The HCG pregnancy hormone level has a wide range of normal levels in early pregnancy. HCG is the abbreviation for “Human Chorionic Gonadotropin”, the “pregnancy hormone” which is being produced by the placenta as soon as implantation happens about one week after fertilization and ovulation. hCG then continues to rise until about 10-12 weeks at which point it will stabilize or drop.
- An hCG level below 5 mIU/ml is considered “not pregnant”
- An hCG level above 25 mIU/ml is considered “pregnant”.
- An hCG level between 5-25 mIU/ml requires a follow-up test to confirm what it could be.
- At hCG levels in early pregnancy below 1,200 mIU/ml the hCG usually doubles every 48-72 hours and it should normally increase by at least 60% every two days.
- A transvaginal ultrasound should be able to 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, a diagnosis should not be made by ultrasound findings until the hCG level has reached at least 2,000.
- Between 1,200 and 6,000 mIU/ml serum hCG levels in early pregnancy, the hCG usually takes 72-96 hours to double
- Above 6,000 mIU/ml, the hCG often takes over four or more days to double.
- After 9-10 weeks of the pregnancy hCG levels normally decrease
It makes little sense to follow the hCG level in early pregnancy above 6,000 mIU/ml as at this point the increase is normally slower and not related to how well the pregnancy is doing. After two to three months the hCG numbers in early pregnancy will slow even further and eventually hCG levels even decline before reaching a plateau for the duration of the pregnancy.
|Days from LMP||Weeks
|38||5 3/7||yolk sac
|39||5 4/7||yolk sac
|40||5 5/7||yolk sac
|41||5 6/7||yolk sac
Another reference source American Pregnancy Association
hCG levels in weeks from LMP (gestational age)* :
- 3 weeks LMP: 5 – 50 mIU/ml
- 4 weeks LMP: 5 – 426 mIU/ml
- 5 weeks LMP: 18 – 7,340 mIU/ml
- 6 weeks LMP: 1,080 – 56,500 mIU/ml
- 7 – 8 weeks LMP: 7, 650 – 229,000 mIU/ml
- 9 – 12 weeks LMP: 25,700 – 288,000 mIU/ml
- 13 – 16 weeks LMP: 13,300 – 254,000 mIU/ml
- 17 – 24 weeks LMP: 4,060 – 165,400 mIU/ml
- 25 – 40 weeks LMP: 3,640 – 117,000 mIU/ml
- Non-pregnant females: <;5.0 mIU/ml
- Postmenopausal females: <;9.5 mIU/ml
* These numbers are just a GUIDELINE– every woman’s level
of hCG can rise differently. It is not necessarily the level that
matters but rather the change in the level.
What can a high hCG level mean?
A high level of hCG can also mean a number of things and should
be rechecked within 48-72 hours to evaluate changes in the level.
A high hCG level can indicate:
- Miscalculation of pregnancy dating
- Molar pregnancy
- Multiple pregnancy
What can I expect of my hCG levels after a pregnancy loss?
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 usually will continue to test hCG
levels after a pregnancy loss to ensure they return back to <;5.0
Can anything interfere with my 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 effect on a test that measures hCG.