12/02/2010 11:05 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

C: What Is Chemical Pregnancy?

Chemical pregnancy is the clinical name given to very early miscarriage.

It usually happens around the time a woman would normally be expecting her monthly period. For this reason, many women are totally unaware that they are suffering an early miscarriage.

However, since the introduction of very early pregnancy tests, a woman can discover her pregnancy before her period is even missed, in some cases up to four days early. This means that the true extent of chemical pregnancy is now much more evident. It is estimated that around 50 to 60 per cent of pregnancies will result in very early miscarriage.

Without using a very early pregnancy test, it is impossible to know whether a woman is suffering from an early miscarriage or is simply menstruating.

The cause of a chemical pregnancy is usually due to a chromosomal abnormality, although it can also be caused by other factors including problems with the uterus; fibroids; incorrect hormone levels; or various infections including sexually transmitted diseases.

In the vast majority of cases, chemical pregnancy cannot be avoided. However, women who know they are suffering from repeat chemical pregnancies should seek medical advice as there are some steps that can be taken to prevent the miscarriage from occurring. This includes taking a daily supplement of vitamin B6.

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