Normal hCG Levels

HerHaleness Staff Oct 27, 2018
The pregnancy hormone, hCG is produced by the placenta after fertilization and it helps in the detection of pregnancy. Understand the normal levels of this hormone in pregnant women and nonpregnant women.
Human chorionic gonadotropin, abbreviated as hCG, is detected from the blood or urine of a pregnant woman. Considering this, either a blood sample or a urine sample is collected for early pregnancy tests.
In blood test, a blood sample is used and while using pregnancy test kits, the urine sample is used for testing the presence of this hormone. If the test result is positive (25mIU/ml concentration), it confirms the pregnancy and vice versa. The term mIU/ml refers to milli-international units per milliliter.

What are the Functions of hCG?

As mentioned earlier, this is a pregnancy-related hormone. It is secreted by the embryo after conception and the levels of this hormone continue to rise through the first 8-11 weeks of pregnancy. The primary role of this hormone is to protect the corpus luteum (temporary endocrine tissue of the ovary), which is responsible for maintaining the pregnancy.
In the ovary, the corpus luteum performs the major function of producing progesterone and estrogen. It is also claimed that the human chorionic gonadotropin influences the immune responses of the body.
While performing pregnancy tests, checking for the levels of this hormone is a regular procedure. Even though these levels may vary, there is a specific range that is considered normal, with reference to the pregnancy duration or month. In a majority of expecting women, the amount of this hormone doubles after every 2-3 days in the first weeks.

Early Pregnancy

Their levels in early pregnancy are found to be highest, especially in the first 8-11 weeks. After reaching the peak levels, its concentration declines gradually. The normal hCG levels at 4 weeks of pregnancy is between 5 - 426 mIU/ml (the ideal reading).
Further, a low level is not always related to medical problems. Moreover, in many cases, women with low levels of this hormone have a problem-free childbirth.

Nonpregnant Women

In a healthy nonpregnant women, the normal level of this hormone is found to be 5mIU/ml or lower. When there is no or minimal amounts of this hormone in the body, the mucous membrane lining of the uterus (endometrium) sheds and marks the beginning of the next menstruation.
In another case, this glycoprotein hormone is related to growth of tumor cells. In such cases, presence of this hormone is used for detecting tumor.

Miscarriage

The levels of this hormone after miscarriage come to normal value within 4-6 weeks of the traumatic incidence. There is no specific normal levels of this hormone after miscarriage as such.
The amount of this hormone depends on how pregnancy loss occurred, duration of pregnancy, and hCG levels at the time of miscarriage. Usually, successive tests are performed until the levels are normal, i.e. less than 5 mIU/ml.

Abnormal hCG Levels

Very low or very high levels is a subject of concern for all pregnant women. Like for instance; an abnormally low amount of this hormone in the blood indicates risk of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy.
On the other hand, the probable reasons for an elevated level are twin pregnancy (or multiple pregnancy), and molar pregnancy. Another probable reason for the low or high levels of the same may be because of errors in determining the date of conception or pregnancy month.
Furthermore, certain drugs can affect the concentration of this hormone in the blood. Medications that may cause a fluctuation in the levels of this hormone are infertility drugs, oral contraceptives, and even antibiotics.
If an expecting woman is currently on a treatment regimen, an abnormal reading may be because of the medicines. The gynecologist is the best person to take advice from concerning the normal levels of this hormone and the factors that may affect the hormone concentration.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.