Pregnancy Loss: Chemical Pregnancy

It is estimated that approximately 50% of pregnancies end in miscarriage without a woman even knowing that she was ever pregnant. When a miscarriage takes place at the earliest stages of pregnancy, it is known as a chemical pregnancy. Most chemical pregnancies go undetected, and are often mistaken for nothing more than a late period.

What is a Chemical Pregnancy?

A chemical pregnancy is a type of pregnancy loss that takes place when an egg has been fertilized, but implantation does not occur. Most women will not develop any pregnancy symptoms in these cases; however, women who have been pregnant before may recognize subtle signs of pregnancy.

A chemical pregnancy could be caused by a number of factors such as chromosomal problems in the fetus, abnormal lining of the uterus, other uterine abnormalities, hormonal deficiency and infection.

Miscarriage Symptoms: Chemical Pregnancy

Many women do not experience any signs or symptoms associated with this type of pregnancy loss. However, in some cases of chemical pregnancy, miscarriage symptoms can include the following:

  • tender breasts
  • morning sickness
  • nausea
  • fatigue
  • elevated hCG levels (pregnancy hormone)
  • late period
  • heavy menstrual flow
  • blood clots in menstrual flow
  • unusually severe cramping

Usually, the early signs of pregnancy such as morning sickness will disappear after the sixth week of pregnancy, and be followed by menstruation.

Diagnosis and Treatment

For women who were aware of the pregnancy, it is recommended that they seek medical advice by making an appointment with a doctor. Your health care provider should then make sure that hCG levels return to normal, and that no other types of miscarriages have taken place, as these may require further attention and treatment.

If an infection proves to be the cause of miscarriage, antibiotics may be prescribed. Testing may also include blood tests or an ultrasound. If a more specific cause of chemical pregnancy is diagnosed, further treatment may include fibroid surgery, hormones, progesterone cream, and baby aspirin to increase the chances of getting pregnant in future.

The Future of Fertility

For the most part, chemical pregnancies remain unnoticed, and women will usually go on to have healthy and successful pregnancies. The above treatments are commonly recommended for women who have experienced a chemical pregnancy, and have concerns about getting pregnant.

It is unlikely to experience multiple chemical pregnancies; however, if you experience more than two chemical pregnancies, this could be a sign of an underlying fertility problem. It is advised that in such cases, a woman seek consultation with a health care provider or fertility specialist.