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Chemical Pregnancy-Causes, symptoms & Treatment

Many women suffer miscarriages. If you have been trying to get pregnant, chances are that you noticed the delay in pregnancy, took a home pregnancy test, and saw two clear lines or a faint second line, partially confirming your pregnancy. Many women test negative for pregnancy soon after a positive test. What could the reason be? Could it be a chemical pregnancy? Do you know what it is? Read on to find out.

Book an online appointment with Dr. Sandya M R for Pregnancy & Gynecology related issues.

What is Chemical Pregnancy?

An early loss of pregnancy, even before an ultrasound can detect a fetus, is known as a chemical pregnancy. Doctors wait up to 8 weeks or sometimes even 10 weeks before they take an ultrasound to see the fetus. This is because, though your blood and urine will contain hCG soon after your missed period, the foetus needs some time to grow big enough to be detected in an ultrasound.

If you lose the pregnancy before this ultrasound or soon after your positive home pregnancy test, it is known as a chemical pregnancy. While miscarriages can happen up to the 20th week of pregnancy if you miscarry soon after the implantation, it is a chemical pregnancy.

Chemical pregnancy, also known as biochemical pregnancy is the loss of pregnancy in the 5th week itself. It is very common and accounts for more than 50% of the reported miscarriages.

Chemical Pregnancy Symptoms

Most women do not realise they had a chemical pregnancy. The only obvious symptom is their late period. However, since it is a very early miscarriage, in many cases, the pregnancy loss occurs even before the woman can take a home pregnancy test.

Some women with regular menstrual cycles or those who are trying to get pregnant, may take a home pregnancy test soon after a missed period and test positive. In such cases, the most common chemical pregnancy symptoms are.

  • Menstrual cramps
  • Heavy bleeding with clots
  • Period-like bleeding after a positive pregnancy test
  • Delayed period
  • Lack of common pregnancy symptoms despite a positive test result

What Causes Chemical Pregnancy?

Since a chemical pregnancy is a very early miscarriage, in many cases it goes unnoticed and so, the reason can remain unknown. Some of the common causes and risk factors for a chemical pregnancy are:

  1. Abnormalities in the embryo
  2. Genetic abnormalities in the sperm
  3. Diabetes where blood glucose levels are very high
  4. The uterine lining is very thin for the embryo to implant successfully
  5. Hormonal imbalances
  6. Medical issues or infections (syphilis, chlamydia, etc.)
  7. Ectopic pregnancy (implantation outside the uterus)
  8. Failed IVF
  9. The woman is over 35 years of age
  10. Clotting disorder
  11. Very low body weight

Unfortunately, you cannot prevent a chemical pregnancy. You could experience a chemical pregnancy the very first time you conceive or even have repeated chemical pregnancies. Just because you are in the high-risk category for a chemical pregnancy (low body weight, health complications or around 40 years of age), does not mean you will definitely have a chemical pregnancy.

So, it is difficult to predict a chemical pregnancy and you cannot prevent something from happening when you can’t predict its occurrence. A chemical pregnancy is your body’s way of rejecting a pregnancy that is not healthy enough. Only healthy embryos will securely implant and develop into a foetus.

Recovering From a Chemical Pregnancy

Though a chemical pregnancy could be better than miscarrying at a later stage or other complications with the fetus or the baby after birth, it is still a loss. You have lost what could’ve been your child. Keeping aside all medical definitions and explanations, a loss is a loss and it is bound to hit some expecting parents, worse than others.

After a chemical pregnancy, your body and mind need to recover before you can get pregnant again. Here are a few tips to help you recover emotionally:

  • Accept the loss and give yourself time to process it rather than trying to ignore it
  • Stop blaming yourself for the loss and understand you had no control over it
  • Share your pain and concerns with your partner or someone close rather than holding it all in
  • Speak to a therapist or join a support group if necessary

Here is what you can do medically, to recover from your chemical pregnancy

  • Seek medical counsel to know the reason behind the chemical pregnancy and if you could do something to improve your chances the next time
  • If you have suffered repeated pregnancy losses, consult a fertility specialist
  • If you have other medical conditions, seek treatments for those conditions first
  • Follow the doctor’s orders and give yourself the recommended time before you try to conceive again.
  • Follow a healthy diet and adopt a healthy lifestyle, to become healthier and stronger for your next pregnancy.

Also Read : Bleeding after Miscarriage: All you need to know

Treatment for Chemical Pregnancy

Most chemical pregnancies do not require treatment. It happens very early and your body will recover on its own. However, if you have suffered 3 such losses, you can consider these options:

  • Consult a fertility specialist to identify if there is a health issue leading to the chemical pregnancies
  • Get treated for any pre-existing medical condition that could be causing the chemical pregnancies.

Period After Chemical Pregnancy

Now, the biggest concern is your menstrual cycle. Will your chemical pregnancy affect your menstrual cycle in any way? When to expect your period after a chemical pregnancy?

A chemical pregnancy is a very early miscarriage that happens around the 5th week after your last period. You can expect your next period within 4 to 6 weeks after the chemical pregnancy.

So, your chemical pregnancy will be around the 5th week after the last period, resulting in a little more bleeding and cramping than usual. The next period will be in the next 4 to 6 weeks, which again will be similar to your regular menstrual cycle timeline. You may not see much of a change in your cycle.

Ovulation After Chemical Pregnancy

In most cases, women will ovulate two weeks after their chemical pregnancy. Unless your doctor specifically asks you to wait, you can go ahead and try conceiving right away. Many couples are ready to try immediately after their loss and can get pregnant as early as the following month.


A chemical pregnancy is quite common. However, neither can you foresee it or prevent it from happening. It is not your fault and you can successfully conceive again. With a little time, patience and understanding of your own body, you can reduce the risk of a chemical pregnancy and increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.


1. How many days does chemical pregnancy last?

· When you have a chemical pregnancy, you will bleed more than you would during your period. The bleeding will be a little more, maybe with clots and can last a few days. It differs from woman to woman.

2. What is the main cause of chemical pregnancy?

· When the embryo is not healthy enough to implant and develop into a fetus, it results in a chemical pregnancy. When the embryo’s DNA is not strong enough, it prevents it from developing further.

3. Was I actually pregnant if I had a chemical pregnancy?

· Yes, a chemical pregnancy is the loss of pregnancy at around 5 weeks. It happens when the embryo tries to attach to the uterine wall. So, your body will produce hCG – the pregnancy hormone, which can be detected in various pregnancy tests.

4. What are the signs of a chemical pregnancy?

· Signs of a chemical pregnancy are very similar to a regular menstrual cycle. You may bleed more and for longer, have cramps, etc. This biggest sign is a negative pregnancy test soon after a positive test result.

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