Understanding a chemical pregnancy and its many risks are important to get through this difficult period successfully.
Anyone who has ever suffered through a chemical pregnancy knows how difficult it can be to understand. However, those who have never had one may not fully gauge their significance. While not the most dangerous or problematic health problem that could affect pregnant women, they can be troublesome if they aren’t carefully understood or assessed.
What is a Chemical Pregnancy?
Chemical pregnancies are very early miscarriages that occur after a woman tests positive for pregnancy. They occur before anything can be seen on the ultrasound, though. In total, they account for 50 to 75 percent of all miscarriages and are common before week 20. In most cases, they are likely to occur a week or two after the initial impregnation. In some instances, a woman may not have even realized she was pregnant before the miscarriage.
What may be most surprising is how often these types of miscarriages occur. While it was already mentioned that a high number of all miscarriages are chemical pregnancies, it is also estimated that up to 70 percent of all conceptions end in this way. As a result, a high number of all pregnancies will end in the first few weeks or months, leaving no evidence of its occurrence.
What Causes This Problem?
Any number of influences can cause chemical pregnancies. They can be caused by infectious diseases such as syphilis, untreated thyroid problems, issues with the uterus, varying hormone levels and even problems such as implantation outside of the uterus. Sometimes, the sperm will reach an egg outside of this area and cause a brief, but doomed, pregnancy.
Another common cause is chromosomal abnormalities. It is estimated that about half of all chemical pregnancies are due to this condition. Many kinds of defects are likely to cause the mother’s body to reject the fetus and miscarry, so it is important to get tested for these problems as soon as possible.
Who is at Risk of Developing Them?
Women who are going through their first pregnancy are at a higher danger of developing chemical pregnancies. However, women above the age of 40 are also at an increased risk. Age is probably the most common factor for developing this problem, though hormonal problems, infections and health problems with the mother can also influence the development.
Poor lifestyle decisions are another contributing factor. Women who smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, enjoy excessive amounts of caffeine or eat poorly increase their risk of chemical pregnancies. Some think that sex during pregnancy and moderate exercise may contribute to this issue, but these factors are controversial and not yet proven scientifically.
How is it Treated?
Chemical pregnancies are typically not treated. They rarely, if ever, cause any serious health concern. However, it is a good idea to get them diagnosed to ensure that the expectant mother understands what caused her miscarriage. In this way, she can be assured that her behavior didn’t cause the loss. For many, this is a comforting thought during a hard time.
Diagnostic methods include running hCG hormone tests to see if the body is high in this hormone. Low levels after a miscarriage indicate a chemical pregnancy. While the levels will fall after any miscarriage, they will be noticeably lower after chemical pregnancies. In most instances, the woman will have what appears to be a substantial period, which indicates the miscarriage.
However, in a slight number of cases, the bleeding will not stop. In cases like these, the doctor will inspect the interior of the uterus to find any lingering tissue. They must then remove this tissue carefully to ensure that the bleeding stops and the vaginal area doesn’t get infected. The emotional devastation of this type of miscarriage may be high though, so psychological treatment may be necessary.
As you can see, chemical pregnancies are very common. That said, they can be a heartbreaking moment for a young mother. This pain is especially prominent in women who are going through their first pregnancy. Psychological therapy may help anyone who is suffering from mental anguish after this type of miscarriage.
Related Content: Spotting in Early Pregnancy
There are many changes that happen to the body during a normal pregnancy. A first time experience with something like spotting or light bleeding during pregnancy can wreak havoc on the expectant mother’s nerves. Spotting in early pregnancy is a good example of something that can be entirely normal as part of pregnancy in the first stages. Yet, spotting can also be a sign of a problem. It is important to understand when everything is likely fine, when a doctor should be called or when an emergency is in progress.