What is a chemical pregnancy?
The term “chemical pregnancy” is actually a bit of a misnomer. This is because it refers to a miscarriage that happens very early on in pregnancy. It typically happens during the first few weeks after conception, typically before the 5th week1.
Basically, what happens is that the egg gets fertilized by the sperm cell, but for one reason or another, the pregnancy doesn’t go through. These types of miscarriage are also common, and some women might not even be aware that it has already happened to them.
Another important thing to know about a chemical pregnancy is that it is not viable. An expectant mother can experience the early symptoms of pregnancy, and even test positive for a pregnancy test if they have a chemical pregnancy2. However, the pregnancy will never push through.
What are the possible causes?
There are a number of possible reasons why a chemical pregnancy happens3.
The first reason could be due to a chromosomal abnormality. What this means is that during the formation of the fetus, there are certain irregularities in the DNA. This could affect the genetic information responsible for the healthy development of a fetus; so if there is an abnormality, the pregnancy can sometimes not push through.
Another possibility is that the woman might not have enough of the hormones necessary for pregnancy. If this is the case, then a miscarriage or a chemical pregnancy can also happen.