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Chemical Pregnancy: Symptoms and Causes

A chemical pregnancy can leave you with a lot of questions and emotions. What causes it? Did I miss the signs and symptoms? Can I get pregnant again after a chemical pregnancy?


CORE Healthcare for Women of Central Georgia is here to answer your questions and provide the care you deserve. Keep reading to learn more about chemical pregnancy.


What is a Chemical Pregnancy?

A chemical pregnancy is an early miscarriage that occurs within the first five weeks of pregnancy. The embryo does form and can implant into the lining of the uterus, but then it stops developing and is eventually miscarried. Chemical pregnancies occur so early that many women don’t even realize it’s happened[1].


The name “chemical pregnancy” comes from the hormones in your body that cause a positive pregnancy test. Within the first five weeks, the embryo will cause your body to produce a hormone called human chorionic gonadotrophic (or hCG). This is the first indication that you’re pregnant. However, once the embryo stops developing, your hCG levels will start to drop[1].


What are the Symptoms of Chemical Pregnancy?

The only way to know for sure whether you’re experiencing a chemical pregnancy is to take a pregnancy test[1]. However, some common symptoms of chemical pregnancy include[1]:


  • A positive pregnancy test without the typical signs of early pregnancy

  • A positive pregnancy test, followed by a negative pregnancy test a few weeks later

  • A positive pregnancy test, followed by your period

  • Your period comes about a week later than normal

  • An unusually heavy period with more painful cramps


What Causes Chemical Pregnancy?

No one knows exactly what causes chemical pregnancy. Healthcare experts believe that sometimes it could be a problem in the embryo’s DNA or genetic makeup. Other times, the embryo can’t implant into the uterus properly and stops growing. Therefore, your hCG levels drop and your next pregnancy test comes back negative[1].


How Common Are Chemical Pregnancies?

Unfortunately, chemical pregnancies are very common. About a quarter of pregnancies naturally end in miscarriage before the first twenty weeks, about 80% of which happen very early[1]. Many women experience a miscarriage without even realizing it[1].


You are more likely to experience a chemical pregnancy if[1]:


  • Your hormone levels are too high or low

  • You have an atypically-shaped uterus

  • You have a thyroid disorder, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), or diabetes

  • You have an STI

  • You’re 35 or older


Can You Get Pregnant After a Chemical Pregnancy?

Having one chemical pregnancy does not mean that you won’t be able to have healthy pregnancies in the future. In fact, many women who have had chemical pregnancies are able to carry future pregnancies to term with no issues[1]. However, if you have repeat chemical pregnancies, you may need to speak to a fertility specialist[1].


Free Pregnancy Services in Central GA

If you think you might be pregnant, don’t wait to get the care you need. CORE Healthcare for Women of Central Georgia provides free pregnancy tests and free ultrasounds, so you can confirm your pregnancy in a safe, confidential environment. Have questions or just need to express your feelings? We can help with that too.


Give us a call at (478) 333-5000 or schedule your free pregnancy test online today! All services are free and confidential.



Sources

  1. Chemical Pregnancy: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment. Cleveland Clinic. (2021, December 11). https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/22188-chemical-pregnancy#management-and-treatment

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