You were pregnant! And then...you weren't. You had what your doctor is calling a chemical pregnancy, but you have no idea what that means? You weren't really pregnant? Was it an ectopic pregnancy? Just what is a chemical pregnancy and more? Why are you so sad about it?


What is a chemical pregnancy?
In the most basic terms, a chemical pregnancy is a very, very early miscarriage. You will have a diagnosis by blood or a urine home pregnancy test (both of which levels of HCG), but you don't see a viable pregnancy on an ultrasound scan. It's diagnosed as a chemical pregnancy after no visible ultrasound up to about 5 weeks of pregnancy.

Sometimes, you won't even make it to an ultrasound scan, as many women will not until at least 8 weeks of pregnancy. You may have a positive blood or urine pregnancy test, but then you start to bleed not long after. You'll likely need to have blood tests at that point because your doctor will be looking at progesterone and HCG levels, but you may not need them more than once to confirm an HCG level below 5 (which is considered 'negative' for a pregnancy test).

If your doctor sees your hormone levels are decreasing and your pregnancy is earlier than five weeks, they'll likely diagnose it as a chemical pregnancy.


What causes a chemical pregnancy?

Let's start off with what's important to know about a chemical pregnancy. It's not your fault, and you did nothing wrong.

Most clinicians believe that there is likely a chromosomal problem with the baby developing and if there is an issue, your baby simply can't develop as it should.

There's really no way to prove that, though. And that's what's so frustrating for a mother who has a chemical pregnancy and miscarriage. There may be something chromosomal with the baby, yes. There may also be something not right within your uterine lining or genetics or blood, or who knows what else? Because it is so early in your pregnancy, it's not even feasible to 'test' and see what was wrong because you likely will bleed and not have anything for doctors to test. At this stage, the baby would only have been about 3mm in size, and many women don't even know they're having a miscarriage after chemical pregnancy because of this.

In short, there really is no way to know what causes chemical pregnancy, and that's so hard for women who suffer chemical pregnancy to hear.

Is there a treatment for a chemical pregnancy loss?

When you hear clinicians say, "Many women have miscarriages but don't even know it," it's typically a chemical pregnancy they're talking about. Many women wouldn't even begin to dream of finding out they're pregnant (unless they've been trying to conceive) until about after 5 weeks or a missed period. This means the loss of a baby to chemical pregnancy is likely mistaken for a late or heavy period and you may not have any knowledge about it.

Many women will have positive pregnancy tests but still bleed like a normal period and not believe that they were even pregnant at all. There really isn't any reason you can't try to conceive again if you want to after a chemical pregnancy, but clinicians will typically suggest you wait until after your next period to do so just to give your uterine lining some time to settle.

Why Am I So Sad About A Chemical Pregnancy?

Again, no judgment.

The truth is you may not be the least bit sad. Maybe you didn't know you were even pregnant. Maybe you didn't necessarily want to be pregnant at this time. Maybe you hadn't even become attached to the idea and you feel your body (or the baby) wasn't ready and it was for the best anyway.

You're in control of the feelings you have, and no one should tell you not to feel what you feel.

But for many women, there is sadness after chemical pregnancy. Many were trying to conceive and it is a hurtful loss of dreams and hope. Many women who weren't trying still were excited about the new possibility of a baby and what it would mean in their life. Many feel their bodies failed them and wonder what would have been if they'd just been able to carry to term.

You may have MANY tell you that there is no reason to be 'sad' about a chemical pregnancy because 'there wasn't even a baby.' While it may be true that there was nothing found on an ultrasound scan, a positive pregnancy test and the subsequent miscarriage of whatever development had thus far occurred can be something tough for a woman to deal with and process.

Many couples who go through 'chemical pregnancy' suffer from grief after. Together you and your partner may have been dreaming about this new life and how it would change yours and all the joy and jubilation that comes with "It's POSITIVE!" fades away so shortly after. That many don't even give your grief credibility because 'there wasn't even a baby,' just rubs salt into the wound and makes you feel things you're not sure of how to deal with. You may feel angry and ashamed. Angry because people don't understand and ashamed that you're 'grieving' so much over something so 'trivial'--even at the same time.

As we said--you're allowed to feel your feelings and NO one has the right to decide what those should be. Perhaps consider writing a letter to your child or creating a grief ritual that allows you to process this loss in a way that lets your heart heal. So many women ask, "Why am I sad about a chemical pregnancy?" but find out that they're not alone in their grief when they do, so feel free to share your heart.

This forum is a great place to be open and vulnerable and find support. As well, Still Standing Magazine is a great resource for those who have 'been there' and 'done that' and can give you support as you navigate through grief after chemical pregnancy.

You're not alone.

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