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low hcg levels in early pregnancy

lowhcg levels in early pregnancy

Low hCG Levels in Early Pregnancy

During pregnancy, cells in the placenta produce a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This hormone nourishes the egg after it has been fertilized and has formed the embryo that attaches to the wall of the uterus. In the first trimester of a normal pregnancy, levels of hCG increase significantly, typically doubling every two to three days over the course of the first eight to 11 weeks.

When this doesn't happen—or hCG levels actually decrease—it may mean a miscarriage is taking place.

How hCG Is Measured

Following conception, hCG can be detected in the blood as early as day 11 using a test known as the quantitative serial beta-hCG assay, which measures the volume of hCG in a milliliter of blood. A single hCG test may be used to see if levels are within the normal range expected at that point in pregnancy.

In order to see how quickly hCG is doubling, serial hCG measurements are done. Quantitative hCG blood tests are drawn two to three days apart in line with expected rates of increase. By and large, serial testing provides more useful information than a single hCG level when evaluating a pregnancy.

How to Have a Successful Pregnancy With Low HCG

Human chorionic gonadotropin, also known as hCG, is the hormone measured by urine and blood pregnancy tests. When you get pregnant, hCG is produced by tissue that will become the placenta. The production of hCG signals the corpus luteum, the remnant of the follicle that grew in the ovary, to keep producing progesterone, a hormone that prepares the uterine lining so that an embryo can grow. When the placenta takes over progesterone production around the tenth week of pregnancy, hCG levels remain stable for the rest of the pregnancy. No action on your part will change your hCG levels.

What Does Slow Rising hCG Levels in Early Pregnancy Mean?

HCG is usually detectable in the blood serum, usually 8 days after conception, of approximately 5 percent of women who are pregnant. Virtually, the rest 95 % of the women will experience its detection at about 11 days after conception. HCG levels rises progressively immediately after conception. The levels double every 30.9 hours on average until they reach 6500 mIU/ml at around the 8th week after your last menstrual period (LMP). After this, the rate of increase is individualized and peaks between 60th and 70th day of last menstrual period. HCG eventually decreases slightly post LMP, between the twelfth and sixteenth week after which it remains constant until delivery.

The normal level of hCG varies especially in early pregnancy, as it’s produced by the placenta immediately after implantation takes place and rise progressively. Most of the women will wonder if they have a normal hCG or not. Here are some of the hCG levels figures which might be very useful:

  • HCG level below 5 mIU/ml is considered "not pregnant.”
  • A level above 25mIU/ml is usually considered "pregnant."
  • Between 5-25mIU/ml needs a follow-up test to confirm it.
  • Levels below 1,200mIU/ml in early pregnancy. The hCG doubles every 48-72 hours and it should increase normally by at least 60% every 2 days.
  • Between 1,200 and 6,000 mIU/ml. The hCG takes 72-96 hours to increase and double.
  • Levels above 6,000mIU/ml. The hCG will take over four or more days to double and increase.
  • After about 9-10 weeks of your pregnancy, the hCG levels start decreasing gradually.

Possible Symptoms of Slow Rising hCG Levels in Early Pregnancy

There are usually several possibilities with your slow rising hCG levels in early pregnancy than what is expected, and here are some of the possibilities:

You could be having a “slow to rise” hCG levels. You might find that your first test indicates a lower hCG level, but when you come for the subsequent test, it’s found to be normal. In this case, you can go on to have a normal pregnancy.

An ectopic pregnancy could be another worrisome possibility in this case. A pregnancy that is growing in the fallopian tube increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy.

Most commonly, when you have a lower rising hCG numbers, it could be an indication of failing pregnancy such as miscarriage or a “blighted ovum.”

Most of the doctors will use the hCG values for reference purposes. Other testing methods such as abdominal or trans-vaginal ultrasound are also used to determine pregnancy progress depending on the estimated gestational age.

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