What is A Biochemical Pregnancy?

What is A Biochemical Pregnancy?
Waiting for the results of a pregnancy test can feel like an eternity if you and your partner have been trying to have a baby for a while. While becoming pregnant is a blessing for many families, it can be a painful and lengthy process for couples who have been unable to conceive. What’s even worse is when a couple thinks they’ve become pregnant, only to be told that it was a false positive or a biochemical pregnancy. If you have never heard of a biochemical pregnancy, you are not alone. In fact, most people only learn about it when they have experienced it themselves. That is why we are taking time today to discuss what a biochemical pregnancy is and how it can affect women who are trying to have a baby.

What To Know About a Biochemical Pregnancy

A biochemical pregnancy is a type of false pregnancy that occurs when a woman's body produces estrogen and progesterone, but the egg is not fertilized. It’s a pregnancy that essentially ends on its own, even though it was not successful. This type of false pregnancy can be mistaken for a real one because many of the symptoms are similar to those of early pregnancies:
  • You may experience nausea, breast tenderness, and fatigue.
  • Your period will be late or absent (even though you're not pregnant)
  • A negative test result after having sex during your fertile window (usually within five days after ovulation)
  • A positive test result followed by another negative one within 24 hours or two days later
Biochemical pregnancies are usually found within the first weeks after conceiving. It can be difficult to tell if you have a biochemical pregnancy or not, but there are some symptoms that might help you identify if one is happening. For example, if your period is late for more than two weeks and it comes with bleeding and cramps similar to your normal period, this could be an indication that you've had a chemical pregnancy rather than an actual miscarriage. This type of bleeding is known as implantation bleeding because it occurs when an embryo implants itself into the uterine lining during early pregnancy; however, since implantation does not always occur successfully (or at all), this type of bleeding does not always indicate that a woman has lost her baby or even been pregnant at all. So unless your doctor runs tests and measures the hCG in your body, you may never know that you have a biochemical pregnancy.

Is it a Miscarriage?

One of the first things a couple wants to know when they learn about their biochemical pregnancy is whether or not it is considered a miscarriage. And while it is technically considered a very early miscarriage, most women and couples won’t even know about it unless they are actively trying to conceive and using pregnancy tests regularly.

How Common are Biochemical Pregnancies?

Biochemical pregnancies are actually more common than you probably think. In fact, approximately one in every five pregnancies ends in a biochemical pregnancy. These biochemical pregnancies (also referred to as chemical pregnancies) are very common, but they're also very hard to detect. As we mentioned, most of these early miscarriages occur without a woman knowing, so a doctor is the only person who can confirm whether or not a biochemical pregnancy took place or not.

Causes and Factors

Most miscarriages, including biochemical pregnancies, are caused by chromosomal abnormalities that prevent the fetus from developing normally. This can be from a number of factors including age, low-hormone levels, or other pre-existing medical conditions. However, there are other circumstances where a biochemical pregnancy may take place. If you are undergoing fertility treatment options or assisted pregnancy options, then there is also an increased risk of experiencing a biochemical pregnancy. Studies have shown that as many as 20 percent of pregnancies involving assisted conception using frozen embryos result in a biochemical pregnancy.

Coping with a Biochemical Pregnancy

As we mentioned earlier, trying to have a baby can be a lengthy and painful process for some couples. Going through fertility treatments and countless appointments only to experience a biochemical pregnancy can be extremely hard, but it’s important to know that it's not your fault. It’s more common than you think and it does not mean that you won’t ever be able to conceive a child. The journey to parenthood is different for everyone and that’s okay. Here at AlphaCord, our goal is to provide the most helpful information and resources so you can start planning for your child’s future.