Chemical Pregnancy: What Is It, and What Are the Risks?

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While there are many reasons a chemical pregnancy might happen, for those with recurrent pregnancy loss, the issue may be a more complex genetic cause that increases the risk for miscarriages in general.

Possible Symptoms of Chemical Pregnancies

  • Spotting
  • Bleeding after a positive pregnancy test
  • A late period
  • Heavier cramping around or after you'd expect your period

The symptoms of a chemical pregnancy are very similar to those of a menstrual period.

{ MORE: 3 Conditions Affecting Conception and Pregnancy }

Oftentimes, it is impossible to distinguish between the two. However, blood from a chemical pregnancy is typically lighter than from a period, or even bleeding from implantation. In a study conducted by the Oxford Journal titled “Bleeding Following Pregnancy Loss Before 6 Weeks' Gestation,” that theory is confirmed.

“Pregnancies of very short duration were associated with less bleeding than the woman's typical menses. This might reflect endometrial factors associated with loss.”

Things to Consider

  • Wait until after a missed period to take a pregnancy test so it is more accurate
  • Those doing IVF are more likely to observe a chemical pregnancy
  • A woman's age affects the quality of her eggs and their abilities to implant themselves
  • Chemical pregnancies usually have no effect on future pregnancies

While there are many reasons a chemical pregnancy might happen, for those with recurrent pregnancy loss, the issue may be a more complex genetic cause that increases the risk for miscarriages in general.

“These could be helped by pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) in certain situations. It is important to remember that some chemical pregnancies could also be unrecognized ectopic pregnancies that resolve on their own,” said Dr. Cooper.

Physically, chemical pregnancies generally have no effect on future pregnancies, although they can take an emotional toll on some people, especially those who have been trying to conceive for a while.

{ MORE: How Can My Partner and I Overcome a Miscarriage? }

It is normal for some people to grieve after their loss, while others won't bat an eye. Just remember to offer or seek help if need be. There are many online resources to support those grieving a loss. 

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Chemical Pregnancy: What Is It, and What Are the Risks?

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1 comment

  1. Joanna says:

    Terribly sad, eye opening.

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