Have you ever had a late period? Noticed that your flow was slightly different, maybe a bit heavier? Perhaps your breasts felt more tender than usual. If you answered yes, then there is a chance you may have had a chemical pregnancy.
Miscarriage Before You Know It
A chemical pregnancy refers to pregnancy loss very early on. In a chemical pregnancy, it is thought that an egg is fertilized but fails to implant. As a result, your body does not begin to produce the obvious signs of pregnancy. Because a chemical pregnancy occurs so early in a pregnancy, most women never even realize they are pregnant. When they receive their period, they just assume they were a few days late.
Women who have been pregnant before, though, may notice that they "feel pregnant" prior to starting their period. Additionally, performing a pregnancy test, either at home or at your doctor’s office, will likely produce an initial positive result. However, this will quickly become a negative as your period approaches and you miscarry.
Just how common a chemical pregnancy is is difficult to say. Because they occur so early on, causing most women to not even be aware that they are pregnant, and don’t produce the same miscarriage symptoms as one would normally experience, a great number of chemical pregnancies go undetected. However, it is estimated that as much as 50% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage before a woman is aware that she was pregnant.
What Causes a Chemical Pregnancy?
In most cases, it is assumed that the miscarriage was a result of chromosomal problems in the fetus. Other factors that can contribute to the miscarriage include an abnormal endometrial lining, uterine abnormalities, or an infection.
Because it is common to not be aware that you are pregnant or have experienced a miscarriage, it is unlikely that you will schedule an appointment with your health care provider for follow-up.
Women who were aware of the pregnancy should have the pregnancy followed to ensure that their hCG levels go down until they produce a negative pregnancy test. Due to the possibility of the pregnancy being an ectopic pregnancy, it is necessary to ensure that a full miscarriage has occurred, even if a woman has had a period.
If an infection is deemed to be the reason for your chemical pregnancy, sometimes antibiotics can be prescribed. This can clear up the infection, helping you to avoid repeated chemical pregnancies.
In general, a chemical pregnancy should not interfere with your ability to become pregnant. However, if you are having recurrent chemical pregnancies, you may want to have the issue investigated by your health care provider.
To help you avoid future miscarriages due to a chemical pregnancy, you may be prescribed vitamin B6, progesterone cream or possibly baby aspirin. While these remedies are not guaranteed to prevent a chemical pregnancy, they may help to lower your risk.