A chemical pregnancy is a very early miscarriage that happens in the first few weeks of pregnancy, often before a woman even realizes that she is pregnant. Around five weeks into a pregnancy, a gestational sac is visible on an ultrasound and is considered a clinical pregnancy. Most women do not know that they are pregnant by the fifth week, so a lot of chemical pregnancies go unnoticed. They may present as a late period or a false positive pregnancy test.
After fertilization of an egg, the cells begin to multiply. During the fourth week of pregnancy, the rapidly developing bundle of cells begins to burrow into the lining of the uterus and the placenta forms. This stimulates a rapid increase in human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone produced by the placenta that rapidly builds up in the body. It is this rapid increase in hCG that causes most early pregnancy symptoms. hCG is also the chemical detected by pregnancy tests and the chemical referred to in the term "chemical pregnancy."
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