Answers to Questions About Chemical Pregnancies

Learn the Facts About Very Early Miscarriages

What are my chances of having a chemical pregnancy? This is one of the common questions women wonder when they hear this term.

"Chemical pregnancy" is a term often used for miscarriages that happen so early that you barely even have time to process that you are pregnant before the loss.

One study that included chemical pregnancies found that the true miscarriage rate is around 31 percent, and it's estimated that up to 75 percent of miscarriages are chemical pregnancies. In other words, chemical pregnancies are extremely common - and are not necessarily cause for concern.

Even though they happen early, chemical pregnancies can be emotionally devastating. Here are some good things to know if you or someone you love has recently had a chemical pregnancy.

What Is a Chemical Pregnancy?

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A chemical pregnancy is a term for a very early miscarriage. It usually occurs before the fifth week of gestation - less than a week after your first missed period.

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What's the Difference Between a Chemical and Clinical Pregnancy?

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A chemical pregnancy is a miscarriage. A clinical pregnancy is a viable pregnancy confirmed by a doctor.

In a chemical pregnancy, the gestational sac is not yet large enough to be visible on an ultrasound before the miscarriage happens. The only way to verify the pregnancy occurred is through blood tests, which are considered biochemical evidence.

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Was My Late Period Really a Chemical Pregnancy?

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Because a chemical pregnancy can look like a late period, many women who have one don't even realize it. If you see a doctor soon enough after the bleeding, he or she may be able to verify with tests that it was a miscarriage and not menstrual bleeding.

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Was I Ever Really Pregnant?

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Although it might look like a false positive pregnancy test result, a chemical pregnancy does mean that a conception occurred. The loss simply occurred very early.

You may be able to verify this by taking a home pregnancy test during or right after your bleeding. If the test indicates that you are pregnant (which it still might if you very recently miscarried), and then a repeat test a week later shows that you are not pregnant, you may safely assume that you had a chemical pregnancy.

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What Causes Chemical Pregnancies? Was It My Fault?

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Chemical pregnancies aren't well understood, but most doctors believe they are caused by random chromosome problems in the sperm or egg. Again, up to 75 percent of miscarriages may be chemical pregnancies. If you had a chemical pregnancy, it wasn't your fault.

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Is It Normal to Feel This Sad About a Chemical Pregnancy?

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Even though you might have known about the pregnancy only for a day or two, it still hurts to miscarry, and you are not alone if you are grieving deeply. Feel free to share your story - a read those of women like you - here.

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Will My Next Pregnancy Be OK?

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If you have had one miscarriage, the chances are high that your next pregnancy will be normal. If you have had more than one miscarriage, you can most likely still have a normal pregnancy, but it may be a good idea to talk to a doctor about some testing to rule out potentially treatable causes of recurrent miscarriages

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