Unveiling the Mysteries of hCG

Should My hCG Level Be Monitored?

In most cases, your medical caregiver will opt to wait things out. It generally is not common for doctors to re-check your hCG levels unless you are showing signs of a possible problem. A health care provider may re-check your levels if you are bleeding, having severe cramping or have a history of miscarriage. For those with higher levels, a follow up ultrasound can tell you whether you will need to plan for two (or more!) additions to your family.

What Could Interfer with hCG Levels?

Nothing should interfere with an hCG level except medications that contain hCG. These medications are often used in fertility treatments and your health care provider should advise you on how they may affect a test. All other medications such as antibiotics, pain relievers, contraception or other hormone medications should not have any affect on a test that measures hCG.

What Can I Expect of My hCG Levels After a Pregnancy Loss?

First off, please know we are very sorry for your loss. To answer the question, most women can expect their levels to return to a non-pregnant range about 4-6 weeks after a pregnancy loss has occurred. This can differentiate by how the loss occurred (spontaneous miscarriage, D & C procedure, abortion, natural delivery), and how high the levels were at the time of the loss. Health care providers may continue to test hCG levels after a pregnancy loss to ensure they return back to <5.0mIU/ml.

Key hCG Facts

An hCG will definitely say whether you are pregnant and if you get two done about 48 hours apart, comparing the results can also indicate if the pregnancy seems to be progressing normally. But the hCG level cannot tell you how far along you are, as women's values vary tremendously in normal pregnancies.

• Two types of tests: A qualitive hCG tests looks to see if hCG is present. A quantitive or beta hCG test measures how much hCG is present. HCG is measured in mIU/ml.
• HCG level doubles: In 85% of normal pregnancies hCG levels double every 48 to 72 hours. As you get further along into pregnancy and the hCG level gets higher, it may take 96 hours or more for your results to double.
• Don't obsess. A normal pregnancy may have low hCG levels and deliver a perfectly healthy baby. The results on an ultrasound after 5-6 weeks gestation are much more accurate than using hCG numbers.
•Positive and negative results: An hCG level of less than 5mIU/ml is considered negative and anything above 25mIU/ml means you're pregnancy.
• hCG levels should not be used to date your pregnancy since these numbers can vary so widely.
• Correlations between ultrasound and hCG levels: Your transvaginal ultrasound show at least a gestational sac once the hCG levels have reached between 1,000-2,000mIU/ml. Because levels can differentiate so much and conception dating can be wrong, most technicians recommend a diagnosis should not be made by ultrasound findings until the level has reached at least 2,000mIU/ml.
• A single hCG reading doesn't give enough information for most diagnosis. When there is a question regarding the health of your pregnancy, multiple hCG test done a couple days apart provide more reliable information.

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