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Normal Hcg Levels

normal hcg levels

About normal hcg levels

 Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a pregnancy hormone secreted by the placental synctiotrophoblast cell layer. hCG levels have a very typical trajectory during pregnancy. hCG levels increase exponentially during very early pregnancy, after reaching a plateau during the late first trimester hCG levels steadily decline until a steady state which is seen throughout the second and third trimesters. Classically, hCG is known for maintaining the corpus luteum and its progesterone production, which is essential for embryo implantation [1–3].

 Various types of studies have linked hCG to other placental, uterine and fetal functions such as umbilical cord development, suppression of myometrial contractions, the promotion of growth and differentiation of fetal organs but also angiogenesis and regulation of immune tolerance [4]. Although the main clinical utility of hCG levels lies within early pregnancy, these findings underline the importance of hCG throughout gestational physiology and suggest that variations in hCG levels may be associated with adverse clinical outcomes.

 What is an hCG test?

Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a hormone produced by your placenta once an embryo implants in the uterus.

The purpose of the hormone is to tell your body to continue to produce progesterone, which prevents menstruation from occurring. This protects the endometrial uterine lining and your pregnancy.

A pregnancy test can detect hCG in your urine if your levels are high enough. This is how the test identifies that you are pregnant. But only a blood test can give you a precise numerical hCG reading.

Causes of low hCG levels

If your hCG levels fall below the normal range, it’s not necessarily a cause for concern. Many women have gone on to have healthy pregnancies and babies with low hCG levels. Most women don’t ever have cause to find out what their hCG levels are specifically.

However, sometimes low hCG levels can be caused by an underlying problem.

Gestational age miscalculated

Typically, the gestational age of your baby is calculated by the date of your last menstruation. This can be easily miscalculated, particularly if you have a history of irregular periods or are unsure of your dates.

When low hCG levels are detected, it’s often because a pregnancy that was thought to be between 6 and 12 weeks is actually not that far along. An ultrasound and further hCG tests can be used to calculate the gestational age correctly. This is usually the first step when low hCG levels are detected.

Comparing Slow Rising And Normal Rising hCG Levels

Comparing changes in hCG titers with those of established expected curves can help the doctor determine what to do about the pregnancy and how to counsel the patient. However, there are many limitations to the serial assessment of hCG titers and the titers should never be used exclusively to replace clinical judgment based on symptoms or signs.

A normally rising hCG level would usually be a level that rises over 60% over a 48 period, though later on in pregnancy, the rise would be normally slower. Seebert et al reported in 2006 and Morse confirmed this in 2012 that a rise of at least 35% over 48 hours was proposed as the minimal rise consistent with a viable intrauterine pregnancy.

What’s the outlook?

Low hCG levels alone are not necessarily a reason to be worried. There are many factors that affect the levels, and the normal range varies hugely between individual women. Your doctor will be able to monitor your hCG levels for you if you have concerns. Even if they remain low, there is nothing that you can do. It’s also important to remember that low hCG isn’t caused by anything you’ve done.If your low hCG levels are due to a pregnancy loss, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t be able to get pregnant and carry to term in the future. If you lose a fallopian tube due to an ectopic pregnancy, your fertility shouldn’t change significantly as long as your other tube is functioning. Even if it isn’t, reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilization can help lead to successful pregnancy.

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