fbpx

What is hCG? Everything You Need to Know About the Pregnancy Hormone

February 18, 2021

Pregnant woman at the doctor
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, or hCG, is commonly referred to as the pregnancy hormone. It’s the hormone detected by home pregnancy tests and blood tests administered by your doctor. Although hCG levels can vary dramatically from pregnancy to pregnancy, most women’s bodies will produce the highest amount of hCG between seven and 12 weeks after a missed menstrual period.

Below you’ll find out everything you should know about hCG and what to discuss with your doctor if you have any concerns.

Different Women Have Different Levels

When you’re pregnant, it’s quite natural to compare notes with other expecting moms. But when it comes to hCG levels, comparing your levels with those of other pregnant women can cause needless worry. It’s not uncommon for one expecting mom to have much lower hCG levels than another woman, even if they are at the same point in their pregnancies.1

Differences in hCG levels can be caused by a variety of different factors, including how long it takes for an egg to get fertilized, travel down to the uterus, and implant itself into the uterine wall. As Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting puts it, “some embryos are simply zippier than others.”1

What is hCG?

hCG is a hormone that is produced once a woman becomes pregnant. The cells that eventually become the placenta begin to pump out hCG a few days after the embryo implants itself into the uterine wall.2 HCG helps ensure the corpus luteum (a temporary endocrine gland a woman’s body develops after ovulation) continues to produce progesterone during the first trimester of pregnancy.3

Should I Have My hCG Level Checked Often? What’s the Normal Level?

There really isn’t one exact number that represents a healthy hCG level for expecting moms. Because hCG levels can vary so much, it is not recommended that expecting mothers have their levels checked regularly. Instead, hCG levels should only be monitored if there are signs of a problem, such as cramping, bleeding, or a history of miscarriage.2

The hCG hormone is measured in milli-international units per milliliter (mIU/mL.) An hCG level above 25 mIU/mL indicates a positive pregnancy test. Any hCG level that is less than 5 mIU/ML indicates a negative pregnancy test. Levels that fall between 6 and 24 are a gray area and usually require retesting to confirm the results.

What if My hCG is High?

A higher level of hCG is not necessarily cause for concern. If your levels fall well outside of the typical range, it could be due to a few different factors. Most likely, it’s simply caused by a miscalculated due date. However, if your hCG level is extremely high, your doctor may also check for signs of molar pregnancy or multiple pregnancies.2

What if My hCG is Low?

A lower level of hCG doesn’t necessarily mean you should be concerned. Low hCG is often caused by a miscalculated due date. However, if your levels are extremely low, your doctor may check for signs of ectopic pregnancy or early miscarriage.2

Speak with a Doctor for More Information

Part of maintaining a healthy pregnancy is communicating openly with your healthcare provider. Be sure to ask them any questions you may have and discuss any concerns.

 

Prenate® Vitamin Family
This post is brought to you by the Prenate® Vitamin Family, a line of prescription prenatal supplements designed to enhance preconception, prenatal, and postpartum nutrition in women. Talk with your doctor about how taking a daily prescription prenatal or postnatal vitamin could help support a healthy pregnancy and postpartum wellness.

hCG hormone graphic

Connect with Prenate®

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

WARNING: Accidental overdose of iron-containing products is a leading cause of fatal poisoning in children under 6. Keep this product out of reach of children. In case of accidental overdose, call a doctor or poison control center immediately.

WARNING: Ingestion of more than 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids (such as DHA) per day has been shown to have potential antithrombotic effects, including an increased bleeding time and International Normalized Ratio (INR). Administration of omega-3 fatty acids should be avoided in patients taking anticoagulants and in those known to have an inherited or acquired predisposition to bleeding.

This site and its contents are an information resource only, and are neither intended to nor should be used in replacement of your doctor or other prescribing professional’s medical guidance, recommendations or advice. Neither this site nor its information should be used or relied upon for any diagnostic, medical, treatment, nutritional or other purpose. All aspects of pregnancy, including whether pregnancy is right for you, and the nourishment and care of your child, should be made with your doctor and other appropriate medical professional, and in consideration of your and your child’s particular medical history. Avion Pharmaceuticals, LLC (“Avion”) makes no representation, warranty or other undertaking that this site or its information are appropriate for you or your child’s specific needs or issues, and further expressly disclaims all damages, losses, injuries or liability whatsoever incurred or alleged to have been incurred in consequence of your reliance on the information on this site. Avion does not endorse any test, procedure, treatment, remedy, therapy, cure, nutritional regimen, method or other activity or undertaking that you and/or your doctor or other medical professional may elect or recommend. By visiting this site you agree to these terms and conditions and acknowledge that you have read and understand the same. These terms and conditions, together with any information on this site, may be amended, restated or otherwise changed from time to time and at any time by Avion within the sole, absolute and uncontrolled exercise of its discretion. You acknowledge and agree that Avion has no duty or obligation to keep you informed of any amendments to, restatements of or other changes to these terms and conditions or this site, and that you are solely and exclusively responsible for apprising yourself of the same.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

WARNING: Accidental overdose of iron-containing products is a leading cause of fatal poisoning in children under 6. Keep this product out of reach of children. In case of accidental overdose, call a doctor or poison control center immediately.

WARNING: Ingestion of more than 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids (such as DHA) per day has been shown to have potential antithrombotic effects, including an increased bleeding time and International Normalized Ratio (INR). Administration of omega-3 fatty acids should be avoided in patients taking anticoagulants and in those known to have an inherited or acquired predisposition to bleeding.

This site and its contents are an information resource only, and are neither intended to nor should be used in replacement of your doctor or other prescribing professional’s medical guidance, recommendations or advice. Neither this site nor its information should be used or relied upon for any diagnostic, medical, treatment, nutritional or other purpose. All aspects of pregnancy, including whether pregnancy is right for you, and the nourishment and care of your child, should be made with your doctor and other appropriate medical professional, and in consideration of your and your child’s particular medical history. Avion Pharmaceuticals, LLC (“Avion”) makes no representation, warranty or other undertaking that this site or its information are appropriate for you or your child’s specific needs or issues, and further expressly disclaims all damages, losses, injuries or liability whatsoever incurred or alleged to have been incurred in consequence of your reliance on the information on this site. Avion does not endorse any test, procedure, treatment, remedy, therapy, cure, nutritional regimen, method or other activity or undertaking that you and/or your doctor or other medical professional may elect or recommend. By visiting this site you agree to these terms and conditions and acknowledge that you have read and understand the same. These terms and conditions, together with any information on this site, may be amended, restated or otherwise changed from time to time and at any time by Avion within the sole, absolute and uncontrolled exercise of its discretion. You acknowledge and agree that Avion has no duty or obligation to keep you informed of any amendments to, restatements of or other changes to these terms and conditions or this site, and that you are solely and exclusively responsible for apprising yourself of the same.

Pin It on Pinterest