hCG Levels in Pregnancy

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HCG Levels

hcg rendering
Rendering of hCG polypeptide

Pregnancy tests generally check a mother's blood or urine for hCG levels, Human chorionic gonadotropin. This hormone is secreted by the trophoblast following ovum fertilization and can be detectable as soon as ten days following conception.

hCG–What is it?

hCG is a hormone created during the early part of pregnancy. hCG has a few roles:

  • to maintain progesterone production by the corpus luteum;
  • to maintain the endometrium for the first trimester;
  • to stimulate fetal gonad development and androgen synthesis by the fetal testes;
  • to stimulate the secretion of estrogen and development of the placenta.

hCG Injections and hCG Levels Testing

Infertility treatments to trigger ovulation or to lengthen the luteal phase of your cycle that feature hCG injections such as Profasi or Pregnyl can create some problems. A woman will need to wait as many as fourteen days for the hormone to leave her body (although this is dose-dependent and can also differ from one woman to the next), otherwise she runs the risk of getting a false positive on a pregnancy test.

False positives can be avoided by taking two consecutive quantitative hCG beta blood tests. If the second test shows a hCG levels increase, the chances are good you're pregnant.


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How Do I know if I Need a Test for hCG Levels?

You shouldn't have to ask; typically your doctor will run routine tests for hCG levels in order to make sure the fetus is still viable, especially following infertility treatments such as AI or IVF. He may also want to run the tests to rule out an ectopic pregnancy, especially if a woman has had one before, or she is presenting the appropriate symptoms (pain, bleeding, cramps). Additionally, the doctor may decide to run a series of tests to determine hCG Levels if he or she can't find the fetus on an ultrasound, or if the woman is suffering from vaginal pain or bleeding.

Can I Test My hCG Levels At Home?

You can test your hCG levels with a simple home pregnancy test. In fact, the common "pee on a stick" pregnancy tests measure hCG levels. They are considered reliable but not as accurate as a test you might receive in a doctor's office.


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