HCG levels during early pregnancy
HCG levels are often talked about as they are significant during early pregnancy, this article explains more about the topic.
HCG or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin hormones are important, the level normally doubles every 48 hours during early pregnancy and its these higher levels which the pregnancy test you buy from the store detects. The hormone is produced by the developing placenta.
The higher level of HCG causes the corpus luteum to produce the hormone progesterone.
Table of typical HCG levels in MIU/ml (milli-international units per millilter and weeks since implantation:-
None pregnant women less than 5.0
3 weeks 5.0 -50.0
5 weeks 18.0-7,340.0
10 weeks 25,700.0 -288,000.0
The levels peak around the 8th to 11th week then decline between weeks 12 and 16 finally leveling off until the birth.
If my levels are lower than expected should I be worried?
You should always consult a Doctor if you have any concerns at any stage of your pregnancy, that said the level of this hormone is known to vary a lot even at different times of the same day, its somewhat unpredicatable.
A low HCG level may be an indicator of:-
* Miscalculation of the due date
* A potential ectopic pregnancy (being a pregnancy outside of the womb, for example in the fallopian tubes)
If you are concerned about the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy then these are:-
* bleeding light or spotting from the Vagina
* Pain in the abdomen or back
* A feeling of being faint or dizziness.
Some women can have lower levels of this hormone and everything is completely normal. But if your levels are not rising as quickly as indicated by the above table, it is important that you report that to your doctor.
Multiple pregnancies can also impact on the hormone levels as can molar pregnancies where the placenta and foetus do not form correctly.
If your level is continually dropping by 50% then this in general indicates that a pregnancy is in danger of miscarrying or that the embroye is not developing at the right rate.
Due to the above Doctors normally take a series of 3 sequential blood test which are staggered over 48 hours, and the results of which are normally available later the same day.
If you levels are over 1,500 this is usually high enough for the pregnancy to be detected on an ultrasound scan.
Some cancers also produce this hormone and a higher than normal level of HCG can be an indicator or marker for Cancer.
HCG can be used to induce ovulation and for this reason the urine of pregnancy women can be collected and re-used for fertility treatments.
Used in combination with steroids to offset the inhibitor effect of steroids on male testosterone production
Some fertility treatments can interfere with your levels as can some medications.
HCG hormone levels are an important indicator of pregnancy and that the pregnancy is progressing normally, they are not something that most women should spend their time worrying or stressing about unduly.
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