Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is the king of all pregnancy hormones, so much so that some people call it “the announcer of pregnancy”. From the moment you conceive your body starts to produce hCG, therefore it is the hormone that all pregnancy tests measure in order to determine if you are pregnant or not. hCG is made up of 244 amino acids and is produced by placental cells. During a normal pregnancy, hCG levels will double every two days until week 10 of your pregnancy. One of hCG’s main roles is to keep estrogen and progesterone at appropriate levels during the first trimester when your placenta is still developing. Once your placenta is fully developed it will take that role over.
Did you know...hCG is used in many fertility medications?
What does hCG do to your body?
- It gives you a very sensitive bladder during the first trimester. This is because hCG increases blood flow to your pelvic area, giving you that need-to-pee sensation all the time. However, most of the time barely a trickle will come out of your body.
- It affects the severity of your morning sickness. hCG is responsible for the nausea many pregnant women experience and the higher your levels of hCG are, the more severe your morning sickness will be. Good news though, once your placenta has developed that morning sickness will disappear!
- It reduces the strength of your immune system. Another very important role hCG plays is the suppression of your immune system so that your body doesn’t reject your baby, which at first seems to be an unwelcome guest in your uterus. This means you’re probably catching every cold and flu under the sun. Sorry!
hCG can be a bit of pain, but nonetheless it is an essential pregnancy hormone and when you see that positive sign on your pregnancy test you have hCG to thank!