What is Chemical Pregnancy? Symptoms, Causes & More

A chemical pregnancy is a condition that may occur after a failure of conception. It happens when the body produces hormones in response to the artificial introduction of sperm, but subsequently fails to notice that fertilization did not take place. It is different from biological pregnancies and miscarriages, both of which are much more common than chemical pregnancies.

In this article, you will learn more about chemical pregnancies and how they differ from biological pregnancies, miscarriages, and false positives. You will also discover what causes them and when you should seek medical attention if you think you might be experiencing one.

What is a Chemical Pregnancy?

A chemical pregnancy is a condition in which the body begins the process of pregnancy, but the pregnancy ends early such that no embryo is implanted into the uterus. Chemical pregnancies are generally caused by failed implantation of the embryo into the uterine wall. This can occur for many reasons. Chemical pregnancies are much less common than miscarriages, which occur in about 10% of all pregnancies. This makes chemical pregnancies much rarer than miscarriages, but still not uncommon.

The terms “chemical pregnancy” and “chemical miscarriage” are different, but many people use them interchangeably. They're basically just another way of saying “failed pregnancy.” When a woman's body first starts to produce pregnancy hormones, it can be difficult to tell the difference between a chemical pregnancy and a biological pregnancy.

Because these pregnancies are often so short, the body doesn't have a chance to show the telltale signs of a biological pregnancy like a positive pregnancy test, fetal heartbeat, or pregnant-feeling breasts.

How Does it Differ from a Miscarriage?

Unlike miscarriages, chemical pregnancies are not a result of any issue with the fetus but of a problem with the implantation of the fertilized egg in the uterine wall. This means that there is no fetal tissue present during a chemical pregnancy. Rather than being an abnormal physiological process, miscarriages are a natural part of reproduction.

Chemical pregnancies are instead caused by a problem with the way the body responds to conception. Chemical pregnancies are often categorized with miscarriages because they are both early pregnancy losses. However, there are some key differences between them.

What are the Causes of a Chemical Pregnancy?

A chemical pregnancy may be caused by a range of factors. It is important to note, however, that most of these factors can also lead to a biological miscarriage. Chemical pregnancies are likely caused by one or more of the following:

How is Chemical Pregnancy Diagnosed?

A chemical pregnancy will likely go unnoticed, but if you notice any of the symptoms associated with a chemical pregnancy and have recently experienced unprotected intercourse, it is best to visit your doctor. Chemical pregnancies are diagnosed through the analysis of hormone levels in a woman’s blood.

This is usually done via a blood or urine sample. While a chemical pregnancy may not be detected by a standard pregnancy test, it will leave traces of hormones in the blood that can be detected by a doctor.

Tips to Help You Detect a Chemical Pregnancy

  • If you have been trying to conceive for more than 6 months without success, be sure to visit your doctor.
  • Keep track of when you ovulate. This can help you determine when you are most likely to conceive.
  • Keep track of your menstrual cycle. While you may not expect to have a period during a chemical pregnancy, it is important to track the length of your cycles.
  • If you have recently engaged in unprotected sex, take note of any symptoms you may be experiencing. These may be more significant than you think.
  • Visit your doctor if you notice any of the symptoms of a chemical pregnancy. It may just be a false positive, but it’s better to err on the side of caution.

Conclusion: How to Prevent Chemical Pregnancy

A chemical pregnancy is a condition in which the body begins the process of pregnancy, but the pregnancy ends early such that no embryo is implanted into the uterus. Chemical pregnancies are caused by a problem with the way the body responds to conception such that the embryo does not implant in the uterine wall.

A chemical pregnancy is different from a biological pregnancy, which ends in either a miscarriage or a live birth, and from a chemical miscarriage, which ends in a failed pregnancy. If you experience any of the symptoms of a chemical pregnancy and have engaged in unprotected sex recently, you should visit your doctor to discuss the possibility of a chemical pregnancy.

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