A chemical pregnancy can be a difficult experience for women who are trying to conceive. We will be discussing the symptoms and causes of a chemical pregnancy and its emotional impact.
What is a Chemical Pregnancy?
A chemical pregnancy is a very early pregnancy loss which usually occurs before five weeks gestation. Chemical pregnancies are common, and experts estimate that chemical pregnancies may account for up to 50 percent of all conceptions.
A chemical pregnancy differs from a clinical pregnancy in that a clinical pregnancy is confirmed by both high levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and ultrasound confirmation of a gestational sac or heartbeat. A chemical pregnancy can only be detected via a pregnancy test which demonstrates elevated hormone levels.
What are the Symptoms of a Chemical Pregnancy?
Most women who experience a chemical pregnancy may not even know that they are pregnant. In this setting, a woman with a chemical pregnancy may experience what she believes is a “late period”. In other cases, a woman with a chemical pregnancy may have an early positive pregnancy test, but later starts to bleed.
What Causes a Chemical Pregnancy?
An embryo may form and imbed into the uterus, but then it stops developing. The early embryo will produce hCG. Pregnancy tests detect hCG. Once the embryo stops developing, hCG levels will fall. The causes of a chemical pregnancy include:
Genetic abnormalities in the embryo
Lack of proper implantation
What are the Risk Factors for a Chemical Pregnancy?
There are several risk factors which increase the odds of experiencing an early miscarriage. These include:
Blood clotting disorders
Age greater than 35
What is the Emotional Impact of a Chemical Pregnancy?
For women who are trying to conceive, a chemical pregnancy can be emotionally difficult. A positive pregnancy test can lead to excitement and anticipation, regardless of the stage of pregnancy. Sometimes, women who experience pregnancy loss worry about future pregnancy and may even feel as if they could have prevented the loss. It is important to acknowledge that a chemical pregnancy is not caused by anything that a woman does and is often the “one off” result of a genetic abnormality. Chemical pregnancies are more common than many realize, and most women who experience a chemical pregnancy go on to experience a healthy pregnancy later in life. It is often helpful to talk to your physician about resources which are available to women who experience pregnancy loss.
Have you experienced a chemical pregnancy? We welcome you to share in the comments below.