What Pregnancy Hormones Are Produced During The First Month?

What Pregnancy Hormones Are Produced During The First Month?

Pregnancy hormones that increase rapidly throughout the first month can be bewildering sometimes. Here’s what a lot of that means.

1. What is the Significance of hCG Levels?

Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is the pregnancy hormone that enables doctors to make a conclusive determination about whether or not a woman is pregnant. In most cases, hCG levels will become high enough to be detected by a pregnancy test within 11 days. Home tests look for early indicators of these pregnancy hormones, but the only way to know for certain if conception has occurred is to visit your doctor. If you are pregnant, your hCG level should be above 25mlU/ml, although it is possible for them to be as low as 5mlU/ml for the first four weeks.

2. Important Things to Know About Your hCG Pregnancy Hormones Levels

Your hCG levels will continue to rise throughout the first 8 to 11 weeks of your pregnancy. In most cases, these levels will double every three days until they reach their peak. However, this only applies to approximately 85 percent of pregnant women, so trust your physician’s experience and recommendations if your levels do not progress in this manner. In order to understand your hCG levels, it is important to be aware that Milli-international Units per Milliliter (mlU/ml) is the measurement that is used to track these pregnancy hormones.


3. What Can a Low hCG Level Indicate?

Please exercise caution before allowing yourself to become unduly upset about a low hCG level. Everyone is different, and your body’s natural levels may be lower than the norm. With this in mind, though, you should also be aware that a low level may be indicative of a miscalculated conception date, ectopic pregnancy, a blighted ovum or another type of miscarriage.

Due to these potential factors, low hCG levels are commonly tracked with new testing every two to three days until they reach the normal range. An ultrasound, which can be done after five to six weeks, will provide a much more accurate assessment of the baby’s health than hCG levels.

4. What Can a High hCG Level Indicate?

Just like with a low hCG level, you should allow your physician enough time to run other tests and an ultrasound before you become concerned about a high hCG level. Keep in mind that hCG levels can vary greatly. The normal range is an astounding 5-50 mlU/ml at the three week mark, and this shoots up to 18-7,340 mlU/ml by week five.


If your levels are higher than normal, it is possible that you are carrying twins, experiencing a molar pregnancy or do not have a correct conception date. A molar pregnancy is a rare event that only affects 1 out of every 1,000 pregnancies, so this is the least likely explanation. Again, if your levels are considered to be too high or low, your physician will probably want to recheck them every 48 to 72 hours to ensure that everything is going smoothly with your pregnancy.

5. Can Anything Alter Your hCG Levels?

An hCG level of 25 mlU/ml is almost always indicative of a pregnancy, and this makes false positives a rare occurrence. You could conceivably have enough hCG in your body to chemically appear pregnant without actually being so, if you have already suffered from an early miscarriage or are battling certain types of cancer. There are also some antibodies that can occasionally alter your hCG levels enough to provide false results.

Many people are worried that taking any form of medication might interfere with an accurate hCG reading, but this is not a viable concern. The only form of prescription drugs that has been determined to interfere with the results of a pregnancy test are those that are most commonly used for fertility purposes. If you are taking fertility medication, your doctor will help you make the distinction between a false positive and actually being pregnant.


6. Additional hCG Facts

In the tragic event of a miscarriage, your hCG levels should return to normal within six weeks. It is normal for doctors to monitor your hCG during this time period. On the contrary, it is not typical for physicians to regularly monitor hCG levels throughout a healthy pregnancy unless there are certain warning signs, including levels that are too high or low, a history of miscarriage, severe cramping or bleeding.

It is not reliable to use hCG levels to date your pregnancy. Most pregnancy related conditions are also not confirmable with merely one hCG test. In order to get the most accurate results for any related diagnosis, an ultrasound should be conducted after your hCG levels reach 2,000 mlU/ml.

Now that you have a better understanding of pregnancy hormones and how they impact your body during the first month, it is a good idea to take some time to brush up on tips for getting through the experience of giving birth and soothing a cranky baby. After all, nine months will fly by much faster than you think, and you will want to be fully prepared for everything that happens long after your hCG levels are no longer relevant.


Featured photo credit: Esparta Palma via

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Published on January 30, 2019

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

In roughly 60 percent of two-parent households with children under the age of 18, both parents work full time. But who takes time off work when the kids are sick in your house? And if you are a manager, how do you react when a man says he needs time to take his baby to the pediatrician?

The sad truth is, the default in many companies and families is to value the man’s work over the woman’s—even when there is no significant difference in their professional obligations or compensation. This translates into stereotypes in the workplace that women are the primary caregivers, which can negatively impact women’s success on the job and their upward mobility.

According to a Pew Research Center analysis of long-term time-use data (1965–2011), fathers in dual-income couples devote significantly less time than mothers do to child care.[1] Dads are doing more than twice as much housework as they used to (from an average of about four hours per week to about 10 hours), but there is still a significant imbalance.

This is not just an issue between spouses; it’s a workplace culture issue. In many offices, it is still taboo for dads to openly express that they have family obligations that need their attention. In contrast, the assumption that moms will be on the front lines of any family crisis is one that runs deep.

Consider an example from my company. A few years back, one of our team members joined us for an off-site meeting soon after returning from maternity leave. Not even two hours into her trip, her husband called to say that the baby had been crying nonstop. While there was little our colleague could practically do to help with the situation, this call was clearly unsettling, and the result was that her attention was divided for the rest of an important business dinner.

This was her first night away since the baby’s birth, and I know that her spouse had already been on several business trips before this event. Yet, I doubt she called him during his conferences to ask child-care questions. Like so many moms everywhere, she was expected to figure things out on her own.


The numbers show that this story is far from the exception. In another Pew survey, 47 percent of dual-income parents agreed that the moms take on more of the work when a child gets sick.[2] In addition, 39 percent of working mothers said they had taken a significant amount of time off from work to care for their child compared to just 24 percent of working fathers. Mothers are also more likely than fathers (27 percent to 10 percent) to say they had quit their job at some point for family reasons.

Before any amazing stay-at-home-dads post an angry rebuttal comment, I want to be very clear that I am not judging how families choose to divide and conquer their personal and professional responsibilities; that’s 100 percent their prerogative. Rather, I am taking aim at the culture of inequity that persists even when spouses have similar or identical professional responsibilities. This is an important issue for all of us because we are leaving untapped business and human potential on the table.

What’s more, I think my fellow men can do a lot about this. For those out there who still privately think that being a good dad just means helping out mom, it’s time to man up. Stop expecting working partners—who have similar professional responsibilities—to bear the majority of the child-care responsibilities as well.

Consider these ways to support your working spouse:

1. Have higher expectations for yourself as a father; you are a parent, not a babysitter.

Know who your pediatrician is and how to reach him or her. Have a back-up plan for transportation and emergency coverage.

Don’t simply expect your partner to manage all these invisible tasks on her own. Parenting takes effort and preparation for the unexpected.


As in other areas of life, the way to build confidence is to learn by doing. Moms aren’t born knowing how to do this stuff any more than dads are.

2. Treat your partner the way you’d want to be treated.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard a man on a business trip say to his wife on a call something to the effect of, “I am in the middle of a meeting. What do you want me to do about it?”

However, when the tables are turned, men often make that same call at the first sign of trouble.

Distractions like this make it difficult to focus and engage with work, which perpetuates the stereotype that working moms aren’t sufficiently committed.

When you’re in charge of the kids, do what she would do: Figure it out.

3. When you need to take care of your kids, don’t make an excuse that revolves around your partner’s availability.

This implies that the children are her first priority and your second.


I admit I have been guilty in the past of telling clients, “I have the kids today because my wife had something she could not move.” What I should have said was, “I’m taking care of my kids today.”

Why is it so hard for men to admit they have personal responsibilities? Remember that you are setting an example for your sons and daughters, and do the right thing.

4. As a manager, be supportive of both your male and female colleagues when unexpected situations arise at home.

No one likes or wants disruptions, but life happens, and everyone will face a day when the troubling phone call comes from his sitter, her school nurse, or even elderly parents.

Accommodating personal needs is not a sign of weakness as a leader. Employees will be more likely to do great work if they know that you care about their personal obligations and family—and show them that you care about your own.

5. Don’t keep score or track time.

At home, it’s juvenile to get into debates about who last changed a diaper or did the dishes; everyone needs to contribute, but the big picture is what matters. Is everyone healthy and getting enough sleep? Are you enjoying each other’s company?

In business, too, avoid the trap of punching a clock. The focus should be on outcomes and performance rather than effort and inputs. That’s the way to maintain momentum toward overall goals.


The Bottom Line

To be clear, I recognize that a great many working dads are doing a terrific job both on the home front and in their professional lives. My concern is that these standouts often aren’t visible to their colleagues; they intentionally or inadvertently let their work as parents fly under the radar. Dads need to be open and honest about family responsibilities to change perceptions in the workplace.

The question “How do you balance it all?” should not be something that’s just asked of women. Frankly, no one can answer that question. Juggling a career and parental responsibilities is tough. At times, really tough.

But it’s something that more parents should be doing together, as a team. This can be a real bonus for the couple relationship as well, because nothing gets in the way of good partnership faster than feelings of inequity.

On the plus side, I can tell you that parenting skills really do get better with practice—and that’s great for people of both sexes. I think our cultural expectations that women are the “nurturers” and men are the “providers” needs to evolve. Expanding these definitions will open the doors to richer contributions from everyone, because women can and should be both—and so should men.

Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via


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