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chemical pregnancy

Chemical Pregnancy : Symptoms, Causes and Treatment for Recurrent Chemical Pregnancy

A “chemical pregnancy” refers to an early miscarriage that occurs shortly after implantation – one that happened sometime in the span of the first five weeks after implantation. Chemical pregnancies are not uncommon, in fact, it is estimated that between 8% and 33% of all pregnancies may be chemical pregnancies. Often times, it happens so early that the mother won’t even know she was pregnant until after the loss occurs.

Chemical pregnancies can be devastating – especially for couples who have been trying to have a baby for a long time. There are however, some treatments from traditional Chinese medicine to help woman dealing with recurring chemical pregnancies.

What are the symptoms of a chemical pregnancy?

Chemical pregnancies are sometimes symptomless. Some women miscarry early without knowing they were expecting.  However, for some women, within days of learning they are pregnant, they may have several signs that can help suggest that a chemical pregnancy has occurred:

  • A menstrual cycle ending a week later than usual.
  • A positive pregnancy test followed by a period.
  • A positive pregnancy test followed by a negative pregnancy test within three weeks.
  • A heavy period.
  • More intense menstrual cramps than normal.

It’s crucial to understand that bleeding following a positive pregnancy test doesn’t necessarily indicate a chemical pregnancy. Additionally frequent bleeding occurs as the embryo links to the uterus during implantation.

While these are common chemical pregnancy symptoms, it should be mentioned that you wouldn’t know for certain unless you were to actually take a pregnancy test. This is especially true for women who already have irregular periods, heavy periods, or intense cramps.

What are the causes of a chemical pregnancy?

The most common chemical pregnancy causes include the following:

Implantation outside the uterus

Infections including chlamydia or syphilis

Improper implantation (such as in IVF)

Uterine abnormalities

Abnormal hormone levels

Certain thyroid disorders

Lower weight than normal

How Chinese Medicine views Chemical Pregnancy

In Chinese medicine, a chemical pregnancy is often referred to as “fetal irritability” or “fetal restlessness.” Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) suggest that for successful healthy pregnancy, these requirements must be met.

Healthy Uterus and Ovaries

A successful pregnancy requires that the uterus is warm and supplied with good blood flow so fetal growth and nourishment can be properly met. The term “warm,” refers to a uterus that has great blood flow and nourishment support. This provides the nutrient rich environment necessary for fetal development.

A “cold” uterus describes a uterus with a deficiency in Yang – one that has a blocked supply of blood flow. Additionally, the endometrium should be of adequate thickness to increase the chance of a successful pregnancy.

Recommended: Uterus Support

Balance of Yin and Yang

In TCM, the balance of Yin and Yang in the body refers to hormonal balances. Abnormal hormone levels – such as an imbalance of progesterone and estrogen in the body – are often the cause of chemical pregnancies as they can directly impact the development of the embryo.

For a successful pregnancy to occur, experts in Chinese Medicine focus mainly on the flow of Qi and blood in the liver, spleen, and kidney. Deficiencies of Yin and Yang in the body have many causes, including poor sleep, inadequate exercise, surgery complications, heavy alcohol consumption or frequent smoking.

A deficiency in Yang causes accumulation of dampness in the lower abdomen, which may block the flow of blood and Qi in reproductive organs. Signs of a deficiency in Yang include irregular menstrual cycles, tiredness, loose stool, fatigue, difficulties with the cold, frequent urination and low sex drive.

Yin deficiencies explain symptoms like heavy bleeding or early ovulation, and cause many early miscarriages. Common signs of Yin deficiency include night sweating, hot flashes, dry mouth, lower back pain, and light or spotty menstrual cycles.

Emotional Wellness

The levels of stress and anxiety in a mother’s life can also impact the chances of a successful pregnancy. Stress often coincides with the repression of certain emotions. This can lead to a disruption in the body – a blockage in the liver meridians that play a key role during pregnancy.

From TCM’s perspective, the liver is one of the most important organs in reproductive health. The liver meridians directly regulate blood circulation, and therefor influence hormonal balances within the uterus, ovaries, and sex organs.

Stagnant liver energy is often consistent with symptoms of stress, anxiety, and general moodiness. Experts in TCM suggest that successful pregnancies require adequate flow of liver energy.

It should be mentioned that emotional wellness plays an equally important role in the reproductive health of men. Stress is one of the most common underlying factors impacting men with a low sperm count.

Healthy Weight

A mothers overall health levels will also have implications on her chances of having a successful pregnancy. Obesity and diabetes make up two causations of oxidative stress, or in other words, the imbalance between production and accumulation of oxygen reactive species in cells within the body. It is the vascular strength within the body’s vital organs (spleen, liver, kidney, etc.) that is impacted by obesity.

Again, in TCM, vascular strength would directly influence blood flow in the body, which can help to explain the chances of a chemical pregnancy occurring. A study was recently conducted on 60 patients who were diagnosed with gestational diabetes. It was found that a combination of insulin application and TCM prescription is effective at improving the outcome of the pregnancy in women with a diabetes diagnosis.


Early miscarriages (chemical pregnancies) can be exceptionally common in women who are 35 or older. Such miscarriages can be difficult to deal with for women who are actively trying to get pregnant. While it is more than possible to get pregnant even in one’s 40s, it can become more difficult as fertility levels begin to drop significantly after the age of 35.

Kidney and liver function naturally change with age. As the kidneys are responsible for the development and health of the embryo, age can be expected to play a key factor. In TCM, the kidneys also hold a substance called jing, which translates to “essence,” or the vital substance that governs conception. Jing can become depleted in the body as a mother grows older.

However, as this article will delve into later, there are several practices in Chinese medicine that can help restore liver and kidney function and therefor improve the chances of conception.

How can you prevent a Chemical Pregnancy from occurring?

It is estimated that up to 2% of women will experience recurring chemical pregnancies. For couples who are regularly trying to conceive, early miscarriages can be frustrating, distressing, and even cause for health concern. The good news is that Chinese medicine is especially effective at helping women who are experiencing miscarriages as a result of hormonal, ovarian, and emotional causes.

Acupuncture Treatment for Chemical Pregnancy

Acupuncture is one of the most depended upon treatments for women hoping to overcome a chemical pregnancy. An acupuncture specialist will be able to pin-point the blockage or hindrance of the blood flow in the body. They can directly influence the liver and kidney meridians, helping to restore balance of Yin and Yang in the body.

Related: How Acupuncture Can Help Prevent Miscarriages

There have been significant studies done that show acupuncture as being effective in preventing miscarriages in women who are undergoing IVF. Acupuncture treatments can be created according to each woman’s natural menstrual cycle. Each treatment is designed to stimulate or relax specific meridians in the body, which in turn promotes good blood flow and nourishment during pregnancy.

After coping with a chemical pregnancy, a 42-year-old patient recently underwent a study to assess the effectiveness of acupuncture in preventing further miscarriages. The study found that acupuncture treatments significantly helped reduce early pregnancy complications. The study reached a conclusion when the mother gave birth to a healthy 10 lb. baby boy. 

Lifestyle Changes for Chemical Pregnancy

As a mother’s overall health levels can directly impact her chances of getting pregnant, lifestyle changes also play an important role in preventing chemical pregnancies. Here are a few key lifestyle changes to make in order to minimise early miscarriages:

Stress Management: Emotional well-being and stress reduction play a significant role in Chinese medicine’s approach to reproductive health. High levels of stress and emotional imbalances can disrupt the flow of Qi (energy) and blood, potentially affecting fertility. Engaging in stress-reducing activities such as meditation, acupuncture, Tai Chi, or gentle exercise can be beneficial.

Balanced Diet: A balanced and nourishing diet is essential in Chinese medicine to support overall health and reproductive function. It is recommended to consume a variety of whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Incorporating warming foods and avoiding excessive consumption of cold or raw foods is also advised, as cold foods are believed to affect the body’s internal warmth.

Exercise more and take steps to manage weight issues: According to Chinese medicine, the smooth flow of Qi (energy) and Blood is vital for reproductive health. Excess weight, particularly in the form of tissue, can lead to stagnation and blockage of Qi and Blood circulation. This can disrupt the balance and functioning of the reproductive organs, potentially affecting fertility.

Minimise or eliminate alcohol use and caffeine consumption: To promote fertility and balance in the body from a Chinese medicine perspective, it is generally advised to limit or avoid alcohol and caffeine consumption. Instead, focus on nourishing foods, herbal remedies, and lifestyle practices that support the flow of Qi and Blood, promote Liver health, and address any Dampness and Phlegm imbalances.


Chemical pregnancies may be common, but that doesn’t make them any easier to deal with. Reoccurring chemical pregnancies can be overwhelmingly distressing for couples who are trying to conceive for the first time.

The good news is that with the right treatments and lifestyle changes, it is more than possible to navigate a chemical pregnancy. A successful and healthy pregnancy are likely only a few small changes away.

For more information about how Chinese Medicine can help you with chemical pregnancy, book your free consultation with our Chinese Medicine experts today

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our clinics website: GinSen where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.

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