Chemical Pregnancy Miscarriage – Kids are one of life’s greatest blessings; they fill the house with love and laughter bringing an unsolicited joy into their parents’ lives. But whether you are a newly-wed or just trying to get pregnant, you may experience a positive pregnancy test followed shortly by a negative one. This experience is known as chemical pregnancy.
It is a hard experience that can leave you feeling overwhelmed with negative thoughts, however let us explain to you what does it actually means.
What is a Chemical Pregnancy?
Chemical or biochemical pregnancy is a type of early miscarriage in which hormones are detected early in the pregnancy but a gestational sac is not visible on the ultrasound yet. This type of early miscarriage happens before the fifth week of pregnancy.
HCG or human chorionic gonadotropin levels, the pregnancy hormone, can be detected by a pregnancy test as early as 2 weeks but a gestational sac is not visible before the sixth week hence the name chemical pregnancy.
Chemical pregnancies are only increasing in statistics as new pregnancy tests can detect hCG very early so it is becoming more noticeable.
How Long Does a Chemical Pregnancy Last?
A chemical pregnancy occurs shortly after implantation, two to three weeks after your last period and can last for up to 5 weeks.
It can be missed if you are not trying to get pregnant and taking a pregnancy test monthly as it only causes a short delay in your next period and a light blood implantation bleeding which can be confused for mid-cycle spotting.
What Causes a Chemical Pregnancy?
A chemical pregnancy like any other miscarriage is usually caused by an abnormal egg or sperm.
Chromosomal abnormalities are the leading cause of miscarriage: this means either the number of chromosomes is decreased or increased or the structure of the chromosome is abnormal. These chromosomal abnormalities usually mean that the fetus cannot sustain a healthy life so it is expelled by the uterus.
Another reason may be deficient hormonal level. An increased level of progesterone is needed to maintain a successful pregnancy and if the body cannot secrete enough hormones, early miscarriage will occur.
Uterine abnormalities as fibroids, polyps, or irregularities inlining can prevent successful implantation leading to early fetus loss. Also, women with a lower BMI have a higher rate of early miscarriage as well as older women who are above the age of 35.
How High is hCG in a Chemical Pregnancy?
Human chorionic gonadotropin “HCG” is the pregnancy hormone that indicates that you are pregnant; hence the name chemical pregnancy as it is named by the way it is diagnosed. It can be detected in either blood by visiting your doctor to withdraw blood or urine by pregnancy tests.
The level of hCG that indicates a pregnancy starts from 5 mIU/mL but more importantly is the rise in the hormonal level.
Once a baseline is set, the human chorionic gonadotropin hormone is supposed to double each two to three days so that it can sustain a successful pregnancy.
In chemical pregnancy either the hormone level doesn’t rise steadily, remains constant, or even decreases indicating early miscarriage.
Is Chemical Pregnancy a Real Pregnancy?
A chemical pregnancy is a true pregnancy as it involves the fusion of an egg and a sperm. Chemical pregnancies encounter 75% of all miscarriages and 25% of pregnancies end in early miscarriage.
The occurrence of a chemical pregnancy means that successful fertilization and implantation have been achieved and a normal pregnancy can occur as soon as 2 months later.
Statistics also show that if a chemical pregnancy occurs after an IVF, the rates of a successful next IVF increase by 34%.
Chemical Pregnancy or Implantation Bleeding: What’s the Difference?
Implantation bleeding which is one of the early pregnancy symptoms which occurs 10 to 14 days after fertilization as the embryo attaches itself to the uterine wall causing damage of a few blood vessels which causes faint bleeding that is light pink or brownish in color.
It is usually painless and very small in amount that it can pass unnoticed. Chemical pregnancy bleeding, however, occurs one to two weeks after a positive pregnancy test.
This is usually shortly before or a week after your normal next period. It is associated with pain similar to menstrual cramps and may contain some tissue that can be noticed within the normal blood flow.
The bleeding is usually heavier than normal as the body is expelling the content of miscarriage. It may also be accompanied by a strong odor.
First Period After a Chemical Pregnancy
You should expect your next period within six weeks after the miscarriage. This is the time needed by your body to recover from the miscarriage to the pre-pregnancy hormonal state.
Your first period will not be different from your normal period in quantity or pain or the duration it lasts, however some women may experience a heavier or a lighter bleeding and that is completely normal.
Since a chemical pregnancy does not affect fertility, you can get pregnant on your first period if you are trying.
How to Prevent a Chemical Pregnancy?
Since chemical pregnancies usually occur due to chromosomal abnormalities, there is not much to do about genetics. You should know that this is not your fault at all but there are a few tips to do that proved helpful in preventing the reoccurrence.
- Eating healthy and regular exercise can help sustain your upcoming pregnancy as they improve body functions including hormonal secretion.
- Taking prenatal vitamins like iron supplements and folic acid also can help maintain your pregnancy. Avoid smoking or alcohol as they affect fetal development.
- If you have been diagnosed with PCOS or have menstrual irregularities, you may benefit from hormonal support guided by your doctor’s supervision.
- Assisted reproductive techniques as IVF can be helpful as well as they make sure that the implanted embryo is healthy.
Once you know you are pregnant, keep your lower abdomen safe, avoid smoking and alcohol, stay away from vigorous activities, and call your doctor to help maintain your pregnancy.
How to Treat a Chemical Pregnancy?
There is no specific treatment needed after a chemical pregnancy. In most cases, a chemical pregnancy may be missed as it ends too early before causing any pregnancy symptoms as nausea or vomiting.
One thing you can do is visit your doctor to make sure there is no treatable cause as PCOS or a uterine abnormality.
However, what is more important is to recover from the experience of miscarriage. Miscarriage is a difficult experience to go through but always remember that it is neither your or your partner’s fault and there is nothing that you could have done to prevent this from happening.
Give your body the time it needs to recover. Always remember to stay around family and friends to help make you feel better and pull you through.
If you are still feeling depressed, we advise you to contact a professional to help you out.
To sum it up!
A chemical pregnancy is a type of early miscarriage that constitutes 25% of all pregnancies. It does not affect your fertility therefore any upcoming pregnancy trials. The most important thing is to get over this experience with the help of your loved ones and not let it fill you with negative thoughts.