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What is hCG and Why Are We Talking About It?

“I just want to know whether or not I’m pregnant; why do I keep reading about hCG?”

If your primary concern is obtaining an accurate pregnancy test result, we have good news for you. Avenue Women’s Center is a limited women’s medical clinic, and we provide free, lab-quality pregnancy tests. In fact, our tests are rated 99.5% accurate as early as 10 days after the possible date of conception. If you are worried about a possible pregnancy, please contact us today. We would be happy to serve you in one of our locations: Elmhurst, Glen Ellyn / Lombard, Naperville, or Wood Dale, Illinois.

If you are still curious to read more about hCG, we are happy to provide the following information:

hCG is an abbreviation for the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin. Often called the pregnancy hormone, it is produced by cells of the placenta, the support organ that forms at the site of embryo implantation in the uterus. Many of the uses of this hormone by the mother’s body during pregnancy remain a matter of speculation. It has been suggested that it may render the mother immunotolerant, keeping the embryo from being recognized as a foreign body and being rejected.

The most common clinical use of the hormone is to determine the existence of pregnancy and to monitor its progress. hCG can be found both in the woman’s blood and in her urine during pregnancy. The urine test, being non-invasive, is more commonly used to check for pregnancy and the hormone can commonly be detected 12 to 14 days after conception. It can be detected in the blood a few days earlier. If the test for the hormone is positive, it normally indicates a pregnancy. Thereafter, its level in the body increases rapidly in the first 12 weeks and then decreases slowly to term. With a continued pregnancy, after delivery, hCG levels will usually return to normal within a few weeks.

hCG levels vary widely among individuals and cannot be used as an accurate indicator of the stage of pregnancy at the time. They are sometimes used as an indicator of problems in the pregnancy, if they are abnormally high or low. In these cases it is always possible that the dating of the pregnancy was in error. However, a low level could possibly mean a pending miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy; that is, a pregnancy in which the embryo has implanted outside the uterus, typically in a fallopian tube. Abnormally high hCG levels can sometimes indicate a multiple pregnancy or a molar pregnancy; that is, an abnormal growth that will either be spontaneously expelled or will have to be surgically removed. In these cases, clinicians will typically use other tests to confirm the nature of any problem.

At Avenue Women’s Center, our specialty is helping women who are facing unplanned pregnancies. If you are worried about a possible pregnancy, we hope to be able to help you. Same-day appointments are often available. We are typically able to serve walk-ins, but do suggest calling or texting first for fastest service.

Beyond being here to provide free, accurate pregnancy tests, we want you to know that we are here for YOU. We structure our schedule so that each client has sufficient time to ask all of her questions. Each of our pregnancy consultants has joined our staff because we truly care for our clients. Facing an unplanned pregnancy is difficult enough. We want you to feel supported and encouraged as you obtain your test result, process your options, and set the direction that is best for your pregnancy situation.

Are you in Chicagoland, facing an unplanned pregnancy? Please reach out by call, text, email, or chat. It would be our honor to assist you.


Resources:

  • American Pregnancy Association. (2017, August). Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG): The Pregnancy Hormone. Retrieved from: http://americanpregnancy.org/while-pregnant/hcg-levels/
  • National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). (2013, March). Human chorionic gonadotropin as a central regulator of pregnancy immune tolerance. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23396945

Reviewed by Patricia Kuenzi, APN-CNP, MSN, ANP, PNP.

The information provided here is general in nature.  It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center.  If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention.  Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.

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