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hCG Doubling Time: Understanding hCG Levels in Pregnancy

The primary function of a pregnancy test is to measure the Human Chorionic Gonadotropin hormone (hCG levels).

What does hCG do? Why is it essential for the baby’s development? What are hCG levels? And what is the meaning of hCG doubling time for your pregnancy?

These are common questions to ask during the early stages of pregnancy, particularly for first-time parents. Continue reading to learn everything you need about hCG, its role in pregnancy, and how fast you can expect it to rise following conception.


At what level does hCG stop doubling?

The Role of hCG Levels in Pregnancy

The Human Chorionic Gonadotropin hormone is produced throughout pregnancy and is crucial in the first trimester.

It is produced by the syncytiotrophoblastic cells of a growing placenta. The primary role of hCG is to assist the corpus luteum in increasing progesterone production, which is essential for early embryo development.

More specifically, progesterone production helps support the growth of the uterine lining while preventing contractions that hinder this development. These critical processes are necessary during early pregnancy and impossible without hCG production.

One of the primary ways of knowing whether you are pregnant is by testing hCG in urine or blood. If you are pregnant, doctors will monitor your hCG levels to determine your foetus’s health.

Commonly Asked Questions About hCG Doubling.

Read on to discover some of the most frequently asked questions about hCG levels and hCG doubling in pregnancy.

What is hCG doubling?

After the successful implantation of an egg into the uterus, the developing placenta starts releasing hCG. As a result, hCG in healthy pregnancies doubles every 48 to 72 hours.

How fast does hCG rise?

hCG levels rise rapidly once you’re pregnant. Typically, doubling of hCG occurs every two days during the first four weeks of pregnancy.

How often do hCG levels double?

hCG levels double after every few days for the first four to six weeks after becoming pregnant. After that, it doubles after three to four days until the sixth week. Then, around week ten, it peaks again before levelling off and remains constant for the rest of the pregnancy.

What do unusually high hCG levels mean?

Suppose your hCG levels are doubling faster than average or are exceptionally high. It could potentially be an indication of a molar pregnancy, multiple pregnancies, or Down syndrome. Alternatively, you may have miscalculated on your date of conception and be further along in your pregnancy than you initially thought.

If that is the case, arrange an appointment with your doctor to evaluate the health of your pregnancy. They will give you appropriate suggestions and the necessary steps for your situation.

You Just Got a Positive Pregnancy Test - Now what?
Can I be pregnant and have low hCG levels?

What if hCG Levels Don’t Double in 48 Hours?

Some people become anxious if they track hCG levels and realise they don’t double within 48 hours. If you realise that your hCG levels are low (not doubling at the recommended pace), it could be a sign of a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy. Alternatively, it may mean that you may have miscalculated your conception date and your pregnancy is further along than you initially thought.

Again, the right thing to do if you find yourself in this situation is to consult your doctor. They will evaluate your symptoms and run further tests to ease your concerns.

How Often Should I Check My hCG Levels?

The pregnancy risk level, medical history, and individual situation determine how often one checks their hCG levels.

For most pregnancies, your doctor doesn’t need to check your hCG levels regularly. However, if you have concerning symptoms such as pain or bleeding, your doctor may need to double-check the levels to ensure they are normal for the stage you’re at in your pregnancy.

Also, your doctor may have to monitor your hCG frequently and perform a regular ultrasound if you have a history of miscarriage.

What are Normal hCG Levels in Pregnancy?

It is essential to know that hCG levels change depending on the stage of pregnancy a person is in. Even though everyone’s pregnancy is different, here is a guideline of how hCG levels should be before, during, and after pregnancy.

hCG levels before pregnancy

hCG hormone is commonly associated with pregnancy but is also detectable in the colon, liver, and pituitary gland in small concentrations before you conceive.

Average hCG levels:

  • Less than ten mIU in non-pregnant women
  • 10 to 25 mIU for a ‘borderline’ pregnancy result
  • More than 25 mIU for a positive result

hCG levels during pregnancy

A pregnant woman’s hCG levels are significantly higher than an average person’s. The following are ranges where hCG typically lies throughout pregnancy.

  • Week 3: 5-50 mIU/ml
  • Week 4: 5-426 mIU/ml
  • Week 5: 18-7,340 mIU/ml
  • Week 6: 1,080-56,500 mIU/ml
  • Weeks 7-8: 7,650-229,000 mIU/ml
  • Weeks 9-12: 25,700-288,000 mIU/ml
  • Weeks 13-16: 13,300-254,000 mIU/ml
  • Weeks 17-24: 4,060-165,400 mIU/ml
  • Weeks 25-40: 3,640-117,000 mIU/ml

hCG levels after pregnancy

After a miscarriage, pregnancy termination, or delivery, the human chorionic gonadotropin hCG reduces with a half-life of 24 to 36 hours until the normal pre-pregnancy levels are met.

Can home pregnancy test detect low hCG levels?
Can home pregnancy tests detect low hCG?

hCG Levels Testing

The right time to test for hCG and potential pregnancy is 11 days after conception. At this early stage, you will likely need to visit the doctor and have your blood sampled to ascertain the result. hCG levels can be detected using a home pregnancy test if you take the test 7 to 14 days after your estimated date of conception.

There are two types of tests that you can take for hCG testing: a quantitative test or a qualitative test.


A qualitative test is designed to test hCG’s presence in your body. You can take a home urine pregnancy test or visit your doctor’s office to provide a blood sample.

Qualitative tests detect if your levels are above the recommended threshold, usually over 10-20 mIU/ml. If the levels are above this threshold, you will receive a ‘positive’ result; if not, you will get a ‘negative’ result.

A qualitative test won’t provide a specific numerical value of your hCG levels but is a reliable way of determining whether you are pregnant. Therefore, you must take a quantitative test to monitor your hCG levels closely.


A quantitative hCG test, called beta hCG, measures hCG in your blood. Unlike qualitative tests, quantitative tests can provide numerical results to monitor and track the hCG levels in your blood over time.

This method is mostly used by women who have previously experienced miscarriages or those considered high-risk. Doctors regularly monitor hCG to ensure a healthy pregnancy and offer further treatment when necessary.

The best way to know if your pregnancy is progressing normally is by regularly checking hCG until about 6 or 7 weeks after your last period. After five to six weeks, an ultrasound is the best tool to get information on the progress of your pregnancy. Slow-rising hCG could be a symptom of ectopic pregnancy or a sign of a miscarriage, but this is not always true. Your human chorionic gonadotropin hormone levels alone are not enough to provide such a diagnosis. Your doctor will consider any other signs and symptoms you’re experiencing, such as backache, abdominal cramping, and vaginal bleeding, to evaluate the viability and run additional tests to provide accurate information and diagnosis.

Trying to conceive is stressful, and you’ll likely want as much information as possible to make informed decisions about your health. With that in mind, access to affordable pregnancy and ovulation tests is imperative.

Fertility2Family makes it easy to get your hands on all the fertility products you need with our website’s comprehensive range. Browse the full range today, and contact our team if you have any questions.


Fertility2Family only uses trusted & peer-reviewed sources to ensure our articles’ information is accurate and reliable.

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Healthdirect Australia (2022) About the placenta, – role and complications | Pregnancy Birth and Baby. Available at: (Accessed: 14 October 2023).

Healthengine (2019) Beta HCG – blood pregnancy tests explained – healthengine, HealthEngine Blog. Available at: (Accessed: 14 October 2023).

Marygrace Taylor, C.W. (2022) HCG levels during pregnancy: What is normal?, What to Expect. Available at: (Accessed: 14 October 2023).

Miscarriage Australia (2023) Navigating miscarriage together, Miscarriage Australia. Available at: (Accessed: 14 October 2023).

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Evan Kurzyp

Evan is the founder of Fertility2Family and is passionate about fertility education & providing affordable products to help people in their fertility journey. Evan is a qualified Registered Nurse and has expertise in guiding & managing patients through their fertility journeys.

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