Chemical pregnancy: when you stumble at the first hurdle

I’ve read a lot about chemical pregnancy lately. I hear a lot of ‘you shouldn’t test because what you don’t know won’t hurt you’. Or ‘chemical pregnancy is so common; it’s no big deal’. The clincher ‘you just make yourself stressed by testing and everyone knows stress can cause miscarriage’


Yuck. Here’s why those things aren’t helpful:


What you don’t know, won’t hurt you

Well I don’t need a test to know in l am pregnant. This is true for lots of women, especially those who have been pregnant before. So I know already and with or without a test, it hurts. Plus, if this is happening each month, there may be a reason for it so finding out, and getting tested, can’t be a bad thing.

It’s  common; it’s no big deal

In terms of fertility, sure, likelihood is there is no big deal. There might be something going on or it could just be totally normal as chemical pregnancy is common. However, getting pregnant isn’t just a question of fertility – getting pregnant is also about the end result: a baby. Getting pregnant is about parenthood, childhood, family. Just because the cells failed to develop into a foetus , it doesn’t mean that for a while you thought they would. I think it’s easy to focus on the medical side of things – it was early, it’s good you can get pregnant etc. But as someone who has now had 3 chemical pregnancies, I don’t really care about the medical side. I care that something happened to those little lives that meant they never got to be.

Testing stressed you out

Finally, attributing loss to stress is essentially blaming it on the Mum. There is a range of research with mixed findings on stress and fertility. Some found stress increases the risk of miscarriage, others found only work related stress causes miscarriage and other research found stress didn’t effect rates of miscarriage. So rather than risk making a Mum feel like it’s her fault, I don’t think it’s helpful to be so simplistic about the effects of stress on pregnancy. I’m not saying that stress doesn’t cause miscarriage; I’m saying that we don’t know what caused this particular marriage so don’t place blame thinking that it helps.


Here’s what I know about chemical pregnancy:

  • it is a real miscarriage that occurred very early.
  • The miscarriage occurred before the cells developed into a foetus, but after fertilisation and implantation.
  • Each chemical pregnancy feels different much like each pregnancy. One was incredibly painful and lasted 10 days. One barely hurt and was light.
  • Each time I knew I was pregnant before I took a test.
  • When I knew I was pregnant, I imagined their face, their name. Checked their due date.
  • When I saw the pink lines, I wanted to rush and share, but contented myself with wish lists of babygrows and new nursery furniture
  • No sooner had joy spread, it was torn away.
  • Each time I felt devastated when the pregnancy ended.
  • With each chemical pregnancy, I become more convinced we will never make it out of the starting gates and get back into clinical pregnancy territory.

Baby loss is awful. All types of baby loss have their own form of heartache. If you know someone who has suffered loss, tell them that it sucks, you are sorry and give them a hug. If someone tells you they had a chemical pregnancy, don’t try to lessen it. The baby was tiny but their feelings were not.

Burnished Chaos
My Random Musings


  1. So many people don’t see a chemical pregnancy as a loss, but it is, like you say it can painful, physically, emotionally and in so many other ways!
    So glad you wrote this post!


  2. A loss is a loss. It doesn’t matter at what stage it was, it is still a loss. I lost a baby earlier this year – ectopic pregnancy. I am still completely devastated about it. Like you said, as soon as you know you’re pregnant you imagine your whole life with the baby. Was it a boy or girl. What would they have looked like. When is the due date. Mine would have been in 3 weeks. I wish I didn’t know but I do, and I am completely dreading the day. Thanks for writing this post. X #FamilyFunLinky


    • I’m so sorry for your loss. I know how hard it is as the due date approaches (George our first loss this year is due on Christmas Day). Have you planned anything for the due date? Maybe light a candle or go on a walk? In the past, I found acknowledging it gave me some peace xx


  3. I had a chemical pregnancy a month ago and I’ve been having such a hard time with feeling guilty over mourning my loss. I really needed to read this. Thank you


    • Please don’t feel guilty. The moment you had a positive test or the notion you were pregnant, your world changed. I’m sorry for your loss


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