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Do hCG Levels Rise With Molar Pregnancy?

Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin hormone is secreted by the placenta after the attachment of zygote to the uterine wall. Thus, as with other pregnancies, the level of hCG is also increased in molar pregnancy too.

Do hCG Levels Rise With Molar Pregnancy?

In a complete molar pregnancy, the level of hCG is abnormally high and it is more than 100,000 mIU/ml. However, in a partial molar pregnancy, the level of hCG lies in between the level for normal pregnancy and complete molar pregnancy.

Molest pregnancy is caused due to the fertilization occurring between the abnormal egg cell and the sperm. The pregnancy so achieved due to this fertilization is non-viable. However, the fertilized egg is attached to the placenta, it triggers the placenta to secrete hCG hormone, which is a characteristic hormone present in blood and urine during pregnancy. The hormone can be identified in the urine as early as 7 to 10 days of conception.

Two types of molar pregnancy can be achieved. The first type of molar pregnancy is achieved when the fertilization occurs with egg without DNA and sperm. This results in the formation of a complete hydatidiform mole, as there is no fetus present. The second type of molar pregnancy occurs due to the fertilization of egg cell without DNA with two sperms. This can result in a non-viable fetus with severe genetic abnormalities. A fetus with a genetic abnormality is present; this is known as a partial molar pregnancy.

In both the cases, like in normal pregnancy, the level of hCG increases. In case of complete molar pregnancy, abnormally high level of hCG hormone level is found in blood which indicates the presence of molar pregnancy. However, the level of hCG hormone is in between the level of normal pregnancy and complete molar pregnancy. The level of hCG hormone in complete molar pregnancy is so high that it results in the “high dose hook effect” leading to false negative results. The level of hCG hormone in complete molar pregnancy is greater than 100,000 mIU/ml.

However, it should be noted that all the molar pregnancies do not have a high level of hCG hormone and also all the pregnancies with a high level of hCG hormone are not molar pregnancy. High level of hCG hormone may be due to other reasons.

hCG Hormone

Egg and sperm fertilize to form a zygote. The zygote then attaches itself to the endometrium of the uterus for obtaining nutrition for further growth and development. This attachment of zygote to endometrium is known as conception. The outer wall of the blastocyst, which is attached to the endometrium forms the outer layer of the placenta. The placenta is a temporary organ which acts as a link between the developing fetus to the wall of the uterus through the umbilical cord. Placenta secretes the hormone Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin hormone (hCG) and the cells that secrete this hormone is known as syncytiotrophoblast.

Various forms of hCG are found in the body including alpha-hCG, free beta-subunit hCG, beta core fragment hCG, total hCG, C-terminal peptide total hCG, hyperglycosylated hCG, intact hCG, nicked hCG and pituitary hCG. Various hCG is found at various stage of pregnancy and also indicates the presence of complications. For example, beta-hCG has higher level in normal pregnancy and non-invasive molar pregnancy, while hyperglycosylated hCG has higher levels in invasive molar pregnancy.

hCG Hormone is essential to maintain the nutrition and development of the fetus and also plays an important role in maintaining the level of progesterone.

Characteristic Features Of Molar Pregnancy

Molar pregnancy is characterized by various features which result in its identification. These features can be diagnosed through an ultrasound or by blood tests. Following are the features of molar pregnancy:

Increased hCG Levels. Abnormally high levels of hCG hormone are found in the blood of the patients with molar pregnancy.

Appearance Of Uterus. In the gestational trophoblastic disease, snow-storm pattern or bunch of -grapes appearance in the uterus is identified.

Cysts. The sagittal scanning of the uterus reveals the presence of cystic spaces in the endometrial cavity. 


  1. WebMD. (2021). Molar Pregnancy. https://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/molar-pregnancy
  2. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. (2021). Human chorionic gonadotropin and hyperglycosylated hCG in the pathogenesis of gestational trophoblastic diseases. https://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378(17)31996-5/fulltext
  3. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Molar pregnancy. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/molar-pregnancy/symptoms-causes/syc-20375148
  4. Healthline. (2021). Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG). https://www.healthline.com/health/hcg-blood-test-quantitative

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 25, 2023

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