• Dr Peter Chew

Chemical pregnancy

What is a chemical pregnancy? I think I might have one. I have been trying to conceive. My period was overdue for 4 days and the home pregnancy test was positive. I had a slight bleeding from the vagina the next day. I went to see my family doctor who repeated the urine test and it showed a negative result. What should I do? Do I need to clean up the womb? Will it have any impact on my future pregnancy?


A. Soon after conception, the pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is being produced by the fertilised egg (embryo). At about five weeks of pregnancy, the embryo is embedded in the uterus. A gestational “sac” can be seen on the ultrasound examination and the pregnancy is labelled as a “clinical” pregnancy. If the embryo, with measurable hCG, fails to grow and cannot be seen on ultrasound, it is known as a “chemical” pregnancy, a very early miscarriage.



According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, it accounts for 50–75 percent of all miscarriages. If the woman is not expecting to become pregnant, she may not even know that she has miscarried; She may take it as a “delayed period” as menstrual bleeding often occurs around the same time.


As chemical pregnancy happens very early after conception, it has very little effect if at all on your body. No treatment is needed. You can start trying to conceive after the next menstrual period. It would not have much impact on your future pregnancy unless it occurs repeatedly.

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