What is a Chemical Pregnancy?


A chemical pregnancy is a miscarriage that occurs very early on in a woman’s pregnancy.   Due to the advent of the super sensitive pregnancy tests, like First Response, which can detect pregnancy up to 6 days before your period is due,  women are able to find out that they are pregnant VERY early in the pregnancy.   The chemical pregnancy usually occurs close to the time the period was actually due.

It is thought that chemical pregnancies occur when the fertilized egg never fully implants in the uterus and chromosomal abnormality is most like the cause.


The Case for Using a Pregnancy Test AFTER Your Period is Due

While these super sensitive pregnancy tests are very popular among those who are actively trying to conceive, they do have a very sad downside.

If you use a pregnancy test, before your period is actually late, the pregnancy test can show a positive for a impending chemical pregnancy AND  a viable pregnancy.   If an early miscarriage does occur, you will have to deal with the crushing sadness that comes with your period arriving a little late, when you weren’t expecting it at all.  However, if you simply wait for your period to be late, the emotional stress could be avoided because you wouldn’t have known about the pregnancy in the first place.


Symptoms of a Chemical Pregnancy

The signs of a chemical pregnancy are very similar to your normal period.  Bleeding will occur, after you have gotten a positive pregnancy test and can be heavier than your normal period .  You may have more cramps and pass more clots than usual.


What is the Difference Between a Chemical Pregnancy and a Miscarriage?

While they are both types of miscarriage, the difference is based on when pregnancy is lost.

If the loss occurs very close to when the period was due,  with bleeding starting before the period is a week late, this would be classified as a “chemical pregnancy” or an “early miscarriage”.

Doctors will say a pregnancy loss at 6 weeks gestation or more is a miscarriage.  The embryo will have implanted in the uterus and it would have been possible to see the embryo with an ultrasound.


Common Reasons Why Chemical Pregnancies Occur


The majority of chemical pregnancies occur because there are chromosomal problems in the fetus as it develops. Of course, there are also other potential reasons why you might experience a chemical pregnancy including congenital or acquired abnormalities in the uterus, low hormonal levels, inadequate lining in the uterus, luteal phase defect, and certain infections.


Can Chemical Pregnancies be Prevented?


The majority of chemical pregnancies aren’t preventable. However, if you continue to experience chemical pregnancies over time, it is always a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor will be able to investigate the root cause of the issues that you’re experiencing and form a plan of action which will help you achieve a successful pregnancy.


There are several potential treatments to help lessen the likelihood of chemical pregnancies. Some of the most common solutions that your doctor might prescribe include vitamin B6 in doses of at least 50mg each day, baby aspirin, and even progesterone cream to help with hormonal levels. Of course, your treatment plan is highly dependent on your individual symptoms and should be thoroughly discussed with your doctor to determine the best option for your needs.


In the case that infection is the cause of your chemical pregnancies, you should also visit your doctor. Antibiotics can resolve any issues that you’re experiencing to also help lessen the likelihood that you will experience another chemical pregnancy.