Ectopic pregnancies are pregnancies in which the fertilized egg attaches itself outside of the uterus, normally in the fallopian tubes. Since this condition, also sometimes called a tubal pregnancy, is potentially life-threatening and very often requires serious medical treatment, and one of every 60 pregnancies are ectopic, this is a subject that is worth discussing! What do you need to know about ectopic pregnancy and the levels of the hormone hCG in your body?
Measuring hCG levels is an important part of the diagnostic process when it comes to ectopic pregnancies. That is because low levels of this crucial pregnancy hormone can be one of the indications that your pregnancy is not developing normally. At the same time, low levels of progesterone, another essential hormone in pregnancy, also signify potential problems. HCG tests, along with other diagnostic tools such as ultrasound, and a pelvic exam, are used to diagnose tubal pregnancies. Once you have received your diagnosis and an ectopic pregnancy was confirmed, there are three separate treatment options depending on how acute your condition is.
One of the treatment options, if hCG levels are consistently dropping and are already very low, and your other symptoms are not immediately threatening, is expectant management. That is a fancy way of saying that your doctor will just monitor you, but not take any action. If you have an ectopic pregnancy and have reached a consensus with your healthcare provider to opt for expectant management, hCG levels become essential.
You will be checked for hCG levels to see whether the ectopic pregnancy has started to resolve on its own, and whether you will miscarry on your own, or need further treatment. If your ectopic pregnancy did not end with the removal of the fallopian tube in which it occurred, your hCG levels will be checked regularly until they reach zero.