Everything you need to know about hCG levels during pregnancy: hCG chart and meaning

couple with hCG based positive pregnancy test pregnant beta-hCG

The production of the hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin, also known as beta-hCG or pregnancy hormone) begins early in pregnancy, around one week after fertilisation, even before the embryo implants in the uterus. Find out more about the significance of hCG and get an overview of average hCG levels during pregnancy in an hCG chart.

hCG – important player in early pregnancy

The main task of hCG is to make pregnancy possible in the first place and then to maintain it. The pregnancy hormone prepares the lining of the uterus and the mother’s immune system for the implantation of the embryo and stimulates the corpus luteum to produce progesterone and oestrogen. These hormones support the growth of the uterus and prevent the maturation of further eggs and menstruation. The precise choreography between hCG, progesterone and the ovaries is crucial for maintaining pregnancy in the early stages. Only if it functions smoothly is the female body optimally prepared for the development of the fertilised egg and implantation can succeed.

Measuring hCG levels

hCG is not only found in the uterus but also circulates in blood. The hCG level can therefore be measured in blood or urine. Assessment of the pregnancy hormone forms the basis of standard pregnancy tests. A blood test gives information about a pregnancy earlier than a urine test.

During the first few weeks of pregnancy, hCG levels in the blood rise steadily, doubling every two days. Many women feel the effects of these hormonal changes immediately, as the body responds to the rising levels with typical signs of pregnancy.

hCG causes morning sickness in many women. The progesterone produced as a consequence of high hCG as described above can also cause sleepless nights and tiredness.

The highest level of hCG is reached between about eight and ten weeks of pregnancy. By this time the placenta has developed and takes over the production of progesterone. At the same time, hCG levels slowly begin to decline .

This explains why, towards the end of the first trimester, many women find their symptoms improve and their energy return. Understanding this hormonal rollercoaster can help women cope better with the changes in their bodies during the first trimester.

hCG chart

A beta-hCG chart helps to monitor the progress of your pregnancy. Doctors compare the measured values with the average values for the corresponding week of pregnancy.

The values are guidelines for a single pregnancy and should not be compared with twin pregnancies. The overall interpretation can be quite complex, as the values can sometimes vary greatly. However, a steady increase up to eight or twelve weeks is a good sign and is often more important than the absolute value.


Weeks since your last period App reference value (mIU/ml)
3-4 9 – 130
4-5 75 – 2600
5-6 850 – 20800
6-7 4000 – 100200
7-12 11500 – 289000
12- 16 18300 – 137000
16 – 19 1400 – 53000
19 – 41 940 – 60000


Meaning of high/low levels

Higher than average hCG levels may indicate multiple pregnancies, certain uterine conditions or (fortunately only very rarely) cancer. If levels are lower than usual, there is a risk of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. It is important to be aware that laboratory reference values can vary significantly and medical confirmation should always be sought if there are any abnormalities.

How can you support your pregnancy?

If your hCG level is significantly elevated and the pregnancy test is positive, it is good to know that your baby is now developing rapidly. Of course, it needs the best possible conditions. Pay particular attention to a healthy lifestyle and diet. Alcohol, drugs and other harmful substances are taboo. Limit your consumption of coffee and tea (black and green). Hygiene plays an important role in protecting against infection, especially when preparing food or caring for your pets. Regular check-ups and an adequate supply of specially formulated prenatal vitamins will also help protect your baby’s health from the start.



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About the author

Dr. rer. nat. Birgit Wogatzky

For many years now, biologist and nutritionist Dr Birgit Wogatzky, has been focusing on the special needs of fertility patients. For the readers of this blog, she sums up interesting novel information and developments from current research projects regarding lifestyle and nutrition of fertility patients.