitative one detects whether hCG is present in your blood or not and quantitative one is used to measure the amount that is present in your blood.
Low hCG level:
Low levels of this hormone can mean various things and it should be rechecked within 48-72 hours in order to know how the level is changing. A low level of this hormone is the indication of:
High hCG level:
High levels of this hormone can also mean various things and it should be checked again within 48-72 hours to know how the level is changing. High level of this hormone is the indication of:
- Multiple pregnancy
- Miscalculation of pregnancy due date
- Molar pregnancy
hCG levels after pregnancy:
After the miscarriage, the levels will become normal about 4-6 weeks. This can be distinguished by how the loss happened and how was the level at the time of miscarriage.
hCG levels during pregnancy:
hCG Levels During Pregnancy
(In weeks since last menstrual period)
3 week LMP
4 week LMP
5 week LMP
18 – 7,340 mIU/ml
6 week LMP
1,080 – 56,500 mIU/ml
7-8 week LMP
7, 650 – 229,000 mIU/ml
9-12 week LMP
25,700 – 288,000 mIU/ml
13-16 week LMP
13,300 – 254,000 mIU/ml
17-24 week LMP
4,060 – 165,400 mIU/ml
25-40 week LMP
3,640 – 117,000 mIU/ml
Your hCG levels may be interfered with some fertility drugs as they contain hCG. But, antibiotics and oral contraceptives won’t affect your hCG level. If you are taking any of the fertility medications, your hCG level be affected and this would affect your tests.