Suffering a miscarriage is one of the worst things a woman can face. 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 women who try to conceive again following a miscarriage may be concerned about false positive test results because of the amount of hCG leftover from their previous pregnancy. So when is hCG out of your system after a miscarriage?
Romper reached out to Dr. Kathryn Wright, OB-GYN with Facey Medical Group. She says the pregnancy hormone — human chorionic gonadotropin, or beta hCG — decreases rapidly in the first several days after the products of conception pass (miscarriage), but the decrease to zero can take weeks.
She says while the beta hCG double about every two days in a normal growing pregnancy, there is no way to calculate how fast it will go back down. “It varies from person to person,” explains Wright, “so levels can return to zero in as little as seven days or as many as 60.”
The hormone hCG, explained the American Pregnancy Association (APA), is produced by the cells that are formed in your placenta after your egg is fertilized and attaches to the wall of your uterus. Your hCG levels increase, until weeks eight to 11 of pregnancy, and then decline and taper off until the baby is born. But if you have suffered a pregnancy loss, the APA noted, your hCG levels will decrease and return to their pre-pregnancy levels about four to six weeks after the miscarriage.
The APA further explained that depending on how your miscarriage occurred, whether by spontaneous miscarriage, an abortion, natural delivery, or a D & C procedure, the levels and rate of decrease of the hCG left in your system can differ.
How quickly the hCG gets out of your system may also depend on how far along you were in your pregnancy. According to VeryWell, women who have very early miscarriages may see their hCG return to zero sooner than a woman who miscarries later on in pregnancy. The article also suggested waiting a few months before trying again, when your periods are back to a normal cycle.
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.” The APA noted that most doctors will test your hCG levels after miscarriage to make sure they return to near zero.
Along with testing your hCG levels, the Mayo Clinic noted that if you have had more than one pregnancy loss, your healthcare provider may suggest you have other blood tests and ultrasounds to rule out any health issues like chromosomal abnormalities, problems with hormones or your immune system, or uterine fibroids or obstructions in your fallopian tubes. These tests, the article mentioned, can identify any underlying causes of your miscarriage so that it can be addressed and taken care of before you try getting pregnant again.
If you have had a miscarriage, and are trying to get pregnant, but are confused about any left over hCG in your system, definitely talk to your doctor about getting blood tests to determine when your levels reach zero. The last thing you need after suffering a loss is anxiety and stress due to confusing pregnancy tests. With time and some patience, you'll hopefully see a positive test — with soaring hCG levels.