HCG stands for “Human Chorionic Gonadotropin”, also known as the pregnancy hormone. Approximately one week after the ovulation and fertilization, the implantation of the ovum in the uterus occurs, then the placenta starts producing the hormone hCG that enters the woman’s bloodstream.
Above you’ll find the hCG levels in pregnancy, estimated in weeks, counting the number of weeks since the last menstrual period (LMP):
|Number of weeks||hCG Level|
|3 weeks LMP||5-50 mIU/ml|
|4 weeks LMP||5- 426 mIU/ml|
|5 weeks LMP||18-7,340 mIU/ml|
|6 weeks LMP||1,080-56,500 mIU/ml|
|7 – 8 weeks LMP||7,650-229,000 mIU/ml|
|9 – 12 weeks LMP||25,700-288,000 mIU/ml|
|13 – 14 weeks LMP||13,300-254,000 mIU/ml|
|17 – 24 weeks LMP||4,060-165,400 mIU/ml|
|25 – 40 weeks LMP||3,640-117,000 mIU/ml|
|Non-pregnant women||Less than 5.0 mUI/ml|
|Post-menopausal women||Less than 9,5 mUI/ml|
These figures are merely an estimate. The evolution of hCG levels varies from woman to woman. Most women can expect to return to their non-pregnant hCG baseline levels in about 4 to 6 weeks after having an abortion.
Things you should know about hCG levels:
- In 85% of the average pregnancies, the hCG level will double every 48-72 hours. The level will reach its peak in the first 8 – 11 weeks of pregnancy, then it will decrease and stabilize for the rest of the pregnancy.
- A normal pregnancy may have low hCG levels and result in a perfectly healthy baby. The results of an ultrasound after 5-6 weeks of gestation are much more accurate than the use of hCG numbers.
- An hCG level of less than 5mIU/ml is considered negative for pregnancy, and anything above 25mIU/ml is considered positive for pregnancy.
- The hormone hCG is measured in milli-International Units per milliliter (mUI/mL).
- A transvaginal ultrasound should display at least one sac since the hCG levels drop to 1000 – 2000 mUI/ml.
- A single reading of hCG is not sufficient for the majority of diagnoses. In case of doubts about the pregnancy, several hCG tests are done in a range of days to give a more accurate assessment of the situation.
- The hCG levels or Beta hCG test can be used to determine the lenght of the pregnancy, however, keep in mind that this is not the most accurate method because its numbers may vary widely.
- There are two common types of assays of hCG (beta-hCG). A qualitative test detects if the hCG is present in the blood. A quantitative assay of hCG (or beta hCG) measures the amount of hCG.
- The hCG levels can be detected through a blood test about 11 days after conception. A urinalysis will detect hCG levels probably around 12-14 days after conception.
What does it mean to have can a low hCG level?
A low hCG level can mean any number of things and should be checked within 48-72 hours to see how the level is changing. A low hCG level can indicate:
- A miscalculation in pregnancy
- A possible miscarriage or blighted ovum
- An ectopic pregnancy
What does it mean to have a high hCG level?
A high hCG level can also indicate a range of things and should be monitored within 48-72 hours in order to evaluate the changes in the level. A high hCG level may point to :
- A miscalculation in pregnancy
- A molar pregnancy
- A multiple pregnancy
Should my hCG level be checked regularly?
It is not usual to check routinely hCG levels unless the woman is showing signs of a potential issues. The doctor might recheck your levels if you experience bleeding, severe cramping, or have a medical record of miscarriages.
What can I expect from my hCG levels after a pregnancy loss?
Most women can expect their levels to return to their level of non-pregnant for about 4-6 weeks after you have gone through tle loss of gestation. This can vary by how the loss happened (miscarriage, induced abortion, natural childbirth, etc) and by how the growth levels were at the time the loss occurred. Health professionals, in general, have continued to test the hCG levels after a pregnancy loss to ensure they return to <5,0
Can anything interfere with my hCG levels?
Nothing should interfere with an hCG level except for medications that contain hCG. These drugs are often used in fertility treatments, and your doctor should advise you on how they can affect a test.