You may feel overwhelmed if you had a positive pregnancy test, but then feel confused if you think you experienced a chemical pregnancy. As your questions stir a range of emotions, know that you don’t have to figure it out on your own! 


At Pregnancy Resource Center, we want to provide the care you need as you process the possibility of a chemical pregnancy. 


What is a chemical pregnancy? 

A chemical pregnancy is an early miscarriage that typically occurs in the first four to five weeks of pregnancy. 


About two weeks after the first day of her last period (LMP), a woman ovulates. Then, if a sperm fertilizes the egg, an embryo develops and will implant into the lining of the woman’s uterus. If the embryo does not continue to develop or implant into the uterus and instead miscarries, then a woman has had a chemical pregnancy. Eventually the woman’s body expels the embryo and the lining of her uterus. 


Why are they called chemical pregnancies? 

The term “chemical pregnancy” may sound harsh, but it means that the only sign of pregnancy is the presence of the hormone called human chorionic gonadotrophic (or hCG). In a chemical pregnancy a woman may have an initially positive home urine test, but no other pregnancy symptoms.


What are the symptoms of a chemical pregnancy? 

Many women may not know they had a chemical pregnancy because it occurs around the time of her period. Possible signs of a chemical pregnancy include:  


  • A positive pregnancy test at home without any pregnancy symptoms (such as fatigue, breast tenderness, or nausea), followed by a negative pregnancy test a few days later. 
  • A positive pregnancy test but then the return of your period. Sometimes the period may be heavier with more cramping than normal. 


It’s also important that you take a home pregnancy test correctly. Call Pregnancy Resource Center for free pregnancy testing


Can my doctor tell me if I’ve had a chemical pregnancy? 

If a doctor suspects a chemical pregnancy, he or she may order multiple hCG levels to check for the pregnancy hormone in the blood. In a normally developing pregnancy, the hCG levels will increase rapidly over 48 hours, but in a chemical pregnancy the levels decline.


Sometimes, a doctor may use an ultrasound, but the uterus will not show evidence of a chemical pregnancy.


What could cause a chemical pregnancy? 

Healthcare experts assume that more women experience chemical pregnancies but don’t know because they never experience symptoms. Chemical pregnancies could be caused by genetic problems in the embryo, a woman’s hormonal imbalances, or uterine abnormalities that prevent implantation. Most of these causes are outside of a woman’s control. Women who suspect a chemical pregnancy should speak with their healthcare provider.  


How common are chemical pregnancies? 

Miscarriage occurs in about 10 of 100 known pregnancies. However, because many women don’t know they’re experiencing a chemical pregnancy, the numbers could be higher.


Is a chemical pregnancy a real pregnancy? 

A chemical pregnancy is a ‘real’ pregnancy because a woman’s body changes for a fertilized embryo. Women (and men) may still experience grief and confusion with a chemical pregnancy. 


What happens after a chemical pregnancy? 

After a chemical pregnancy, women experience period-like bleeding and cramping. Sometimes it is a little heavier and more painful. If you are experiencing severe bleeding or cramping you should seek medical attention immediately. 


Can I get pregnant after a chemical pregnancy? 

Women who experience one chemical pregnancy often go on to have healthy pregnancies in the future. In fact, you may be able to conceive again a few weeks after your chemical pregnancy. But, if you’re concerned about your ability to get pregnant again, speak to your healthcare provider. 


Every woman experiences a chemical pregnancy differently. Some women feel relieved, while others feel deep grief. Regardless of how you feel, contact the Pregnancy Resource Center. We offer miscarriage support and a safe, confidential space to process your feelings.. We are here to walk with you as you seek health, healing, and hope! Schedule your appointment with us today by calling 865-977-8378! 

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