Clinical significance of low levels of second-trimester maternal serum human chorionic gonadotropin

Joaquin Santolaya-Forgas*, Laurence I. Burd, Barbara K. Burton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine if unexplained low second-trimester maternal serum human chorionic gonadotropin (MShCG) is a useful predictor of complications of pregnancy. Study design: Between 2/1/90 and 1/3/91, 3, 116 patients underwent prenatal screening using second-trimester maternal serum α-fetoprotein (MSAFP), MShCG and maternal serum unconjugated estriol (MSuE3). Among these, there were 160 patients with complete obstetrical history who had second-trimester MShCG < 0.4 multiples of the median (MoM). These were compared to 261 controls with complete obstetrical history and a normal second-trimester MSAFP, MSuE3 and MShCG. Results: No differences were found in gestational age at delivery, neonatal weight, premature rupture of membranes or pregnancy loss. The relative risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension in the study group was 0.29 (p < 0.01) and that of gestational diabetes was 0.3 (p < 0.05). Only when low MShCG was associated with a high or low MSAFP or low MSuE3 was there a significantly increased loss of pregnancy (relative risk 11.7; p < 0.0001). Conclusion: The data suggest that second-trimester MShCG <0.4 MoM by itself has no influence on the outcome of pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)362-366
Number of pages5
JournalFetal Diagnosis and Therapy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994


  • Maternal serum alpha-fetoprotein
  • Maternal serum human chorionic gonadotropin
  • Maternal serum unconjugated estriol
  • Pregnancy loss
  • Prenatal screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Embryology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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