Not many people hear of the term 'chemical pregnancy' because we often don't even realize we're experiencing one unless we're looking for it. A chemical pregnancy is a miscarriage that occurs very soon after conception (before many women even realize they're pregnant).
In a chemical pregnancy, an embryo isn't established. An egg and sperm meet and join together but an issue in the chromosomes doesn't allow for an embryo to begin growing. Insider reports that "technically, you've conceived, which is why a pregnancy test might give you a positive result" if it's sensitive enough but sometimes it goes undetectable without an ultrasound scan.
Chemical pregnancies are typically discharged early on and many women can't tell the difference between a chemical pregnancy miscarriage and a slightly late menstrual period. Since your body does consider it a pregnancy, early signs of pregnancy may be noticed including sore breasts, nausea, and fatigue, but sometimes it's so early on that it goes completely unnoticed.
Doctors aren't sure exactly how common chemical pregnancies are because they aren't often noticed or noted by medical professionals. In saying that, they have good reason to believe they happen pretty frequently because slightly late periods happen all the time.
The most likely cause of a chemical pregnancy is genetics. In any pregnancy, issues can arise along the way, especially early on and nature isn't perfect. Although a lot of women who discover they had a chemical pregnancy may attribute it to their lifestyle and blame themselves, this is simply not likely to be the case. If the slightest calculation is off in terms of chromosomes combining, it can result in issues (such as no embryo being produced).
Maura Quilan, MD, who is an associate professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, reassures women who have experienced a chemical pregnancy by saying that it's actually a good sign if you're trying to get pregnant. Although that particular pregnancy failed, having a chemical pregnancy means you are indeed able to get pregnant and have a good chance of establishing a healthy pregnancy in the future.