Only a few of us heard or know something about chemical pregnancy. But, as medics say, every third woman experiences it. What is more, it can happen multiple times during your life. So what is it?
What is a chemical pregnancy?
In brief, a chemical pregnancy is the kind of pregnancy that doesn’t develop and aborts itself. This pregnancy is condemned to failure; it can’t go on despite its good start. The fertilized egg moves towards the uterus and even implants there. But instead of further growth and development, it is rejected by the body and taken out together with blood discharge.
A miscarriage happens approximately in two weeks after the conception, in other words – almost right away after the egg implantation. At this point, neither gynecologist nor ultrasonic examination are capable of diagnosing pregnancy because of the tiny size of a future embryo. And this is the major difference between chemical pregnancy and common pregnancy. Because if the pregnancy is diagnosed “officially”, that is noticed by the doctor and its time period is named, then even if it is aborted spontaneously it will be considered as a miscarriage.
But still, in very rare cases some ultrasensitive pregnancy tests are capable of indicating the vague second line. It happens due to the temporary increase of the pregnancy chorionic gonadotropin hormone (hCG). It is synthesized by the embryo.
Chemical pregnancy hCG level
If the woman is planning her pregnancy or is treated from infertility and takes blood tests regularly, she will most likely learn about chemical pregnancy. The special chorionic gonadotropic hormone is synthesized by the chorion or the membrane of the embryo immediately after the conception. Its level rises quickly and in one week hCG can be found by blood tests, and in 7-10 more days – in pregnant woman’s urine.
You are pregnant if the blood test indicates the concentration of hCG as 5-6 mIU/ml or higher. But as for the chemical pregnancy, the increased indicators start to lower rapidly – the consequences of a miscarriage. In a few more days neither blood tests nor pregnancy tests will be positive – there is not a trace remained of the pregnancy and your next periods start.
Chemical pregnancy symptoms
As you might already guess, to suspect or even learn about chemical pregnancy can only the woman who expects to get pregnant month after month and tracks the hCG level in any case of even the slightly missed periods. Can the other women recognize the chemical pregnancy symptoms without the test?
Very unlikely. If the woman didn’t even suspected that she was pregnant, she won’t be able to know it. Because the chemical pregnancy is not accompanied by any distinctive features as changes in a mammary gland, increased nipples sensitivity, the increased sense of smell or changes in appetite, mood or any other.
If there are reasons to think that you were pregnant, then chemical pregnancy can be thought of in case of:
- slightly missed periods (after the chemical pregnancy they start later than usual, in a week at its most);
- unusually painful periods;
- increased amount of blood clots (more than usual) during the periods.
But keep in mind that these symptoms can only indirectly indicate that chemical pregnancy took place. Besides, very often these symptoms are absent at all.
Chemical pregnancy causes
So, the specialist examined the existence and the nature of the phenomenon, but the main question remains unanswered: why the chemical pregnancy happens in the first place or why the pregnancy even becomes chemical? What causes a chemical pregnancy? What are the reasons for this malfunction?
The factors that change the pregnancy are not set. There is no doubt that the scientists think about the dysfunctions in mother’s body or the egg as a prime cause. And it is likely that if there is any kind of pathology the further embryo development is impossible.
Among the most probable causes of chemical pregnancy the doctors name:
- immune and autoimmune diseases making the body reject “alien” cells of the fetal egg;
- hormonal misbalance in the woman’s body, more often – lack of progesterone hormone which is essential to maintain and develop pregnancy properly;
- some blood diseases;
- the growth of incompatible with life embryo cells.
How to prevent chemical pregnancy? Is there a way?
Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent a chemical pregnancy. The female body controls this process because of the evolutionary need to eliminate the possibility of defective offspring. The chances of chemical pregnancy are quite high – about 40% of early pregnancies end in miscarriages.
Is there a difference between an implantation bleeding and chemical pregnancy bleeding?
The implantation bleeding when an embryo fastens to the uterine wall is very light and lasts for a short period of time (it’s rather spotting than bleeding). The chemical pregnancy bleeding is usually heavy and painful. How long does chemical pregnancy bleeding last? Well, you shouldn’t still bleed if a week has passed. It’s usually going on for as long as your normal menstruation.
Chemical pregnancy treatment
A chemical pregnancy is not a disease. So it doesn’t need treatment. The miscarriage in early pregnancy terms happens without complications for your health and doesn’t need any medical intervention (intake of drugs, vacuum aspiration, etc.). The reproductive system recovers very quickly by itself.
But if chemical pregnancy is a repetitive case you’ll need to visit a gynecologist and find the reasons for early miscarriages. Eliminating the causes of chemical pregnancy is a key to a healthy full-term childbearing process. So, don’t hesitate to ask for help. The doctor will perform a number of examinations and tests and choose a right course of treatment.
In some cases, it’s impossible to treat this condition. Then a woman usually chooses in vitro fertilization.
IVF and chemical pregnancy
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is an innovative means of treating infertility. The point of this method is to fertilize an egg by sperm in a glass vial rather than a fallopian tube. After the fertilization medical experts monitor the dividing zygote for 3-5 days and then the embryo is placed into the uterus where it implants in its wall. Then the embryo is developing as usual (as if it’s been naturally conceived).
Gynecologists have noticed that after IVF chemical pregnancy chances become higher. You can blame the huge number of hormones a woman should take for IVF to be successful. Or the artificial stimulation of the ovulation, which is necessary for the activity of a few egg cells at once so that the expert could choose the best embryo after IVF, triggers chemical pregnancy. One way or the other, if after IVF chemical pregnancy has been detected you can try the procedure again only after three menstrual cycles. During this period of time, a couple should undergo an additional examination that will determine the reasons for failure. It can be a blood coagulation test, a consultation with a geneticist, etc.
However, after three menstrual cycles, the IVF has every chance to be successful. And there is more, a woman can conceive naturally because her body is perfectly ready for fertilization and childbearing. That’s why doctors recommend that the women who had an unsuccessful IVF attempt don’t waste any time and try to conceive naturally.
Further pregnancy and planning
Some women may think that chemical pregnancy is a kind of sentence. But don’t dramatize. In most cases a proper physical pregnancy with a happy ending (the childbirth) can occur right in the next cycle after the chemical pregnancy. There is no need to undergo a special treatment or any preparations. And don’t mourn: such an embryo doesn’t stand a chance to survive, and because of it the miscarriage is unavoidable.
However, gynecologists make an accent of the following fact: if the woman experiences chemical pregnancy time after time, we can speak about habitual miscarrying of pregnancy which requires a complete examination of both parents and a special treatment.
If you pay attention to that matter and take steps to learn about the chemical pregnancy in time, it all will end well. You have to believe, hope and not make mistakes.
Anyway, remember that a spontaneous miscarriage in early pregnancy terms doesn’t lead to any complications and doesn’t affect female reproductive health. So, continue trying to conceive and believe in success!