A chemical pregnancy, often referred to as a biochemical pregnancy, is a miscarriage that occurs early on before ultrasounds can detect a foetus. It is not a false pregnancy but the loss of a pregnancy before the fifth week of gestation, usually around the time a menstrual period is expected.

chemical pregnancy
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In a biochemical pregnancy, the blood test results are positive although no fetus is growing. What causes a chemical pregnancy? What are the symptoms? And what treatment options are available?

Read on to find out!

Symptoms of a Chemical Pregnancy

A chemical pregnancy may have no signs or symptoms. This is because it typically does not persist long enough to result in pregnancy-related side effects like nausea and exhaustion. Some women may even miscarry early without knowing they are pregnant.

However, in some women who experience symptoms, it may present as a heavy period with cramping in pregnancy. Some other signs include:

  • a blood pregnancy test showing low hCG levels
  • mild to severe abdominal cramps during a period 
  • light spotting a week or so before the start of a regular period

In a biochemical pregnancy, pregnancy hormones are detectable but low, so you are unlikely to feel any of the typical early symptoms like exhaustion or pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting.

biochemical pregnancy
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Causes of Chemical Pregnancy

There are no precise causes of biochemical pregnancies. However, in the majority of cases, a miscarriage may be caused by an abnormal embryo. Other causes may include:

  • abnormal hormone levels
  • uterine abnormalities
  • implantation outside the uterus
  • infections like chlamydia or syphilis which could alter vaginal discharge

Risk Factors

Although there are no sure ways to prevent a chemical pregnancy, there are some identifiable risk factors. Some of these include: 


A chemical pregnancy does not mean you won’t be able to get pregnant or give birth normally in the future. Although there is currently no precise treatment for this condition, there are many options to help you get pregnant and deliver a healthy baby.