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Beta HCG: What is it and how much should it be worth?

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Beta HCG: What is it and how much should it be worth?

After conception (when the sperm fertilizes the egg), the developing placenta begins to produce and release HCG.

After conception (when the sperm fertilizes the egg), the developing placenta begins to produce and release HCG. Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) is a chemical typically found in early embryos and formed by tissue that will eventually become part of the placenta. Measuring hCG levels can be helpful in determining pregnancy and can also provide useful information following an aborted pregnancy. There is also a benefit in measuring HCG not only for pregnancy but also for a variety of cancers, including choriocarcinoma and extrauterine malignancies.

What is Beta HCG?

Pregnancy test is based on detecting HCG in urine or blood. When HCG results are interpreted as positive, it indicates the presence of pregnancy, and when interpreted as negative, it indicates the absence of pregnancy. In contrast, beta HCG reveals not only whether the hormone is in the blood, but also exactly in what amount.

Beta-HCG testing can be done to confirm pregnancy at an early prenatal doctor visit.

At the same time, the result is diagnosed by scanning the urine for HCG in pregnancy tests obtained from pharmacies. However, beta HCG is not always performed or necessary in routine pregnancies. In early pregnancy, the rate at which HCG levels increase over time is more decisive than the actual amount of the hormone in the blood. Slowly rising HCG levels may indicate a high risk of miscarriage. For people undergoing fertility treatment, the doctor may order a beta-HCG test just before or at the time of menstruation to see if the treatment is successful.

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How to Perform Beta HCG Test?

Serum testing and urine testing for HCG are available. Serum testing is much more sensitive and specific than urine testing. However, urine testing has a quick turnaround time that is comfortable for patients. The quantitative test measures the level of the HCG hormone in a blood sample. A vein is found and the skin around the vein is cleaned with alcohol. Pressure is applied to cotton or gauze and secured with a bandage. A person may feel a brief sting or pinching sensation as the needle is inserted during blood sample collection, or they may not feel anything at all. No special preparation is required for the HCG blood test.

To obtain a urine sample, urine is collected in a special (sterile) glass. Controls are carried out using this urine. In most cases, a urine sample taken when you first urinate in the morning is best.

This is when the urine is most concentrated and has enough HCG to be detected. Home pregnancy tests, on the other hand, require dipping the test strip into a urine sample or passing it through the urine stream while urinating.

What is Beta HCG High?

Beta-HCG levels are low in early pregnancy and rise throughout the first trimester (first trimester) and the second trimester (second trimester). If a woman has high HCG levels, this may indicate that she is pregnant with twins or triplets, but only a scan can confirm this. Sometimes, higher than average HCG levels indicate a higher likelihood of Down syndrome. A high HCG level can also mean many other things and may need to be checked again in 48-72 hours to assess changes in the level. A high level may indicate:

  • Miscalculation of pregnancy
  • multiple pregnancies
  • cyst in the uterus
  • ovarian cancer
  • preeclampsia

What is Low Beta HCG?

A low HCG level can mean many things and should be checked again in 48-72 hours to see how the level has changed. It is normal for the tests performed in the first month of pregnancy to be low. Low HCG levels may also be considered normal in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. However, the miscarriage seen in the 2nd and 3rd months of the first trimester may be due to some reasons. A low level may indicate:

  • Incorrect calculation of pregnancy date
  • possible miscarriage
  • fetal death
  • incomplete miscarriage
  • false negativity
  • Ectopic pregnancy
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Factors Affecting Beta HCG Level

A person who receives a positive test result is most likely pregnant. However, there are some conditions that can cause a false positive, such as certain types of cancer and early miscarriage. Some antibodies and some medications can also affect test results. If there is a false-positive test result, the test indicates that the woman is pregnant when she is not actually pregnant. It is also possible to get a false positive result if the body produces certain types of antibodies that have parts of the HCG molecule or if there are errors in the laboratory. If there is any doubt about the results, a different testing method may be used to confirm.

If an HCG test is negative, this usually means pregnancy is not possible. However, if the test is done too early in the pregnancy, before her body has had time to produce enough HCG, a false negative result may occur. If there is a false negative test result, the person is actually pregnant even though the test shows that a woman is not pregnant. Because HCG levels change so quickly in early pregnancy, the HCG blood test may be repeated in 48 to 72 hours to observe how the hormone level is changing.

Beta HCG Values ​​by Week of Pregnancy

Low levels of HCG can be detected in the blood approximately 8 to 11 days after conception. HCG levels are highest towards the end of the first trimester, then gradually decline throughout the remainder of the pregnancy. HCG levels according to gestational week are as follows (1):

  • 3 weeks: 6-70 IU/L
  • 4 weeks: 10 – 750 IU/L
  • 5 weeks: 200 – 7,100 IU/L
  • 6 weeks: 160 – 32,000 IU/L
  • 7 weeks: 3,700 – 160,000 IU/L
  • 8 weeks: 32,000 – 150,000 IU/L
  • 9 weeks: 64,000 – 150,000 IU/L
  • 10 weeks: 47,000 – 190,000 IU/L
  • 12 weeks: 28,000 – 210,000 IU/L
  • 14 weeks: 14,000 – 63,000 IU/L
  • 15 weeks: 12,000 – 71,000 IU/L
  • 16 weeks: 9,000 – 56,000 IU/L
  • 16 – 29 weeks (second trimester): 1,400 – 53,000 IU/L
  • 29 – 41 weeks (third trimester): 940 – 60,000 IU/L
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Beta HCG Values ​​in Ectopic Pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy is an abnormal pregnancy in which the embryo attaches to the outside of the uterus, usually inside the fallopian tube, which is the tube that carries the egg from the ovary to the uterus. Symptoms may include abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding. Ectopic pregnancy can be a very serious and even life-threatening condition. HCG levels remain low during an ectopic pregnancy. At the same time, if a person’s HCG level is slowly rising or falling, this suggests that the pregnancy may be an ectopic pregnancy. HCG levels, which double in 48 hours in normal cases, increase by 66% or less in ectopic pregnancy (2).

Beta HCG Test in IVF

In in vitro fertilization treatment, 10-14 days after the egg is given to the person may be considered sufficient for an HCG test. HCG measured with a blood test gives the most accurate results in this process. At the same time, if HCG levels rise faster than they should during this period, it can be considered that a multiple pregnancy has occurred.

Performing various blood tests on the mother during pregnancy can be decisive for the health of the baby and the mother. In particular, the HCG test should not be considered only for pregnancy detection; it should not be forgotten that it may need to be performed at regular intervals to detect other conditions. If you have pregnancy symptoms and want to be sure, you can contact the nearest health institution and have the necessary tests done.

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