Beta HCG Levels
While researching the early stages of pregnancy, you probably have come across the term "beta HCG." Beta HCG is exactly the same thing as "HCG"-the beta doesn't add anything to the term, it's just the long name for the same thing, which actually stands for beta human chorionic gonadotropin. Beta HCG levels are markers which can help your physician to determine whether your pregnancy is progressing normally. They are markers only, however, and there are numerous explanations for why beta HCG may measure high or low. You can only confirm the existence of a problem with further tests. It's natural for a newly pregnant woman to worry about the state of her pregnancy, but you must resist the urge to panic at the slightest thing. Beta HCG levels provide guidance, but do not themselves indicate that there is a problem-in most cases.
If you look up healthy beta HCG levels, you'll notice right away that even in the beginning, there is a wide range, and that the range of normal levels only continues to widen as pregnancy progresses. You can be at either extreme of that range and still be experiencing a completely normal pregnancy. You don't necessarily need to be in the median. On occasion, high beta HCG levels may hint toward the presence of twins or multiples, but only an ultrasound can confirm that, and only after a certain level of development. Rarely, high beta HCG levels may also indicate a dangerous condition called a molar pregnancy.
Low HCG levels can indicate either a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy, both of which are fatal to the fetus. But they can also indicate that you simply miscalculated the date of conception. High beta HCG levels can point toward the same thing. And on occasion, there are variances for no other reason than that these levels naturally vary. Again, there is a wide range of normal values.
What's the most important thing to know about beta HCG levels? The rate of increase through the early part of your pregnancy should be roughly consistent. The values should double every 2 to 3 days. Usually the beta HCG doubles during the first month and then doubles every 3 or 4 days after that until you reach 9-12 weeks pregnant. This is the peak time, after which your levels will start falling again, as they are expected to. Levels which don't rise as expected during the first 8-11 weeks are more likely to indicate a problematic pregnancy than the levels themselves.
It's tough when you're a pregnant mother not to worry about every little thing which seems like it might be wrong, but every mother has a unique body, and every pregnancy is unique as well. You can see a lot of variation in HCG levels and other elements of pregnancy which don't necessarily have any real meaning. If your doctor is concerned about your HCG levels, then you'll have more tests to figure out if a problem may exist. Otherwise, try not to worry about it.