hCG Levels After a Miscarriage or a Medical Abortion

By (biologist specialized in clinical & biomedical laboratory) and BA, MA (fertility counselor).
Last Update: 03/30/2016

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) is a hormone linked to pregnancy and it is responsible for ensuring that the corpus luteum—i.e. what is left in the ovary after ovulation—keeps on producing progesterone once conception has been achieved.

hCG originates in the syncytiotrophoblast, that is, the outermost layer of the embryo.

The different sections of this article have been assembled into the following table of contents.

Normal beta-hCG levels

The chorion, one of the outer membranes that cover the human embryo and assists in placental formation, starts producing hCG after the embryo implants in the uterus, which usually occurs within 8 to 10 days after conception. For this reason, the detection of hCG in the woman's organism is an indicator that embryo implantation has taken place.

The time it takes for beta hCG to duplicate during pregnancy allows measuring the speed at which placental development will take place. Slow growth speed may be an indicator that there is some sort of problem or that the woman is at risk of miscarrying.

Generally, hCG values keep on doubling every 48-72 hours. This means that if your beta-hCG level is of 150 mUI/ml on Monday, it should rise to around 300 mUI/ml between Wednesday and Thursday.

Often, when the rate of increase in hCG levels between the first and second test is slow, a third and sometimes even a fourth hCG test is usually performed at two-day intervals with the purpose of analyzing how the levels are increasing.

The fact that there is no sign of hCG increase after the third and fourth test usually translates into a bad prognosis. It might be the sign of a failed or dysfunctional implantation that could likely lead to a miscarriage.

Getting back to normal after a miscarriage

A miscarriage is an involuntary loss of pregnancy. It usually occurs within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. A woman may miscarry due to various reasons, such as chromosomal abnormalities that prevent the embryo from properly implanting in the uterus. It takes several weeks for hCG levels to get back to normal.

hCG levels at the moment of miscarriage may vary depending on how many weeks pregnant the woman was when she miscarried.

For instance, hCG levels at week six—i.e. two weeks after the first missed period—range from 1.080 mUI/ml to 56.500 mUI/ml. When hCG levels are not the ideal ones or the rate of increase is not as expected, something might be happening.

If levels do not decrease after a miscarriage, it means the hCG-producing tissue is still present in the body. The woman's menstrual cycle will not come back until her body stops producing hCG. This may complicate things, as the woman won't be able to get pregnant until things return to normal again.

The menstrual cycle should be back to normal within 4 to 6 weeks after miscarriage. The higher the levels of hCG are, the longer it will take for them to get back to their initial levels.

If you need to undergo IVF to become a mother, we recommend that you generate your Fertility Report now. In 3 simple steps, it will show you a list of clinics that fit your preferences and meet our strict quality criteria. Moreover, you will receive a report via email with useful tips to visit a fertility clinic for the first time.

Our editors have made great efforts to create this content for you. By sharing this post, you are helping us to keep ourselves motivated to work even harder.

Authors and contributors

 María Rodríguez Ramírez
María Rodríguez Ramírez
Biologist specialized in Clinical & Biomedical Laboratory
Bachelor's Degree in Biology and Postgraduate Degree in Clinical & Biomedical Laboratory by the University of Valencia (UV). Writer of scientific contents from the field of Biology and Human Reproduction. More information about María Rodríguez Ramírez
Adapted into english by:
 Sandra Fernández
Sandra Fernández
BA, MA
Fertility Counselor
Bachelor of Arts in Translation and Interpreting (English, Spanish, Catalan, German) from the University of Valencia (UV) and Heriot-Watt University, Riccarton Campus (Edinburgh, UK). Postgraduate Course in Legal Translation from the University of Valencia. Specialist in Medical Translation, with several years of experience in the field of Assisted Reproduction. More information about Sandra Fernández

Find the latest news on assisted reproduction in our channels.