Biochemical pregnancy: symptoms, causes and frequency.

The term biochemical pregnancy generally identifies very early abortions.

For example, if the pregnancy test is positive but menstruation arrives after a few days, this is to be understood as a biochemical pregnancy . conception by ultrasound.

Doctors can sometimes tell you, “it was ONLY a biochemical pregnancy” and there’s no worse way to describe it. Because you were over the moon after that test and the next menstruation made the world fall on you.

The truth is that conception had taken place, the pregnancy was ongoing but ended very, very soon. The miscarriage occurred before an  early ultrasound could show the gestational chamber.

 When a pregnancy progresses to the point where an ultrasound scan can visualize the pregnancy, then it is called a clinical pregnancy. 

In short, a biochemical pregnancy defines an abortion before the fifth week of gestation (or in any case within the first week of delay).

They are thought to be very frequent, and found especially in those who carefully monitor their menstrual cycle (for example with the basal temperature ) or do early pregnancy tests even before the delay in menstruation. In many cases, biochemical pregnancies can be mistaken for a small delay in the menstrual cycle.

Symptoms of biochemical pregnancy

How do you know that a biochemical pregnancy is in progress?

If you have taken a positive pregnancy test and after a few days you start bleeding or your beta HCG is low and falling instead of rising, then unfortunately you are in this situation.

Why do they happen?

Biochemical pregnancies occur for the same reasons as other miscarriages , namely probably due to chromosomal abnormalities in the developing embryo. It is practically impossible to trace the real causes as unlike abortions that occur in the following weeks, it is not possible to recover samples to be analysed.

Is it necessary to wait before trying again for a new pregnancy?

Generally, given that biochemical pregnancies resolve quickly and are often undiagnosed, they have no particular effects on the woman’s body.

A study (see bibliography) has highlighted that the bleeding after a biochemical pregnancy could be lighter than the usual menstrual cycle but accompanied by stronger than usual uterine cramps.

Some doctors suggest trying again immediately, others prefer to wait for the usual 3 cycles. Always seek advice from your doctor who knows your medical history and your specific situation.

Mourning in biochemical pregnancy

The news of a biochemical pregnancy can lead to very mixed feelings. There are those who experience it with deep sadness and those who come out emotionally devastated even if she knew about the pregnancy for a few hours or a few days.

Those who live around you may not help you by saying the classic ritual phrases that only make you angry like “you don’t have to feel bad, you weren’t even really pregnant” or “the baby wasn’t there yet”.

It is always a miscarriage regardless of what others tell you and therefore you do not have to justify yourself if you are ill . Your pain must be respected.

On the other hand, there are those who react by immediately seeking a new pregnancy without giving too much weight to what happened. And this is also a normal reaction.

In short, there is no correct reaction to the news of a biochemical pregnancy. Everyone metabolizes it in the way that best suits their own emotionality.

If you have already suffered a lot from other biochemical pregnancies or are very emotional, perhaps it is best to wait to get tested at least until your period is actually late. This is why many doctors advise not to take pregnancy tests before the presumed day of arrival of menstruation and to wait about a week late.

Kathryn Barlow is an OB/GYN doctor, which is the medical specialty that deals with the care of women's reproductive health, including pregnancy and childbirth.

Obstetricians provide care to women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, while gynecologists focus on the health of the female reproductive system, including the ovaries, uterus, vagina, and breasts. OB/GYN doctors are trained to provide medical and surgical care for a wide range of conditions related to women's reproductive health.

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