Pregnancy is a beautiful miracle but sometimes it’s just downright confusing, too. Whether you have been down this road before or you are newly trying to get pregnant, it is important to understand what a chemical pregnancy is. Those words sound scary, I know, and to be honest they kind of are. First off, you should understand that early miscarriages are actually fairly common and so many women go through them and later have healthy babies.
What is a Chemical Pregnancy?
A chemical pregnancy or biochemical pregnancy is a miscarriage that happens very early on, before the 5th week of gestation. It is so early on, in fact, that ultrasounds still cannot detect the pregnancy. However, a pregnancy test may have detected it as levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) initially are elevated. Many women do not even know they are pregnant when they experience a miscarriage this early. But regardless of this, if you do know and experience the loss it can be extremely devastating. So take heart mama, even though chemical pregnancies are quite common, they also can be very hard on you emotionally.
The Facts & Stats
- Chemical pregnancies account for 50 to 75 percent of all miscarriages (Healthline)
- Just because you had a false positive pregnancy test does not mean you had a chemical pregnancy, as these can happen for many reasons
- Chemical pregnancies typically happen because of chromosome abnormalities (ACOG)
- When IVF is unsuccessful, it often results in a chemical pregnancy
- Working, exercising, having sex, or having taken birth control does not cause pregnancy loss (ACOG)
- Advanced maternal age, a thyroid condition, or clotting disorder may put you at higher risk for early miscarriage
Causes of a Chemical Pregnancy
There is no exact cause, and as we said before chemical pregnancies are quite common so you shouldn’t blame yourself or your partner. Listed below are some possible factors for why an early miscarriage may have occurred.
- Chromosomal Abnormalities- This is the most common cause of early miscarriage. Most women go on to carry a healthy baby after this.
- Hormone Levels- Some hormones need to be present at high levels to support the development of a fetus.
- Improper Implantation- If there are abnormalities in the uterus, the embryo may not implant properly. Fibroids are a common cause of this and can be removed.
- Low Weight- Women who are below weight according to their BMI may be at higher risk for miscarriage.
What To Do if You Think You are Experiencing a Chemical Pregnancy
Some women have no symptoms at all, but for others, a chemical pregnancy may feel like menstruation and involve vaginal bleeding.
- Getting Your Period After a Positive Pregnancy Test
- Light Spotting (this does not always mean you have had a chemical pregnancy, so stay calm it may be implantation bleeding)
- Menstrual Like Cramps
See Your Doctor
If you’ve had a positive pregnancy test, you should see your doctor. They will be able to either confirm your pregnancy or inform you of why you got a false positive test result. You should immediately see your doctor if you believe you have had a chemical pregnancy, even if you hadn’t taken the test yet.
Keep in mind, typically no physical treatment is necessary since it is so early on. After a pregnancy loss, the only treatment you might need is tissue removal. In the case of an early pregnancy loss, this is unlikely. However, your doctor will still need to make sure all tissue has passed. Your OB/GYN can also be helpful in finding a mental health professional if you or your partner would like someone to talk to.
Keeping Hope After a Chemical Pregnancy
Chemical pregnancies are common and are not an indication that you cannot get pregnant. Many women go on to have happy, healthy pregnancies. Doctors will often look at this as a positive, as it is proof that you can get pregnant. In fact, you can get pregnant as soon as two weeks after your chemical pregnancy. Knowing all this doesn’t always necessarily make you feel better though, so talk openly about your feelings and remind yourself it gets better. What is meant to be, will be!
As devastating as it is to go through multiple early miscarriages, it is no cause for alarm. If you have had three in a row, your doctor may send you to a fertility specialist to rule out any medical problems. This specialist will be able to advise you but often times they do not find any medical problems, and you will be able to move forward and get pregnant.
If you have any questions at all please leave them in the comments or check out the Rookie Moms Facebook Group, where you will find a tribe of moms to ask for advice!
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