What is a chemical pregnancy?
A chemical pregnancy is an early miscarriage that usually happens before the pregnancy reaches five weeks and before most women know they’re pregnant. Chemical pregnancies are caused by chromosomal problems with the developing baby. Chromosomes are blocks of DNA, which contain instructions for your baby’s development.
Symptoms of a chemical pregnancy:
- A heavier than normal period
- More menstrual cramping than usual
- Low hCG levels (this is the pregnancy hormone)
- Lack of common pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness or breast soreness after a positive pregnancy test
Causes of an early miscarriage:
- Imbalanced hormones
- Genetic abnormalities in the embryo
- Lack of proper implantation in the uterus
- Low body weight
Between 10-20 percent of all pregnancies end in early miscarriage. But the actual number may be higher because these women didn’t know they were pregnant. The loss of a chemical pregnancy may be mistaken for a normal period, or a late period.
How is a chemical pregnancy diagnosed?
When women start menstruating shortly after a positive blood test or pregnancy test. In this case, the doctor may want another blood test to measure her hCG level. If that blood test shows the pregnancy hormones are decreasing rather than increasing, the diagnosis will be a miscarriage of a chemical pregnancy. They may also diagnose it if there’s a positive pregnancy test but the fetus can’t be seen on an ultrasound.
If you have any bleeding during your pregnancy, with or without pain, it’s very important to get it checked out.
What is the treatment for a chemical pregnancy loss?
These miscarriages happen at such an early stage that they generally resolve naturally and you will physically recover quickly. However, your emotional healing may take longer. Any miscarriage, even early ones, can cause you to feel a sense of grief and loss. It’s important to know these feelings are normal and everyone deals with loss in their own way.
Can I Prevent a Chemical Pregnancy?
There’s nothing you can do to prevent a miscarriage. However, you can help decrease your risks by managing any chronic conditions you have, such as thyroid problems, diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or high blood pressure. Avoid smoking, using illegal drugs and other risky behaviors.
When you’re ready to try getting pregnant again, take a prenatal vitamin like Fairhaven Health’s FH Pro. The good news is most women who’ve had a chemical pregnancy go onto have a healthy pregnancy journey later on.
Want to Know More?
- After a Miscarriage: Surviving Emotionally
- After a Miscarriage: Getting Pregnant Again
- Miscarriage: Supporting Friends & Family Through Loss