HCG stands for Human Chorionic Gonadotropin. This is a hormone which produces at the time of implantation.
It is developed by the placenta cells at the time of pregnancy.
It enters into the bloodstream when there is an implantation of fertilized egg into the uterus, which is mostly about 6 days later the fertilization. Usually, the doctors will estimate what are normal HCG levels at 4 weeks pregnant.
During the fourth week, the pregnant women may have just known that she is a pregnant. HCG is used in determining the pregnancy even before the pregnant woman starts to show any symptoms or signs of the pregnancy.
Increase in the HCG levels
In most of the pregnant women, the levels of HCG doubles for every 48 hours to 72 hours, maximizing between 8 weeks to 11 weeks of pregnancy before it starts to decrease.
The average levels
During the fourth week of pregnancy, calculating from the past menstrual cycle date, the standard HCG levels range from 5 mIU/ml to 426 mIU/ml, in accordance with the American Pregnancy Association.
Low levels of HCG
Low levels of HCG can indicate an ectopic pregnancy, miscalculation of dating the pregnancy, or impending miscarriage. But this can also occur in a problem free, healthy pregnancy.
High levels of HCG
Higher levels of HCG may signal a molar pregnancy, miscalculation of dating the pregnancy or multiple pregnancy but those are inevitably a signal of unusual situations or a problem.
As there are wide differences from one woman to another woman, usually HCG is not used to give a date for the pregnancy. In most of the women there is an expectation that their HCG levels to come back to the non-pregnant range. This can be distinguished by the loss occurred way and by considering how high the HCG levels were there at the time of loss.
There are mainly 2 types of HCG tests.
- Qualitative HCG test – this test determines whether the HCG is present in the blood or not.
- Quantitative HCG test – this test measures the actual HCG amount which is present in the blood.
It is quite common for the physicians to test your HCG levels. Doctor may recheck your HCG levels if you are having severe cramping, or bleeding, or if you are having any miscarriage history. Nothing will interfere with the levels of HCG except the medications which contain HCG. These types of medications are frequently used in the treatments of fertility.