Rendering of Hcg
Keeping close watch on HCG levels is a good way to make sure that your pregnancy is progressing normally. Let's take a look at the terms and figures associated with these levels.
To begin, the standard unit of measurement for HCG levels is lengthy but don't let it confuse you: it's measured in milli-international units per millimeter (mIU/ml).
Sensitive tests will detect HCG in the blood quickly, often as soon as a week after ovulation, and normal pregnancy tests will give positive results about 10 days following HCG injection or LH surge. Expect levels to differ depending on gestational age during pregnancy.
By The Numbers
Don't get too crazy about HCG numbers. It is extremely difficult at any given time to define what is considered normal or average, especially early on when the 'normal' range is enormous. In fact, ultrasounds five or six weeks into pregnancy are substantially more reliable.
Again: the range of HCG levels in the blood during pregnancy is huge; a single value will not indicate a normal pregnancy! In fact, a number of values are necessary before making a number of determinations, including how far along the pregnancy is. Consider the following figures (based on days past ovulation (DPO); all HCG levels and ranges are averages):
- DPO, 14. HCG level, 48 mIU/ml. Range: 17-119 mIU/ml.
- DPO, 15. HCG level, 59 mIU/ml. Range: 17-147 mIU/ml.
- DPO, 16. HCG level, 95 mIU/ml. Range: 33-223 mIU/ml.
- DPO, 17. HCG level, 132 mIU/ml. Range: 17-429 mIU/ml.
- DPO, 18. HCG level, 292 mIU/ml. Range: 70-758 mIU/ml.
- DPO, 19. HCG level, 303 mIU/ml. Range: 111-514 mIU/ml.
- DPO, 20. HCG level, 522 mIU/ml. Range: 135-1690 mIU/ml.
- DPO, 21. HCG level, 1061 mIU/ml. Range: 324-4130 mIU/ml.
- DPO, 22. HCG level, 1287 mIU/ml. Range: 185-3279 mIU/ml.
- DPO, 23. HCG level, 2034 mIU/ml. Range: 506-4660 mIU/ml.
- DPO, 24. HCG level, 2637 mIU/ml. Range: 540-10,000 mIU/ml.
Look most closely at the progression: during the huge majority of early pregnancies (80-90%), the level will double every couple of days, or 72 hours. As your pregnancy progresses, levels rise and that doubling time increases. The expected doubling time for HCG levels:
- Under 1200 mIU/ml: 48-72 hours.
- Between 1200 to 6000 mIU/ml: 72-96 hours.
- Over 6000 mIU/ml: more than 96 hours
HCG levels rise during the first 8 to 10 weeks of pregnancy then decline slowly for the second and third trimesters. The following presents some average expected HCG levels based on time after conception:
- First week: 0-50 mIU/ml
- 1-2 weeks: 40-300 mIU/ml
- 3-4 weeks: 500-6,000 mIU/ml
- 1-2 months: 5,000-200,000 mIU/ml
- 2-3 months: 10,000-100,000 mIU/ml
- 2nd trimester: 3,000-50,000 mIU/ml
- 3rd trimester: 1,000-50,000 mIU/ml
- Non-pregnant females: < 5.0 mIU/ml
- Postmenopausal females: < 9.5 mIU/ml