By definition a chemical pregnancy is a very early pregnancy loss which accounts for up to 75% of all miscarriages. Many times, a woman might have a chemical pregnancy and not even realize she had been pregnant.
Wait. How does that work?
About three weeks after your last menstrual period you begin to produce levels of the pregnancy hormone hCG that are high enough to detect on a blood or urine test. If you are not actively taking pregnancy tests you may not ever know you were pregnant to begin with and you will begin your cycle not knowing you had been pregnant.
Chemical Pregnancies are more easily tracked and detected if you are doing fertility treatments because of the early hCG testing that happens after and IUI or round of IVF.
Once the fertilized egg implants in the uterus it can somehow not complete implantation — and an ultrasound won’t be able to detect a gestational sac or placenta developing — which then results in the bleeding around a week after your regular period was due.
If you have heavy bleeding (with or without cramping) after a positive pregnancy test, call your doctor right away, as you may be experiencing a chemical pregnancy.
Why Does it Happen
When an egg and a sperm combine chromosomes it then goes on to form a zygote, which begins to grow through rapid cell division. When that happens there are occasionally mistakes that happen. Sometimes producing too many chromosomes or not enough. This can occur randomly and can happen to anyone.
The Emotional Side
While many women may never know they are experiencing a chemical pregnancy, only thinking their cycle was a little late- there are many women who are aware that they have lost a pregnancy and are having a chemical pregnancy.
It doesn’t matter at what stage your loss is- a loss is still devastating.
There might be people who don’t understand why you may be grieving so much over an early loss but please know that your feelings are valid and important. It is natural to feel upset and to grieve.
For most, the moment you find out you are pregnant you may start imagining your life with that baby and become instantly attached. If you are going through fertility treatments or hormones a loss might be even more heartbreaking because of the underlining issues of infertility and how difficult it might be to conceive in the first place.
Be sure to take care of yourself emotionally and psychically and allow yourself to feel the emotions and to grieve this loss.
If you are worried or concerned that you might be having a chemical pregnancy please reach out to your doctor.