Human chorionic gonadotropin (abbreviated names HG and hCG) is a gonadotropic hormone secreted by the placenta during the period of gestation. It is produced from the first hours of conception, increases at the 7th week by several thousand times, then slowly decreases. It is very important to know its indicators. This allows suspecting the wrong arrangement of the fetal egg in time – when it is located outside the uterus. Ectopic pregnancy hCG levels differ from the normal level characteristic for this period. The sooner they are identified, the less is the risk to the health of a woman.
Briefly about Ectopic Pregnancy
Unfortunately, sometimes it happens that the egg after fertilization does not get to the uterus to gain a foothold in it, and is attached outside this organ. This happens mostly in the fallopian tubes.
Fallopian tubes cannot withstand the process of bearing a child, this is not their purpose. Thus, the growth of the fetus exerts strong pressure, which causes the risk of rupture of the fallopian tube, which causes very heavy bleeding. Such a situation threatens a woman with a fatal outcome. There is no probability of bearing a healthy baby, and especially childbirth. Thus, the ectopic pregnancy is interrupted and the fetus is extracted.
Is It Necessary to Determine Ectopic Pregnancy Hcg Levels?
Ectopic pregnancy is characterized by the same characteristics and symptoms as uterine one. In the early stages, it is not possible to notice an ectopic pregnancy with the help of ultrasound, but the earlier it is detected, the better.
One of the main signs that speaks about ectopic pregnancy is the level of hCG. The amount of this hormone during pregnancy multiplies very rapidly, almost every day. With ectopic pregnancy, the level of hCG in the blood is much lower than with a normal pregnancy.
Therefore, to be sure of the normal attachment of the egg to the wall of the uterus, a woman must pass a blood test for hCG, and repeatedly. The analysis should be done in the morning, on an empty stomach.
Features of Pathology
Timely detected reduced hCG level during ectopic pregnancy allow the doctor to orient in the current situation and make the only correct decision. After all, this state is a real tragedy for any woman for the following reasons.
- First, there is not the slightest chance of saving the child.
- Secondly, not only health, but also the life of a woman is in danger at this moment. Fallopian tube, where a fertilized egg is often fixed, can burst at any time and cause not only bleeding and severe pain, but can also lead to death.
- Thirdly, in the future, a normal conception becomes problematic.
- Fourth, this is a very insidious and dangerous condition because in the first months it proceeds in exactly the same way as a normal pregnancy. And here comes the help of an analysis of hCG level of ectopic pregnancy, which will show deviations from the norm and allow timely medical intervention.
Blood and urine tests show an inadequate level of hCG in ectopic pregnancy, as the cells of the chorion (envelope of the embryo) begin to produce this hormone in a small amount compared to the norm in this situation. Why is this happening?
Level of the Hormone
An increased level of hCG in the body of a woman gives a positive reaction to a pregnancy test, including an ectopic pregnancy. The result is a change in the color of the strips upon contact with the urine. Already at this stage, with a close examination of the test, you can suspect that something is wrong and address your doubts to the doctor. The chorionic hormone hCG in ectopic pregnancy behaves as follows:
- Its level rises, but is lower than in the normal state of pregnancy;
- Because of this, one of the stripes of the test is most often colored vaguely, not brightly;
- To confirm or refute suspicions, the doctor prescribes blood and urine tests. The results of hCG in ectopic pregnancy depend on the age of the fetus and are compared with the indicators of the special table;
- After this, when the suspicion of the ectopic pregnancy is confirmed, ultrasound is performed;
- In addition, the doctor can take a blood test for this hormone every two days to track the dynamics. In the normal state it will double, while the growth of hCG with ectopic pregnancy will be very small, will not have dynamics.
All these features will allow making timely diagnosis of pathology and taking appropriate measures to protect a woman from complications, eliminate the danger to her health and life. The earlier the surgery of removing the ectopic pregnancy is performed, the better.
Only tests can give the exact data, whether hCG shows an ectopic pregnancy. A pregnancy home test shows doubtful results. Thus, it is better not to rely on it and check your suspicions with the help of laboratory tests, which in such a situation the doctor can appoint.
Laboratory decoding of hCG in ectopic pregnancy according to the results of a blood test is considered the most accurate and reliable. It shows an increase in the level of this hormone 4 days after fertilization and even earlier. The level of hCG in the blood during normal pregnancy is more than 15 mIU / ml. With ectopic pregnancy this indicator can be slightly lowered.
The blood test for hCG is taken from the vein, usually in the morning. A woman is warned that she does not eat anything, that is, blood should be taken on an empty stomach. It is recommended that such a laboratory test be carried out no earlier than 4 days of menstruation delay. To clarify the results, the doctor usually repeats the analysis in 2 days.
Analysis of urine
Somewhat lower is the accuracy of the urine test for hCG in ectopic pregnancy. Before making the analysis a woman is not recommended to drink more than 2 liters of fluid. Otherwise the results may not be so reliable.
If, according to the results of previous HCG tests of urine and blood, the doctor suspected an ectopic pregnancy, he prescribes an ultrasound examination already in the early stages of pregnancy. In this situation, any delay is fraught with a serious deterioration in the condition of the woman (the fallopian tube can break at any moment). On ultrasound, an embryo in the uterine cavity is not detected, whereas in a tube a rounded formation is very clearly visualized.
In case of doubtful results, urine and blood tests should be performed regularly (every two days) in order to track the growth dynamics of the hormone. This is due to the fact that ectopic pregnancy Hcg levels grow much more slowly compared to a normal pregnancy. Tracking the dynamics, the doctor minimizes the risk of erroneous diagnosis. In addition, the level of chorionic gonadotropin can be checked by a special table.
The Level of hCG in Normal Pregnancy
With normal development of pregnancy, the level of hCG in the blood increases almost twice approximately every two days. Then there is a slight decline and a new period of growth in the amount of the hormone in the blood.
The parameters of hCG and the dynamics of its growth in a normally occurring pregnancy look as follows:
|Gestation Age (In Weeks)||HCG Level (mIU/ml)|
Ectopic Pregnancy Hcg Levels
In the case of ectopic pregnancy, the level of hCG hormone increases much more slowly. During the same period, when the level of hCG is doubled during normal pregnancy, with ectopic pregnancy it grows by only 10%.
Growth of hCG in ectopic pregnancy:
|Gestation Age (In Days)||HCG Level (mIU/ml)|
What Does Low HCG Level Mean?
A low level of hCG, apart from ectopic pregnancy, can be caused by the threat of miscarriage or placental insufficiency.
If with a repeated hCG test, its level does not increase, but falls down, it is a very disturbing symptom, which can mean a threat to the life of the baby.
If the HCG test is negative, it may mean that you are not pregnant.
What Does High HCG Level Mean?
A very high level of hCG in a woman can be caused by a multiple pregnancy – bearing twins, triplets, etc.
But at the same time, it can testify about a dangerous phenomenon – a molar preganncy that carries a deadly threat to the baby.