The HCG diet is becoming very popular. The HCG diet helps boost the metabolism and helps people lose weight quickly while keeping the weight off after a very strict diet involving the use of either HCG drops or injections. Though it is an extremely effective diet, HCG has other purposes for people, particularly for women. Did you know that HCG is not actually for weight loss but for pregnancy? In this section you will be knowing more about what is HCG?

HCG is the hormone that is found in pregnant women and can only be usually found during pregnancy and early by cells in the placenta. HCG is an abbreviation for Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin and is what is used to determine whether or not a woman is pregnant. The hormone was originally discovered in the 1920s and was given for various ailments such as depression, obesity, female infertility, and uterine bleeding. By the 1960s, it was also used for low testosterone and weight loss.

HCG is what forms the placenta and helps the woman’s body realize that there is a baby in the womb and to start building a little nest for it. During pregnancy, the HCG levels will change every week. Levels can vary between women though and low and high hcg levels do not necessarily indicate something is wrong with the baby. HCG levels can also determine whether there will be twins or even more babies born. HCG levels will return to normal after the birth of a baby but the hormone can also be found in people with certain types of cancer. While HCG mostly pertains to pregnancy, the HCG hormone or a homeopathic version can also be consumed through drops or injections to be used for rapid weight loss. 

HCG Levels by Week :

During pregnancy, HCG levels can be detected about eleven days after conception with a blood test of hcg pregnancy test and at twelve to fourteen days after conception by a urine test. It is HCG that gets the pregnancy started and will only continue helping for the next several weeks. It will help with the production of estrogen and progesterone which are two other important pregnancy hormones. (These hormones are used to help the uterus muscles relax, help the immune system tolerate what it considers foreign DNA, and stimulates adrenal growth in the baby).

HCG levels will double anywhere between every forty-eight to seventy-two hours in about eighty-five percent of all women. Over time, it will double about every ninety-six hours and will eventually reach its peak anywhere between weeks eight to eleven of the pregnancy. After that, the HCG hormones will level off for the rest of the pregnancy. After the birth of the baby, the hormones will slowly return to normal.

Despite the various HCG levels of every week, numbers that do not fall into the appropriate HCG week’s level do not necessarily mean that the baby is unhealthy. Ultrasounds are more accurate after about week five or six. A single HCG test is not enough though to make a diagnosis or to determine the actual due date of the baby because levels can vary from woman to woman.

When determining pregnancy, a qualitative HCG test is used to determine if HCG is in the blood. The quantitative HCG test is used to measure the amount of HCG that is in the blood.

During pregnancy, the HCG levels should change every week. Here is a hcg level chart that that can be used as a guide to a general idea of what levels should be at weekly.

Week HCG Level (measured in milli-international units per milliliter (mlU/ml)
3 weeks 5-50 mlU/ml
4 weeks 5-426 mlU/ml
5 weeks 18-7,340 mlU/ml
6 weeks 1,080-56,500 mlU/ml
7-8 weeks 650-229,000 mlU/ml
9-12 weeks 25,700-288,000 mlU/ml
13-16 weeks 13,300-254,000 mlU/ml
17-24 weeks 4,060-165,400 mlU/ml
25-40 weeks 3,640-117,000 mlU/ml

The amount of HCG in the blood can give some indication of the health of the baby. However, it is important to remember that these numbers are just guides and are not a diagnosis of anything. There are a lot of factors that can affect the numbers. Low levels of HCG do not necessarily mean anything bad. It is important that the numbers are rising though. Low numbers can possibly mean a miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy (egg attaches itself somewhere other than the uterus) or maybe even a miscalculation of due date. High levels also do not necessary mean that anything is wrong. It could mean that there are multiple babies, a molar pregnancy (abnormal tissue growth where there is a no baby), or another miscalculation of due date.

HCG levels often fluctuate between women and there are different ideas about what causes this. Some experts believe that the placenta eventually takes over making estrogen and progesterone and HCG is no longer needed to make hormones.

Medications can interfere with HCG levels if they contain the hormone. These medications are often used in fertility treatment.Doctors do not usually check HCG levels very often unless there is bleeding, cramping, or a history of miscarriage.

Normal HCG Levels 

Normal HCG levels in a non-pregnant woman are about five mlU/ml or less. If a pregnancy test is taken the first day of a missed period, the test will probably be negative due to the low levels of HCG in the blood. Low levels can be detected after several days. It does take about two weeks for the levels to be high enough to do an at-home pregnancy test. However, if the test is positive, it is probably right. Doctors usually use the HCG test in order to confirm the pregnancy and then after that, the tests will mostly be used for possible suspected issues.

HCG levels can also be found after used for fertility treatment. The hormone can take about five to fourteen days to disappear from the system. That means that a pregnancy test should not be taken until after fourteen days. If an HCG test is administered right after the treatment and turns up a positive pregnancy than a second test should be given several days later. If the HCG levels go up, that most likely means that the woman is pregnant. If the levels go down, it was probably a false positive. (Learn more interesting facts on hCG levels)

Though HCG tests that are positive are usually accurate, blood and protein in the urine may cause a false positive. Some drugs such as diuretics, promethazine (an antihistamine), anti-convulsion medications, anti-Parkinson drugs, hypnotics, and tranquilizers can also affect normal HCG levels. Also, some people can produce an antibody or fragments of HCG molecule that mess with normal HCG levels.

After the baby is born, HCG levels will return to normal in about four to six weeks.

During birth HCG passes partially through the placenta barrier. Babies that are less than three months old have less than fifty mlU/ml. After three months to adulthood, females have less than one and males have less than one and a fourth mlU/ml. After the age of eighteen, males and females both have less HCG than as a baby/child/teenager. However, postmenopausal women have a little more (less than seven mlU/ml though) 

Types of HCG 

HCG actually comes in several different molecules: Intact, Nicked HCG, Free Alpha Subunit of HCG, free Beta Subunit of HCG, Nicked Free Beta Subunit of HCG, Beta Core Fragment of HCG, and Hyperglycosylated HCG. Intact HCG is basically what makes up the placenta. This is also the type that is found in the blood. Nicked HCG is also found in the blood at lower levels. Free Alpha Subunit of HCG basically has no biological activity. It is useless. Free Beta Subunit of HCG is found minutely in the blood but can also make up some types of cancer. Beta Core Fragment of HCG can only be found in the urine of pregnant women. Finally, Hyperglycosylated HCG has carbohydrate molecules attached to it. This molecule is the predominate form of HCG produced at the beginning but becomes almost nonexistent towards the end of the first trimester.

HCG Testing 

HCG testing levels can reveal multiple different items that pregnant women like to know before the baby is born. HCG levels not only show whether a mother is pregnant but also whether there is going to be one or more babies. The different levels can reveal when the baby is going to be born or whether the baby will have any abnormalities such as Down Syndrome. HCG can also help with determining the gender of the baby before birth. Women carrying females usually have higher HCG levels than when carrying males. That means that when women are first taking the pregnancy test, they might not be able to get results as quickly if they are having a male verses if they are carrying a female. It is important to remember that HCG levels vary between women and should not be taken as law. Ultrasounds are more accurate than HCG levels at about five or six weeks.

There are various names to the HCG tests. Only the HCG quantitative test will be listed and discussed as the other tests are difficult to read. The HCG quantitative test is often used to confirm an actual pregnancy, determine the age of the fetus to determine the possible date of birth, diagnose an abnormal pregnancy like ectopic pregnancy (see above), diagnose a miscarriage, or screen for Down Syndrome. This test can also be used before X-rays or certain other medical tests just to make certain that the woman is not pregnant and a possible baby will not be harmed in any way. The quantitative test is completed by drawing blood. Afterwards, in very rare cases, a person could experience excessive bleeding, lightheadedness, fainting, infection, or a hematoma (blood pools up under the skin). 

HCG Levels with Twins

When having twins (or more than that), HCG levels are going to be higher than a woman that is only having one baby. Women that are over the age of thirty-five are more likely to have twins because their body has a higher amount of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). This is what causes women to drop more than one egg and of course leads to twins. Each placenta makes its own HCG. Because of that, a pregnancy test will be positive a little sooner with more babies. However, with the higher levels of HCG, morning sickness can be earlier or worse than other women. HCG stimulates an area of the brain that is sensitive to smells and tastes and that is what causes morning sickness. Once the HCG levels have reached their maximum after about eleven weeks, the nausea will begin to disappear. HCG is also probably the reason for frequent urination at the beginning of the pregnancy.

HCG Levels After Birth or Miscarriage 

After a miscarriage, HCG levels will return to normal within a few days if the pregnancy just started. For later pregnancies though, it can take several weeks for the HCG hormone to return to normal levels. The higher the level, the longer it will take to return. Levels should be back to normal in about four to six weeks though. It is also very important that after a miscarriage that the placenta be completely removed otherwise the HCG levels in the blood can be higher than normal. In many miscarriage, low levels of HCG can be an indicator that the pregnancy will lead to a miscarriage, especially if the levels drop suddenly. 

HCG Levels in Cancer 

Some cancer tumors that originate from egg or sperm can raise HCG levels in both men and non-pregnant women. Choriocarcinoma, which is cancer of the uterus, may produce the chemical as well as cancer of men’s testicles. Other cancers such as stomach, liver, pancreas, lung, and the large intestine can also raise HCG levels.

Like mentioned above, a molar pregnancy forms a placenta but no baby. This is when a tumor develops of benign and cancerous cells in the uterus of a woman during the pregnancy. Instead of a placenta forming, a tumor develops. This can happen without fetal development or partial fetal development. 

HCG Levels for Dieting 

HCG can also be used to help people lose weight. The hormone in pregnant women can help the baby get needed nutrients even if the mother is not eating enough to help the baby stay nourished. When HCG is injected or taken as oral drops for dieting, the metabolism is increased and will use recently eaten calories as well as attack fat storages. The HCG diet is very, very strict. It has four phases that are combined with certain foods, calorie counting, and the use of either HCG drops that can be obtained from some pharmacies or stores or from manufacturer websites or injections that can be found at HCG clinics or online. The diet begins with a person consuming foods high in fat in order to build up fat storages. Then, the person begins a low calorie diet and only eats food from a special diet guide. After that, the person slowly begins to eat more calories but only from food that is healthy in order to stabilize and finally retain their new weight by keeping the metabolism at its newly obtained faster pace. People on the HCG diet can lose about one pound a day. The weight will stay off as long as the person sticks to similar foods that were eaten during the diet. The HCG that is administered in this diet is very low though. One hundred twenty-five mlU/ml is normal for weight loss use. Some of the drops do not even contain actually HCG but a homeopathic natural form of HCG since some people would rather not be consuming the actual hormone.

In review, HCG is a hormone found in pregnant women. HCG is one of the most important hormones during pregnancy. It is what really gets the pregnancy started. HCG produces the placenta and also allows the baby to receive its nutrients from fat reserves instead of from what the mother is eating (or not eating). It tells a woman’s body that there is a baby that needs a little nest. HCG levels determine whether a woman is actually pregnant. At the beginning of the pregnancy, the HCG levels will continue to rise every week and eventually reach a peak at a certain point in the pregnancy. There are many different forms of HCG that serve different purposes. HCG levels can vary in pregnant women but should not be considered a law for all healthy babies. Levels can also be different if a woman is having more than one baby. After the baby, HCG levels will eventually return to normal. However, HCG can even be found in non-pregnant women and men when certain cancers are present. HCG levels can be determined with a blood test. Even though HCG mostly applies to pregnant women, it can also be used to boost the metabolism in people looking to lose weight. For the most part though, HCG is a very, very important hormone that helps primarily with the health of the baby during a woman’s pregnancy. Search online for hcg levels calculator for better results.

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