One of the biggest role players in the process of pregnancy is Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG). Commonly known as the ‘pregnancy hormone’, hCG is normally the first indication that a woman is pregnant. Once the egg has implanted successfully into the uterus, the placenta will begin to create this hormone.
Since hCG levels increase shortly after conception, an increase in the levels of the hormone in a woman’s body is commonly associated with pregnancy. The question of whether or not high hCG levels are always an indication of pregnancy is an important one to answer, particularly for women trying to get pregnant.
Average hCG Levels in Women During Pregnancy
While there are standard or average levels that indicate pregnancy, it is important to remember, as Pregnancy.org emphasizes, average levels are just guidelines. If a woman wants to be sure that she is pregnant, she needs to go to her doctor. The average levels of hCG in a woman are given below:
- Less than 5.00 ml – not pregnant
- Less than 9.5 ml – postmenopausal
- 5 – 5.50 ml – three weeks pregnant
- 5-426 ml – four weeks pregnant
- 18-7,340 mI – five weeks pregnant
- 1,080-56,500 mI – six weeks pregnant
- 650-229,000 mI – between seven and eight weeks pregnant
- 25,700-288,000 mI – between nine and twelve weeks
- 13,300-254,000 mI –between 13 and 16 weeks pregnant
- 4,060-165,400 mI – between 17 and 24 weeks pregnant
- 3,640-117,000 mI – between 25 and 40 weeks pregnant
It should, however, be noted that the amount of hCG is not the biggest indicator of pregnancy in a woman’s body as a female may have high levels of hCG already. What is more important is the amount by which the hormone rises during pregnancy. The levels of hCG normally doubles every two days in a healthy, pregnant woman.
Low hCG Levels
Most women who have been trying to get pregnant for some time tend to panic if they have low hCG levels. However, low hCG levels do not necessarily indicate a lack of conception – even though this is most likely the case. It could also mean that she has an irregular or longer cycle – a common occurrence amongst a number of women. A woman’s menstrual cycle is sensitive to externalities like stress so this should be taken into account. The female may be pregnant but with a baby that is younger than 28 weeks or she could also ovulate later on in her cycle. Regardless, if you are unsure, it is normally advisable to go for a second test after a few days or to check with your doctor about seeing a specialist.
High hCG Levels
There are many different reasons why a woman’s hCG level would be high:
High levels of hCG could be evidence of a molar pregnancy, which is an abnormality of the placenta. A molar pregnancy will usually not involve a developing embryo, and the growth of this matter is very fast when compared to normal fetal growth.
Choriocarcinoma Of The Uterus
This is the cancerous version of a molar pregnancy that has metastasized early via a woman’s blood. It is only treated with chemotherapy and its main system is abnormally high levels of hCG.
An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the embryo grows outside of the uterus. Even if your hCG levels are increasing, if they are not doubling correctly, then this may indicate an ectopic pregnancy.
If you are undergoing infertility treatments and have used an hCG trigger shot to prompt ovulation, such as Profasi or Pregnyl, trace amounts may be to blame for high hCG levels. These medications can stay in your body up to 10 days after the injection.