Human chorionic gonadotropin (commonly known as hCG), is produced by your body during pregnancy. It is produced by cells that form the placenta. hCG can first be detected by a blood test around 11 days after conception. It can be generally detected about 12 – 14 days by a urine test. hCG level will double rougly every 72 hours. The levels will reach their peak in the 8 – 11 weeks of pregnancy (the third month) and then will decline and level off for the remainder of the pregnancy.
Caution should be used in making too much of hCG numbers. You may very well have low hCG numbers but still deliver a wonderfully perfect and healthy baby. Ultrasound results after 5-6 weeks of gestation are much more reliable and accurate than using hCG numbers.
hCG is typically measured in milli-international units per millimeter (mIU/ml). 5mIU/ml is considered negative for pregnancy. Over 25mIU/ml is typically considered positive for pregnancy. A lone hCG measurement is not sufficient to diagnose most issues. When there is concern regarding the health of the pregnancy, several hCG testings done over a period of a few days will give the most accurate picture. Dating a pregnancy using hCG levels is not advised, since these numbers can vary so widely.
A quantitative hCG (also called a beta hCG) test will measure the amounts of hCG in the blood.
3 weeks gestational age: 5 – 50 mIU/ml
4 weeks gestational age: 5 – 426 mIU/ml
5 weeks gestational age: 18 – 7,340 mIU/ml
6 weeks gestational age: 1,080 – 56,500 mIU/ml
7 – 8 weeks gestational age: 7, 650 – 229,000 mIU/ml
9 – 12 weeks gestational age: 25,700 – 288,000 mIU/ml
13 – 16 weeks gestational age: 13,300 – 254,000 mIU/ml
17 – 24 weeks gestational age: 4,060 – 165,400 mIU/ml
25 – 40 weeks gestational age: 3,640 – 117,000 mIU/ml
Non-pregnant females: <5.0 mIU/ml
Postmenopausal: <9.5 mIU/ml
Keep in mind that hese numbers are only a guideline. Each and every woman’s hCG levels can rise differently. The level itself does not matter nearly as much as the rate of change in the level.