Pregnant with low HCG levels: HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) is a pregnancy hormone originating from the membranes surrounding the fetus (baby). There is a pretty good correlation between the number of weeks pregnant a woman is and her level of HCG in her blood stream. Testing for HCG on a regular basis during the early weeks of pregnancy can give us clues as to whether or not the pregnancy will miscarry or whether the pregnancy is growing within the fallopian tube (ectopic). It is extremely important to monitor this hormone during early pregnancy for any woman who has had tubal surgery. Once you are diagnosed as being pregnant then you should let Dr. Levin know right away by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. He will need the following information:
HCG and Progesterone: These two hormones will be used to try to make sure that you have a healthy pregnancy and to try to pick up an early miscarriage or tubal ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy within the tube). Once Dr. Levin orders your lab tests, it is important for you to go to the lab early in the morning (8:00-9:00 AM) so that the test results will be available to Dr. Levin during normal working hours. Otherwise your test results and any important therapy for abnormal results will be delayed until the next working day. Also do not have your weekly blood draws done on Friday as most abnormal results will not be well treated over the weekend. The best day to have you blood drawn is Tuesday.
- The date that your last period began
- The date of your LH surge (the positive test if you were using an OPK (ovulation predictor kit)
- The data file from your temperature chart if you were using the cyclewatch software that Dr. Levin recommends (file ends with ".cwc".
- The fax number of a commercial lab where he can fax weekly orders to follow blood levels of HCG and Progesterone. To help you find an appropriate lab try Laboratory Corporation of America at their locator link or Quest Diagnostics at their locator link.
Please do not call until after 3:30 PM for the results of your tests as we probably will not have them by that time and/or Dr. Levin may not have had time to see them. Do not call for results after we close at 5:00 PM as we will not have the availability of the test results then.
If your blood levels of HCG are low then this would be an indication that the pregnancy is not doing well. One can see low levels (or a low slope curve or rise) of HCG with a pregnancy that will miscarry in a variable number of weeks and also with a pregnancy that is growing in the fallopian tube (ectopic pregnancy).
Ectopic pregnancies can be very dangerous if not diagnosed early and a woman with an ectopic pregnancy could lose her tube if it's not picked up early. Once Dr. Levin recognizes that the HCG level is not rising in an appropriate fashion he will want you to have a high quality ultrasound (normally best obtained in a hospital setting for the best quality machines). You will need to find a hospital (or a doctor if a hospital situation is not available) that will take a faxed order from Dr. Levin to do a vaginal ultrasound. Once you have that number you need to call Dr. Levin's office at 1-502-584-7787 and have his staff arrange for the ultrasound to be done.
It is extremely important to understand that the early diagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy is very difficult. Frequently the lab work shows an abnormal HCG level well before an ultrasound can show where the pregnancy is located. Because of this, some doctors will always assume that if you have "a low HCG level, plus a history of tubal surgery, and perhaps some pelvic pain" then you have an ectopic pregnancy. The fact is that is not alway true so everyone needs to be careful so as not to remove a normal tube thinking it has a pregnancy within it. Because of this please be sure to discuss these matters both with your local doctor who is on the scene with you as well as Dr. Levin who has seen thousands of similar cases.
If you have any questions about your HCG levels then call Dr. Levin's staff during normal working hours.