Beta hCG, also known as Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, is a hormone produced by the embryo, therefore, it is used to diagnose pregnancy.
This hormone begins to be produced after embryo implantation. Its function is to maintain the corpus luteum, a structure responsible for the production of the hormone progesterone , necessary for the embryo to develop a network of blood vessels that allow it to remain implanted, grow and develop. At the end of the first trimester when the placenta forms, Beta hCG production decreases.
Beta hCG is responsible for the nausea, drowsiness , tiredness and mood swings that occur in pregnant women, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Beta hCG determinations can be made 10 days after fertilization . It reaches its maximum concentration around weeks 12 to 14.
Beta hCG can be determined in urine and blood.
This hormone can be found in the mother’s blood and urine. Its determination is known as a pregnancy test.
Blood concentrations are usually easier to detect using pregnancy tests, especially early in pregnancy. In the case of urine, the levels of this hormone are lower, so it is recommended that the urine test take place in the early hours of the morning, as this takes advantage of the determination of accumulated and concentrated urine during the various hours of the night .
This hormone is primarily determined as a mechanism for identifying pregnancy. It is also requested to monitor the development of the embryo, especially after the fertilization processes , as it can determine the pregnancy before carrying out certain methods such as ultrasound.
There are conditions where hCG increases progressively and there is no embryo inside the uterus. This is ectopic pregnancy. In this case, hCG can determine the death of the embryo or whether it continues to develop; this helps to make decisions about the treatment to follow.
Another use of hCG is to assess whether the embryo has been completely expelled during an abortion process .
It is possible that Beta hCG is elevated in women who are not pregnant. This is due to the presence of some tumors capable of producing it. Mainly hydatidiform mole or tumors such as choriocarcinomas.