Pregnancy as beautiful and smooth it may seems is in reality very different. It is a journey full of surprises, one or the other. A very complicated one for the mother are the HCG levels that fluctuate during pregnancy on which she has no control but has to suffer the effects. HCG or popularly known as pregnancy hormone is very important for pregnancy and is measured at different intervals for ensuring healthy pregnancy and also to ensure that the process is going at smoother pace.
What is HCG hormone and what does it do?
HCG also called, Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin or the pregnancy hormone is generated during the process of pregnancy and helps in supporting the natural growth and maturity of an egg in the ovary of the woman and even accelerates the releasing of the egg during the process of ovulation.
The HCG levels double up every 72 hours and are at its optimum levels among the eighth and the eleventh weeks of the gestation period. It is generally believed that high levels of HCG are an indicator of healthy pregnancy however as exceptions in some cases low HCG has also been seen in healthy pregnancies.
What is mlU ML?
The unit in which the HCG levels are measured is milli-international units per millilitre (mlU/ml).Pregnancy test is taken to find out about the existence of HCG levels In case the HCG levels show more than 25 mlu/ml then pregnancy is declared. Let us have a look at the evidence on normal pregnancy HCG values:
|Blood HCG below 5 mIU/ml: Negative result and not pregnant|
|Blood HCG in between 5-25 mIU/ml: “Ambiguous”. Could be pregnant or could not. Required to repeat the test after few days.|
|Blood HCG is more than 25 mIU/ml: Pregnancy Confirmed!|
However, only one reading cannot be the only criterion, so more HCG tests have to be done after few days for a proper and exact calculation.
In case of post- menopausal phase for women, HCG levels till 14 mIU/ml are taken to be normal.
Level of HCG in early pregnancy
HCG, also referred as the human chorionic gonadotropin, is basically a hormone that is spotted in the mother’s blood or urine when she becomes pregnant much before she misses the period cycle. This is the hormone which helps in detecting pregnancy along with other factors.
HCG is at first detected in the blood sample in the initial 7-8 days right after ovulation with the help of delicate examinations. In reality the blood level in the pregnancy tests are positive about (> 2 mIU/ml) by the 10th-11th days.
In about 85% of the normal pregnancy situations, the HCG level will double up after every 72 hours.
HCG levels will be at the peak around 8-10 weeks during pregnancy after which it would drop and continue at low levels for the remaining months of pregnancy.
Causes of low HCG levels in early pregnancy?
Human chorionic gonadotrophin, or also known as HCG, is a hormone that gets produced during the course of pregnancy. The Cells that are attributed to shape the placenta expel HCG as soon as the egg gets fertilised and embedded in the uterus. The levels of HCG ideally double after every 72 hours and then rise to the summit later. High levels of HCG levels are generally connected as being a healthy pregnancy; nevertheless, low levels of HCG levels have also been observed and the causes are as under:
- Incorrect calculation of the Gestational Age: The projected date of the birth is evaluated based on the mothers last period cycle. In case a mother has wrongly estimated the period cycle or is prone to have irregular periods, the result of the gestational age will differ. HCG levels will be low in case of early pregnancy and can be rectified by further ultrasound and repetitive HCG level examinations.
- Conditions of Miscarriage: Miscarriage is an unplanned loss in case of a pregnancy condition prior to 20 weeks gestational period and might lead to lower HCG levels. Any pregnancy which fails to foster a placenta will ideally not expel high levels of HCG. Even though the HCG levels will be normal primarily, but will then stop to rise in the case of a miscarriage.
- Damaged Ovum: An ovum gets damaged when the egg is fertilised and gets attached to the uterus however does not develop. A blood test done to spot HCG will show increased levels if one is pregnant. Yet, extra HCG levels fail to increase or decrease.
- Tubal Pregnancy: A pregnancy where a fertilized eggs gets implanted in the fallopian tube is termed as ectopic or tubal pregnancy. This kind of pregnancy is a life- endangering one as there are chances of the tube to burst and start bleeding. HCG levels will remain relatively low in case of ectopic pregnancy than the normal one.
HCG levels week by week
The levels of HCG rise steadily till about 10-12 weeks of the gestation period after which they form a plateau or decline and this is the reason for the first trimester being a tougher and severe one. These levels keep doubling up every 2-3 days and increase by almost 60% in two days’ time.
|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|
|13-16 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|
|Women who are not pregnant||<5.0 mIU/ml|
|Women after menopause||9.5 mIU/ml|
Thus, it can be said that supervising HCG levels help the medical practitioners to evaluate how healthy a pregnancy is and to affirm that the delivery of the baby happens without any difficulties, and taking required steps if the HCG levels vary from the prescribed ones.