HCG stands for Human Chorionic Gonadotropin. It is a hormone that is produced by the placenta at the start of a pregnancy. The HCG levels will steadily increase through the first 10 weeks of a healthy pregnancy at which point they will either hit a peak and stay there, or begin to slowly drop. One of the best ways for you, and your doctors, to determine whether or not your pregnancy is normal is to monitor HCG levels. Though each pregnancy is unique, a universally accepted characteristic of a normal one is appropriate HCG levels.
So, by now you may be asking yourself what is a normal HCG level and how can I relate it to my pregnancy? Though each pregnancy will have its own circumstances, there are some things that you need to know regarding these levels.
- HCG levels can be determined by testing the blood or the urine. Blood tests are more sensitive than urine tests so they will give a slightly more accurate reading. In addition, a blood HCG test can be given to detect a pregnancy as your HCG levels will begin to rise to a readable point as early as ten days after fertilization.
- More than two-thirds of all normal pregnancies have a doubling of HCG levels every 72-hours. Don’t be alarmed if you experience a huge jump in levels each time you have them checked. However, because everyone is different, if the HCG levels don’t double every few days there is not necessarily something wrong with your pregnancy.
- After about the tenth week your HCG levels might start to drop. If this happens, don’t be worried. It is quite normal for some women to experience this.
- Some normal pregnancies have low levels of HCG throughout. In order to determine if you have low levels or not you will need to be tested multiple times. Once normal fetal activity has been detected then there is almost a 100% chance that the delivery will be normal regardless of your HCG levels.
- Since HCG levels can vary, many doctors believe that sonograms give a better indication as to how normal a pregnancy is. Once the heart beat is detected these doctors will monitor it as opposed to checking HCG levels in many cases. A healthy heart beat is an indication of a healthy baby regardless of HCG levels.
As you can see, monitoring HCG levels can provide an idea regarding how healthy a pregnancy is. With this fact in mind, it is a good idea to have your levels checked multiple times throughout the first several weeks. However, make sure to remember that if your levels are not considered to be normal that is not an indication of an unhealthy pregnancy. Simply put, each person is different so it is not uncommon for low HCG levels to be present in perfectly normal pregnancies. There are many indicators outside of HCG levels that can help determine the normalcy of a pregnancy. Make sure to take all of them into consideration before becoming nervous that your pregnancy is abnormal.