When Is HCG Out Of Your System After A Miscarriage?
The loss of a baby can bring about a range of emotions, and for some women, the hormonal changes can be challenging, too. After all, your body was preparing for pregnancy and now it has to do the opposite. Many people who try to conceive again following a miscarriage may be concerned about false positive pregnancy test results because of the amount of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) leftover from their lost pregnancy. So, when is hCG out of your system after a miscarriage?
When is hCG out of your system after a miscarriage?
First things first: human chorionic gonadotropin, or beta hCG, is a protein-based hormone that is found in high levels during early pregnancy. “[The] hormone [is] produced by an embryo as it implants and establishes itself as a pregnancy,” Dr. Lucky Sekhon, New York City-based fertility specialist and board-certified OB-GYN, tells Romper in an email. Pregnancy tests detect hCG in the urine, though it’s also found in blood.
The pregnancy hormone decreases rapidly in the first several days after the products of conception pass (miscarriage), but the decrease to zero can take weeks, says Dr. Kathryn Wright, OB-GYN with Facey Medical Group.
While hCG doubles about every two days in a typical growing pregnancy, there is no perfect way to calculate how fast it will go back down. “It varies from person to person,” explains Wright. It will depend on how far along you were when you miscarried, as well as how quickly your hCG levels were rising.
“The length of time required for hCG to completely leave the body is therefore a function of what the starting level was at time of miscarriage. The farther into the first trimester, the higher the initial starting hCG level and the longer it will take for that amount of hCG to be cleared from the system,” Sekhon tells Romper.
Depending on how your pregnancy ended, whether by spontaneous miscarriage or a D & C procedure, the levels and rate of decrease of the hCG left in your system can differ. “Studies have shown women who have a procedure to remove an abnormal pregnancy versus those that use medical means (pills to induce cramping) or wait to pass the abnormal pregnancy on their own will have a faster time to recovery/negative HCG level,” Sekhon says.
When to contact your doctor
If you are trying to conceive again, Wright suggests getting a green light from your doctor first. “I would not suggest taking a home pregnancy test until your doctor has given you the clear to try again,” she says. "This reduces the confusion of home pregnancy testing after a miscarriage.”
If you feel like it’s taking a long time for your hCG levels to return to zero (this can be confirmed through a blood test), it’s possible that you’ve, “'retained products of conception' which is another way of describing a failed pregnancy/miscarriage/abortion where pregnancy tissue remains inside the uterus and continues to excrete hCG,” Sekhon tells Romper. “If a patient has retained pregnancy tissue, this needs to be treated either with medication to induce cramping and evacuation of the uterus or a procedure where the uterus is emptied using gentle suction or scraping of the lining of the uterine cavity.” She adds that there are other, more rare reasons for consistently elevated levels of hCG including gestational trophoblastic disease.
The last thing you need after suffering a loss is anxiety and stress due to confusing pregnancy tests. When in doubt, the best thing to do is reach out to your health care provider, who should be able to provide clarity with testing and further guidance.
Dr. Lucky Sekhon, New York City-based OB-GYN and fertility specialist
Dr. Kathryn Wright, OB-GYN with Facey Medical Group
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