What Is A Chemical Pregnancy?

What Is A Chemical Pregnancy?

Have you ever gone for a pregnancy test that turned out positive, then changed to negative later? You might have experienced a chemical pregnancy.

Seeing your period is just a week after you tested positive for pregnancy can be terrifying and distressing. What may have happened is what professionals call a chemical pregnancy. It is more rampant than many think. 

A chemical pregnancy is an early pregnancy loss that occurs shortly after implantation. Chemical pregnancies may account for 75 per cent of all miscarriages. Doctors can confirm if you had a chemical pregnancy by testing your blood. Chemical pregnancies occur before ultrasounds can detect a fetus, but not too early for a pregnancy test to detect levels of hCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, which is a hormone created by the embryo after implantation. 

What Causes A Chemical Pregnancy?

How Does A Chemical pregnancy occur

A chemical pregnancy happens when a fertilised egg implants in your uterus and the cell that would later become placenta start to produce enough levels of the pregnancy hormone to be detected if a blood or urine test takes place. But then, implantation doesn't happen and ultrasound won't be able to detect a placenta developing. This causes bleeding around a week after testing positive to a pregnancy test. 

What are the causes and risk factors of chemical pregnancy?

The cause of chemical pregnancy is hard to determine, but there are potential causes and contributing factors. Keep scrolling to find out.

Uterine abnormalities:

When there is uterine fibroids or abnormalities in your uterine lining, it can keep the embryo from implanting in your uterus. 

  • Low body mass:

Women with low body mass (underweight) are more likely to experience early miscarriages. 

  • Chromosomal abnormalities:

If there are irregularities in your chromosome arrangement, it may stop the fetus from developing. This is the leading cause of early pregnancy loss.

  • Low hormone levels:

To support the growth of the fetus, your body needs a high level of hormones like the progesterone

  • Advanced maternal age:

If you're 35 and above, you may be finding it difficult to get and stay pregnant.  

Symptoms of a chemical pregnancy

Symptoms of chemical pregnancy

Chemical pregnancy does always have symptoms, but when it does they may include:

  • Bleeding that happens close to when you're expecting your period or shortly after.
  • Mild abdominal cramping 

Is every false pregnancy test due to chemical pregnancy?

A chemical pregnancy is one of the causes of false pregnancy, but that is not always the case. According to Jessica Shepherd, M.D., a minimally invasive gynaecologist at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, it’s hard for doctors to say how many false positives are due to chemical pregnancies specifically since there are quite a few other reasons why you might see a positive result when you’re not clinically pregnant.

Other reasons include using expired test, having the kind of pregnancy where fertilised eggs attach outside the uterus (ectopic pregnancy), being on fertility medication that contains hCG, and having some leftover hCG in your system after given birth, Dr Shepherd says. Also, menopause is another reason. 

Pregnancy tests at home are more correct. Do it a week after your missed period, because it lets your hCG to rise to a level at which it can be detected easily. You may get a false positive if you allow the test to stay for a long time.

How soon can you get pregnant again after a chemical pregnancy?

Unless your doctor advises otherwise, you can try to get pregnant again immediately after a chemical pregnancy. You can ovulate as early as two weeks after, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. 

A chemical pregnancy is an indication that your embryo reached the pre-implantation stage. So this is a vote of confidence that you can get pregnant again in the future. 

The loss of a pregnancy at any stage can cause grief that is difficult to bear. So seek support from a doctor, a counsellor, family, or even support groups online. You must try to remember that it is not your fault. Even though it happened three times in a row you can still be able to conceive a healthy baby. With every chemical pregnancy see the doctor, so he can help you rule out any underlying health problems. 

Read also: There’s a cryptic pregnancy scam going on in Nigeria, Nigerian doctor says

Source: Healthline

Written by

Lydia Ume