Being pregnant means your body takes on many changes. One of the most important perspectives of any healthy successful pregnancy is understanding human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This hormone is an essential part of every pregnancy, and it’s vital that prospective moms understand its effect on their bodies.
So, what is hCG exactly? HCG is a hormone produced in the placenta during pregnancy; it’s the very same one picked up in home pregnancy tests. It helps prepare the body to nourish the growing baby and stimulates the release of progesterone, which keeps the endometrium from deteriorating. It also helps to prevent the ovary from releasing other eggs as well as maintains the implantation of the fertilized egg the uterus.
As your pregnancy progresses, your hCG levels will increase significantly. For example, if you take a home pregnancy test right after you miss your period, your hCG levels should be around 25 mIU/ml. By week 8, they should reach 10,000-20,000 mIU/ml, and by week 16, between 20,000-100,000 mIU/ml.
Knowing your hCG levels can also be helpful when tracking the progress of your pregnancy. If your hCG levels aren’t rising enough, it could mean that there’s a problem with the pregnancy. On the other hand, if the hCG levels are too high, it’s possible you’re carrying multiples. This is why your doctor will require you to take hCG tests throughout your pregnancy for assurance that everything is progressing as it should.
In any case, the best way to ensure a successful pregnancy is by taking prenatal vitamins and following the advice given by your doctor. Regular visits to the doctor and ultrasounds will also keep you up to date on your baby’s health and reassure that everything is going according to plan.