What Is A Chemical Pregnancy? Check Out Its Symptoms, Causes, and more

Have you ever heard about chemical pregnancies? What is a chemical pregnancy? What causes it, what are it’s signs and symptoms, and how is it diagnosed and treated? If you’re looking for the answers to these questions, keep reading. 

It may be frustrating and confusing when you get your period a week within a positive pregnancy test. It is what is called a chemical pregnancy, and it is way more common than you might believe. 

Most women who have a chemical pregnancy generally don’t even realize they have conceived. The good news? Having a chemical pregnancy doesn’t mean that there’s some issue with you or that you couldn’t even give birth to a healthy baby. 

What Is A Chemical Pregnancy?

A chemical pregnancy refers to an early pregnancy loss that occurs when an egg is fertilized but never fully implants in the uterus. It generally happens before a pregnancy reaches five weeks.

Chemical pregnancies are extremely common. In fact, experts believe that this very early pregnancy loss accounts for up to 70% of all conceptions. 

In most instances, the only sign of a chemical pregnancy is a late period. You’ll only get to know about your pregnancy loss if you happened to take an early pregnancy test soon after conception. 

Why Is It Called A Chemical Pregnancy?

You may be curious to discover “Where did the name come from?” It is called a chemical pregnancy because we can only detect the pregnancy hormone, hCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, on urine or blood tests, but the pregnancy isn’t yet visible on ultrasound. In some cases, the difference between a chemical pregnancy and a miscarriage comes down to whether or not the pregnancy was visible on ultrasound. Regardless of whatever name you choose, both chemical pregnancy and miscarriage refer to pregnancy loss. However, they aren’t the same. 

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of A Chemical Pregnancy?

The most obvious indication of a chemical pregnancy is a positive test result that is followed by a negative one. These tests could be conducted either at your home or at a doctor’s clinic. Many women don’t experience any symptoms of chemical pregnancy. When they do, they may include one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Mild spotting a week prior to an expected period
  • Vaginal bleeding that occurs around the time of an expected period or shortly thereafter
  • Abdominal cramping, which is generally mild
  • Lack of common pregnancy symptoms such as breast soreness, nausea, etc. after a positive pregnancy test

Also Read: Preeclampsia: Pregnancy Complications For Both You And Your Baby

What Causes A Chemical Pregnancy?

Most early pregnancies, including chemical pregnancies, occur due to chromosomal abnormalities. 

During the start of a normal pregnancy, an egg and a sperm combine 23 chromosomes from each parent to form a zygote (embryo) of 46 chromosomes. The zygote starts to grow through rapid cell division, turns into a blastocyst, and implants in the uterine wall. 

In a chemical pregnancy:

  • A sperm either have too many chromosomes or not enough
  • After conception, the resulting zygote also has an anomalous number of chromosomes.
  • These chromosomal anomalies cause errors that make it so that the zygote can’t develop normally.
  • As opposed to implanting in the uterine wall, the fertilized egg gets released from the body with a woman’s period.

Chromosomal anomalies occur randomly and can happen to anyone. And definitely, it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get pregnant or stay pregnant in the future.

What Are Common Chemical Pregnancy Risk Factors?

Several factors can increase your chances of a chemical pregnancy, including:

  • Being 35 years or older
  • Untreated thyroid disorders 
  • Untreated clotting disorders
  • Other health conditions such as diabetes

If you’ve one or more chemical pregnancy risk factors, talk to your doctor about some effective ways to prevent it. 

How Is A Chemical Pregnancy Diagnosed?

Sometimes, women take a home pregnancy test and get a positive test result, but then they have a late period or learn through a pregnancy test at a doctor’s clinic that there’s no pregnancy. Your healthcare provider can confirm that you had a chemical pregnancy with a blood test or urine test to check the hCG level in your body. In other cases, women do not even know that they have been pregnant; they may simply think their period is late. 

Medications and Treatment Options For A Chemical Pregnancy

Very early pregnancy losses, including a chemical pregnancy, don’t require any treatment. However, if you think you may have experienced one, make sure to tell your healthcare provider. 

If a medical condition might have contributed to a chemical pregnancy, getting it appropriately treated can help you elevate your chances of conceiving a feasible pregnancy and having a healthy baby in the future. Alternatively, once your menstrual cycle gets back to normal, you can try to conceive again whenever you’re ready.

Are There Any Complications?

There aren’t any physical complications of chemical pregnancy in most cases, apart from cramping and heavier-than-usual bleeding. In extreme cases, you may also experience very heavy bleeding or hemorrhaging after a chemical pregnancy, which can contribute to anemia; this demands medical assistance.

Any type of pregnancy loss can be really upsetting, especially when you and your partner were trying for a baby for a considerably long time and were excited about a positive pregnancy test. As a result, you might experience stress-related problems or mood changes. 

Some women may find that early pregnancy loss can even cause post-traumatic stress symptoms, including intrusive or undesirable thoughts about the pregnancy loss, flashbacks, flashbacks, hyperarousal, and evasion of whatsoever that reminds them of their loss.

Make sure to give your body and mind sufficient time to recover from the loss. Whatever you feel, just accept them and give yourself time to utterly process them, possibly with the support of family, friends, and even support groups. 

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Natasha Patel

Natasha Patel is the senior writer for the women’s health edition at CheapMedicineShop.com. She worked as a primary care provider before joining the writer’s panel of the blog. She is also trained in routine obstetrics and continues to practice in Oklahoma, where she lives with her family.