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HCG: The Hormone that Helps You Through Pregnancy

HCG is a hormone that a developing embryo produces in a woman’s body from about one week after conception. Our extensive product range includes both pregnancy and ovulation tests that measure HCG to tell you whether you are already pregnant or when you have the greatest potential for getting pregnant. Try one of our simple and high-quality hCG tests.

What is hCG?

HCG stands for human chorionic gonadotropin. It is this hormone that a pregnancy test detects to determine whether or not you are pregnant.

When Does the hCG Level Rise?

Nine days after conception, or approximately five days before your expected menstruation, the fertilised egg begins to produce hCG. As soon hCG is produced, it can be detected by a pregnancy test. This means that you can get a positive pregnancy test result several days before your expected menstrual period. Studies show that approximately 5% of all pregnant women have sufficiently high hCG levels for a positive pregnancy test eight days after conception. For almost all of the remaining 95%, a pregnancy can be confirmed 10 days after fertilization of the egg.

Even if it is possible to can get a positive pregnancy test as soon as nine days after conception, it’s equally possible to have a negative test result 13 days after conception. This is because it takes about 13 days for a fertilized egg to implant in the uterus, and there is a risk that something may go wrong between days nine and 13, causing the fertilized egg to be lost.

hCG is produced by the foetus in the placenta, and it is this hormone that signals your brain to suspend your menstrual cycle. The hormone also helps the body to retain and not expel the baby. The amount of hCG in your body has a correlation to the intensity of morning sickness you may experience. The worse the nausea, the more hCG, which means there is less risk of miscarriage.

How Much hCG?

From the moment of fertilisation, the amount of hCG in your body doubles every other day and reaches a peak at between weeks 10 to 12. It then falls steadily until week 20. Your body will maintain an even level until the baby is born. All women have different hCG values. Since the foetus is the source of hCG, women with twins or multiples have a higher hCG level.

Pregnancy tests detect when the hCG in the urine reaches a certain threshold. These tests can only give a positive or negative response, telling you whether or not there is hCG but not how much. If you want to know the specific amount of hCG in your body, your doctor will need to measure it from a blood sample. Pregnancy tests that measure hCG levels in urine will give a positive result when hCG levels are above 20-25 mlU/ml

hCG After Miscarriage or Abortion

The hCG hormone that originates from the foetus circulates throughout the mother’s body even after a miscarriage or abortion. However, soon as there is no foetus to produce the hormone, the level of hCG decreases, albeit at varying speeds for different women. In some women, the hormone will be gone after a few days, while others may have hCG circulating in their system for several weeks. All hCG is expected to be eliminated nine weeks after a miscarriage or abortion.

Pregnancy Week         hCG mlU / ml

Week 3                                 5 – 50

Week 4                                 40 – 1,000

Week 5                                 100 – 5,000

Week 6                                 600 – 10,000

week 7 – 8                           1,500 – 100,000

Week 9 – 10                        16,000 – 200,000

Week 11 – 14                     12,000 – 300,000

week 15 – 26                      24,000 – 55,000

Week 27 – 40                     6,000 – 48,000


American Pregnancy Association

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