What Is A Chemical Pregnancy?

early miscarriages
What Are Chemical Pregnancies?

What a chemical pregnancy is NOT, is a false pregnancy or a false positive result on a pregnancy test. A chemical pregnancy is a real pregnancy but one which ends very early. In fact it ends almost before it even really begins. The egg is fertilized as normal, and begins to implant in the womb ready for a spurt of growth. But for some reason it never completes the process of implantation. Instead it is washed out of the body with the next menstrual bleed. When this happens some women may notice a slightly heavier period than normal with small clots in the blood. It is estimated that 70 percent of pregnancies are chemical - and as they typically end before a period is due, most women are not aware they were even pregnant. However with the advent of home pregnancy tests - particularly the ultra sensitive ones which can predict a pregnancy 2 or 3 days before your period is due - awareness is growing. Although the first test may be positive, once the pregnancy has been lost, the next test will be negative. This has to be one of the downside to such testing. Emotionally it can be very upsetting to women who may feel a loss which they would never have been aware of in the past.

What Causes Them?

Scientists are not really sure, but they think it may be Mother Nature's way of rejecting embryos with chromosome deficiencies. In other words, the embryo may not have been viable or capable of developing into a full-grown healthy baby.

So It's A Fine Line?

Anecdotally some women who experienced a chemical pregnancy report that their pregnancy test result had a very faint line. But when they went on to experience a healthy pregnancy, the line (taken in the same timeframe) was much stronger and darker. However it must be noted that faint lines can also be to do with the quality of the test itself. Some tests are more sensitive in picking up pregnancy hormones (HCG) than others. To check your test, look for the milli-international units per liter (mIU/L) measurement. The lower the number (around 20 mIU/L), the more sensitive the test and the sooner it will be able to tell you if you are pregnant or not (less sensitive kits measure around 50 mIU/L).

Related Questions
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Issues On Fertility And Trying For A Baby
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Other Fertility Methods
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Questions on Pregnancy Complications
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• Need more information about pregnancy? See: Pregnancy Guide and Pregnancy Complications
• Got another question? See: Womens Health Questions

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