Understanding Chemical Pregnancy

Helping Those Suffering from Very Early Miscarriages

What is a chemical pregnancy?
What is a common cause of recurrent chemical pregnancy?
When do you know you've had a chemical pregnancy?
What are the physical and emotional effects of a chemical pregnancy?
Can a chemical pregnancy be avoided?
Who should I see for recurrent chemical pregnancy?


The top question for any woman who has experienced one or more miscarriage(s) is, "can it be avoided or prevented?" The early end of a pregnancy can be a truly heart-breaking experience. Having a baby is a desire that many women have. Seeing the positive result of a pregnancy test—even if it is faint—can instill great hope in a woman that her dreams are coming true. When she receives her period a few days later, those hopes may be dashed.

What is a Chemical Pregnancy?

A chemical pregnancy refers to a miscarriage that occurs very early in a pregnancy. This usually involves a positive pregnancy test, without a sign of a pregnancy seen on an ultrasound before the miscarriage occurred.

Some causes of chemical pregnancies include:

  • Progesterone deficiency
  • Chromosomal problems
  • Blighted ovum
  • Uterine abnormalities
  • Inadequate uterine lining
  • Low hormone levels
  • Luteal phase defect

Chemical pregnancies are quite common and most occur without women ever knowing they are pregnant. It is referred to as a “chemical” pregnancy because it was detected by testing for the pregnancy hormone hCG (a biological chemical).

What Is A Common Cause Of Recurrent Chemical Pregnancy?

There are a number of reasons a woman may experience recurrent chemical pregnancies. One of the most common reasons is a progesterone deficiency. This hormone is produced by the ovaries when an egg is released from an ovary. The purpose of the hormone is to prepare the lining of the uterus. When the uterus is properly prepared, it can receive a fertilized egg. During a pregnancy, progesterone levels are about 10 times higher than normal.

Many woman experience recurrent chemical pregnancies because of improper progesterone levels and are able to bring a pregnancy to full term once their levels are fixed. This is commonly done with a cream.

When Do You Know You've Had A Chemical Pregnancy?

A chemical pregnancy will occur within the first five weeks after conception. It is identified when a woman tests faintly positive on a pregnancy test around the time of her first missed period. Despite the outcome of the test, the women will receive her period a few days later, accompanied by some intense cramping —an indication that the pregnancy has ended.

What Are The Emotional & Physical Effects of a Chemical Pregnancy?

If you have experienced a chemical pregnancy, you know how difficult it is to undergo such an experience. In many ways, such a loss can be difficult to react to. Because these women had just found out about the pregnancy, the emotional attachment may not be present just yet. For some women, though, the attachment may have already developed and is rather strong. If you are saddened by the loss, it is entirely appropriate to grieve. If you do not feel the necessity to grieve, that is appropriate as well.

Regardless of how you respond emotionally, you must be sure to tend to your health after a chemical pregnancy. Though most chemical pregnancies will naturally be flushed out, it is recommended that you meet with your doctor to make sure everything is ok. You will also want to make sure that your hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) levels return to a pre-conception level. If you want to try again, most doctors will say that you do not have to wait for a certain amount of recovery time; however, it may be beneficial to wait for three months like you would for a normal miscarriage.

Can a Chemical Pregnancy Be Avoided?

Effective treatment starts with accurate diagnosis. The likelihood of your getting pregnant after a miscarriage or chemical pregnancy, even in cases where you have suffered this multiple times can be increased by finding and treating the correct issue. For example, you may be able to enter into a vitamin therapy program or use progesterone cream to help your hormone levels, or if you have an infection, simple antibiotics can clear up the problem. At Braverman IVF & Reproductive Immunology, our team of recurrent pregnancy loss doctors has resolved many cases which were considered untreatable or incredibly complicated through effective diagnosis and treatment.

There is no universal cure for a chemical pregnancy. A pregnancy loss may be caused by a variety of problems—and a solution has to be specific to the individual woman. It can be difficult to predict when a pregnancy will end early and therefore take measures to prevent it from happening. There are a few options available to you though. Depending on the underlying cause of your pregnancy difficulties, you may be able to help improve your situation through some lifestyle changes.

Recommended lifestyle when attempting to get pregnant includes:

  • Eating healthy
  • A consistent exercise plan
  • Managing stress
  • Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, or consuming caffeine

If you have experienced a chemical pregnancy or are facing recurrent chemical pregnancy, you must remember that every case is unique. There may be a combination of factors that are causing this problem and no simple formula or guide will give you all the answers you need. The best way to find out what is actually going on is by contacting a doctor who specializes in pregnancy loss.

Who Should I See For Recurrent Chemical Pregnancy

An experienced reproductive immunologist. The best way to determine the underlying source of your recurrent chemical pregnancies is to contact Braverman IVF & Reproductive Immunology. Our clinic has been voted the best infertility practice on Long Island three years in a row in an independent poll conducted by the Long Island Press, and we consistently maintain one of the highest success rates in New York despite the complexity of our cases.

Dr. Braverman has been working in this field for more than 20 years and has dedicated his life to researching solutions to recurrent pregnancy loss. He has helped thousands of women with their pregnancy difficulties and has delivered thousands of babies from women who had not been able to maintain a pregnancy for years. Dr. Braverman can conduct extensive tests to determine the actual cause behind your repeated chemical pregnancies and help you on the path to recovery. He can help you discover the source of your chemical pregnancy loss and develop a specialized treatment to help you maintain your pregnancy.

Our entire team feels strongly about the work that we do and it gives us great pleasure to see a couple achieve their dreams of starting or expanding their families. If you have suffered a chemical pregnancy, or recurrent miscarriages, consult with us so that we can determine how we can best help you.

Schedule your appointment with our infertility specialist today!