hCG, or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, is a hormone that is produced by the placenta after a fertilized egg is implanted in the uterine cavity and the establishment of the pregnancy occurs.
It stimulates the Corpus luteum to secrete progesterone required to maintain the pregnancy and prevent ovulation and menstruation during pregnancy. It helps in the formation of the endometrium uterine lining during pregnancy.
The levels of hCG may vary at different periods of pregnancy. A pregnancy test of hCG shows that you are pregnant. The hCG level of a woman can be checked by either a blood test or urine test.
In normal pregnancy, initially at 4 weeks, hCG level ranges between 5 – 426 mIU/ml, and maximum levels of hCG range between 100 IU/ml to 200 IU/ml(25700- 288000 mIU/ml) at 12 weeks of pregnancy and thereafter it falls slowly and then remains constant throughout pregnancy.
But there are certain conditions where high levels of hCG could be detected, such as multiple pregnancies, molar pregnancy, and pregnancy with a down’s syndrome baby. Normally hCG disappears from the maternal circulation within 2 weeks following delivery.
Ectopic pregnancy is a life-threatening condition where the fertilized egg is implanted outside the uterine cavity somewhere in the fallopian tubes. Levels of hCG are low in ectopic pregnancy and help to diagnose it.
Levels of hCG in ectopic pregnancy range between 10-50 mIU/ml. It is lower compared to a normal intrauterine pregnancy.
In the above post, we discussed the hCG levels in normal pregnancy vs ectopic pregnancy.