After trying to conceive for several months, I'm finally pregnant. But I'm worried about my hCG levels. I know that they're supposed to double every to to three days, but mine don't seem to be reaching that amount. Should I be concerned?
You've done your homework! It's true that in early pregnancy, the hCG levels, or human chorionic gonadotropin (a pregnancy hormone), "just about" double every 48 hours. While that's considered the standard, I often see normal pregnancies in women where that arithmetic is a little off, so it's not a hard-and-fast rule. But if it IS doubling, this counts as good reassurance. If your hCG levels aren't doubling, but it's close, it's probably fine. If it's not even close, your health care provider will probably recommend an ultrasound to make sure everything is okay—and rule out concerns like miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
Just to give you some examples, if an hCG were 3200 on Tuesday, but 5800 on Thursday, that wouldn't necessarily be worrisome. But if it went from 3200 to 3400, that would probably warrant an ultrasound. And if it the level went down, that's definitely indicates a concern.