High HCG Levels in Early Pregnancy
High HCG levels in early pregnancy can indicate several different factors. Everything from a miscalculation of pregnancy dating, you’re expecting twins, to even Down’s syndrome in the fetus. But before you begin worrying about your HCG levels, it is important to understand what exactly they are and how it factors into your pregnancy.
HCG levels are what the basic home pregnancy tests test for. The HCG levels can first be noticed by taking a urine test about two weeks after conception. The HCG hormone is measured in milli-international units per milliliter (mIU/ml).
HCG stands for the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin, which is produced during pregnancy. The HCG hormone is sent into your blood stream soon after the baby implants into the lining of your uterus, about eight to twelve days after conception. HCG is made by cells which form the placenta.
Usually, HCG levels will double every 48 to 72 hours, until they reach their peak during your first eight to eleven weeks of pregnancy. Afterwards, the HCG levels will decline and level off.
Normal HCG levels vary widely between different women and in different pregnancies for the same individual. Consequently, you should not be paranoid about trying to figure out what your HCG levels exactly are. What you should be watching is how much your levels are rising every couple to three days. This is what doctors are mainly concerned about, and what could signify any abnormalities in your pregnancy.
High increases in HCG levels could mean several things, including molar pregnancy, choriocarcinoma of the uterus, ectopic pregnancy, twins (or more), Down’s syndrome of the fetus, or simply a miscalculation of when your pregnancy started. A molar pregnancy is an abnormality of the placenta, caused by a problem when the egg and sperm join together at fertilization. Molar pregnancies rarely involve a developing embryo.
Choriocarcinoma of the uterus is a malignant variant of molar pregnancy which metastasizes early by the blood route and is treated by chemotherapy.
An ectopic pregnancy is a condition where the embryo grows outside the uterus. Usually this is noticeable by HCG level testing your HCG levels have been high but they do not double from your last take level.