What is hCG?

HCG_structure

There is more to this little-known hormone than what meets the eye! Find out more about hCG.

HCG or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin is known primarily as the hormone that shows up in blood or urine during pregnancy. What else do we know about it?

The presence of a hormone called hCG is the earliest “official” sign that you are indeed pregnant! Here are answers to your most frequent questions about hCG:

When does hCG appear? 

hCG can show up in your urine or blood as early as 6-8 days after conception or about 20 days after your last period.

Does the level of hCG change? 

The level of hCG continues to rise until about 60-70 days after you conceive. In fact, prior to 8 week of gestation, the amount of hCG should double in approximately every two days.

Where does hCG come from? hCG is secreted by the corpus luteum which nourishes the baby before the placenta is formed.

What happens if my level of hCG is lower than normal? 

A blood test might reveal that the levels of hCG in your blood are low. It is possible that you are either very early in your pregnancy of your may be experiencing a miscarriage. Some mothers will need to take a second home pregnancy test to confirm their pregnancy or additional blood tests in their provider’s office.

Some experts believe that hCG may be the culprit behind early pregnancy nausea. If you suffer from nausea or vomiting during pregnancy, be sure to read the article Coping with Morning Sickness to help you get through these difficult weeks.

If you are pregnant, find out more about prenatal testing and prenatal nutrition including taking vitamins.