Understanding HCG Levels

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Q: Can my doctor tell whether or not I'm having twins from my HCG levels?

A: Yes. Two or more babies means two or more placentas. Each placenta makes its own HCG, so more babies means higher levels of this hormone.

Q: Is HCG causing my morning sickness?

A: "We believe that HCG stimulates an area in the brain that triggers nausea. This makes a woman very sensitive to smells and tastes," says Dr. Hakakha. Historically, this would serve a pregnant woman well. Anything that smelled or tasted bad (and could therefore be dangerous to her unborn child) would trigger the nausea reflex, steering a woman away from that particular food. But we also see that once HCG levels plateau, nausea and vomiting taper off--usually after the 14th week of pregnancy. That said, HCG might not be the only culprit resposible for morning sickness - estrogen may also play a role.

Copyright © 2011 Meredith Corporation.

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