Chemical Pregnancy: What is it?

Chemical Pregnancy: What is it?

What is a chemical pregnancy?

A chemical pregnancy is the term to denote a form of miscarriage that happens in the early stages of pregnancy before a woman has missed a period. Technically a chemical pregnancy occurs before the fifth week of gestation. This is a time when an ultrasound would be unable to pick up the gestational sac; any time after that and you would be classed as clinically pregnant and any spontaneous terminations would be classed as a miscarriage.  Claim Your 20 Free Pregnancy Tests – Click Here

In most cases women are unaware of having miscarried; however with the increase of early detection pregnancy tests which are available over the counter, these miscarriages have become easier to detect. If you have had a hCG blood test or a hCG home pregnancy urine test that proved positive, and then suffered vaginal bleeding shortly afterwards then that indicates a chemical pregnancy.

Why do chemical pregnancies happen?

No one can really be certain why they occur as few tissue samples are ever recovered or tested. Doctors theorise that it is probably due to genetic abnormalities which would not have made the birth viable. Other explanations include, incorrect hormone levels, infections or health problems related to the mother, certain lifestyle factors such as substance abuse, smoking, drinking and even large quantities of caffeine.

There also might be physical reasons, such as outside trauma. However, a chemical pregnancy will have little effect on a woman’s health. Your period will occur as normal (sometimes lighter), but may be accompanied by more cramping than usual. Physical recovery is quick, but the emotional recovery may take much longer.

Will I miscarry again?

Whilst there is some statistical evidence to suggest that a woman who has had a miscarriage will have a greater chance of having another (around 25%) nothing is certain. Little research has been done of chemical pregnancies to determine whether this statistic applies to them. Either way, stress, worry and panic will not do you or your future pregnancies any good.

If you suspect you have had more than one chemical pregnancy you may want to talk to a doctor about this. They could suggest tests or lifestyle changes that give you a better chance of conceiving. Rest assured only 1% of couples ever suffer from 3 or more consecutive early miscarriages.

Prevention of a chemical pregnancy

There are a few ways to minimise a chemical pregnancy. Lifestyle changes are the most important, which means keeping your health levels optimum. Eat healthy, exercise and ensure you are the correct BMI. Being both overweight and underweight can affect your fertility levels.

Manage your external stresses. Start taking regular doses of folic acid, and additional vitamins and minerals as appropriate. Avoid contact sports, physical damage to your abdomen, x-rays, radiation and infection disease.

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 Dr. Prabha Sahgal, MD
Dr. Prabha Sahgal MD, is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and subspecialty board certified in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. Dr. Sahgal holds a B.S. degree from MIT in molecular biology and currently serves on the ConceiveEasy board of directors.