Chemical Pregnancy: What is it?






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1. What Is A Chemical Pregnancy? 

A chemical pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg does not attach itself to the uterine wall. Chemical pregnancies are also referred to as early miscarriages. Experts say that chemical pregnancies account for somewhere around 50-75% of all miscarriages. Unlike other miscarriages, chemical pregnancies occur before the 20th week of gestation. Women who are not actively trying to conceive might not ever know that a chemical pregnancy occurred.


This is because menstruation bleeding would be occurring around the same time, and might be mistaken for that instead of an early miscarriage. For women who are trying to conceive, a chemical pregnancy might show up as a positive pregnancy test, and then the chemical pregnancy will be revealed once a woman goes to see a doctor.

2. What Causes Chemical Pregnancy?

Experts have not been able to pinpoint a conclusive cause of what is responsible for chemical pregnancies. However, the most likely probable cause for chemical pregnancies is the same as the cause of other miscarriages- abnormal chromosomes in the developing embryo. Experts believe that somewhere around half of all chemical pregnancies are caused by chromosomal abnormalities.


However, there can be other potential causes as well, including infections such as toxoplasmosis, chlamydia, genital herpes, or syphilis, systemic illnesses such as untreated thyroid disease, uterine abnormalities, abnormal hormone levels, luteal phase defect and inadequate uterine lining.

3. Can You Stop A Chemical Pregnancy?

Unfortunately, just like other miscarriages, an early miscarriage or chemical pregnancy cannot be stopped once it has started. After a chemical pregnancy, a woman should follow up with her doctor to make sure that her hCG levels return to normal. Many women who have chemical pregnancies go on to have normal, healthy pregnancies later on.


However, some women might experience recurrent chemical pregnancies. In this case, doctors might prescribe progesterone cream, Vitamin B6, baby aspirin, antibiotics or genetic testing in some cases. This can help to prevent recurrent miscarriages on down the road, but there is unfortunately no way to prevent them.

4. How Will You Know If You Have A Chemical Pregnancy?

Chemical pregnancies, unlike other miscarriages, often have no symptoms. Women might not even know that they were ever pregnant. Sometimes women report feeling abdominal cramping or spotting during the week before their period is due.


However, since the fertilized egg never implanted itself to the uterine wall, there will be no pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, or fatigue. If a woman takes a pregnancy test, it might reveal a positive result, but blood tests will reveal low hCG levels. After a chemical pregnancy, a woman’s period will usually be on time and normal.

Ms. Belanger has 20 years of experience in women's healthcare and nursing, including labor and delivery, postpartum and antenatal. She is passionate toward improving both maternal and fetal outcomes of high-risk obstetrics patients.