Definition - What does hCG Levels mean?
hCG levels refer the amount of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) detected in a woman's body during pregnancy. Detection of hCG levels in blood or urine is the basis of many pregnancy tests.
Because typical hCG levels will double every 72 hours in early pregnancy, blood tests called beta testing can be used to evaluate the health of a pregnancy. hCG levels peak at around 8 - 10 weeks of pregnancy, then decline and remain lower for rest of pregnancy.
FertilitySmarts explains hCG Levels
hCG is measured in milli-international units per milliliter (mIU/ml). Average hCG levels in a pregnant woman are as follows:
|Last Menstrual Period||Approximate Gestation||hCG Level|
|3 weeks||1 week||5-50 mIU/ml|
|4 weeks||2 Weeks||50-500 mIU/ml|
|5 weeks||3 weeks||100-10,000 mIU/ml|
|8-10 weeks||6-8 weeks||1080-30,000 mIU/ml|
|14 weeks||12 weeks||3500-115,000 mIU/ml|
It is not necessarily the specific level of hCG that indicates a healthy pregnancy, but rather how the level is changing. Healthy babies are born from pregnancy with low hCG. While hCG levels are not diagnostic, they can indicate a potential issue.
Low levels of hCG can indicate:
- Risk of miscarriage or loss of pregnancy
- Blighted ovum
- Ectopic pregnancy
High levels of hCG can indicate:
- Multiple gestation pregnancy
- Molar pregnancy