Everything You Need to Know About Miscarriage
What is low?
A miscarriage or spontaneous abortion is an event that results in fetal loss before 20 weeks of pregnancy. It typically occurs in the first trimester or first trimester of pregnancy.
Miscarriages can happen for a variety of medical reasons that are out of most people’s control. But knowing the risk factors, signs, and causes can help you better understand the event and get any support or treatment you may need.
Miscarriage symptoms can vary depending on your stage of pregnancy. In some cases, it happens so quickly that you may not even know you are pregnant before the miscarriage.
Here are some of the signs of miscarriage:
- heavy spotting
- vaginal bleeding
- discharge of tissue or fluid from the vagina
- severe abdominal pain or cramping
- mild to severe back pain
If you experience any of these symptoms during your pregnancy, call your doctor immediately. It is also possible to experience these symptoms without miscarriage. However, your doctor will want to run tests to make sure everything is okay.
Reasons for miscarriage
While there are some things that increase the risk of miscarriage, it’s usually not the result of something you did or didn’t do. If you’re having trouble maintaining the pregnancy, your doctor can check for some known causes of miscarriage.
During pregnancy, your body provides hormones and nutrients to your developing fetus. This will help you enlarge your fetus. Most first trimester miscarriages occur because the fetus is not developing normally. There are different factors that can cause this.
genetic or chromosome problems
Chromosomes hold genes. In a developing fetus, one set of chromosomes is contributed by the mother and the other by the father.
Examples of these chromosomal abnormalities include:
- Intrauterine fetal death : The embryo forms but stops developing before you can see or feel the signs of pregnancy loss.
- My rotten ovum : There is no embryo form.
- molar pregnancy : Both sets of chromosomes come from the father, there is no fetal development.
- partial molar pregnancy : The mother’s chromosomes remain, but the father also provides two sets of chromosomes.
Errors can also occur randomly when embryo cells divide or due to a damaged egg or sperm cell. Problems with the placenta can also cause miscarriage.
Basic conditions and lifestyle habits
Various underlying health conditions and lifestyle habits can also hinder the development of the fetus. Exercise and sexual intercourse cause miscarriage they do not. Working out will not affect the fetus either, unless you are exposed to harmful chemicals or radiation.
Conditions that can affect fetal development include:
- poor diet or malnutrition
- drug and alcohol use
- advanced maternal age
- untreated thyroid disease
- problems with hormones
- uncontrolled diabetes
- problems with the cervix
- abnormally shaped uterus
- severe high blood pressure
- food poisoning
- some drugs
Check with your doctor before taking any medication to make sure a medication is safe during pregnancy.
Low or period?
Often times, miscarriage can happen before you even know you’re pregnant. Additionally, some of the symptoms of miscarriage are associated with bleeding and cramping, such as with your menstrual period.
So how can you tell if you’re having a period or a miscarriage?
When trying to distinguish between a period and a miscarriage, there are several factors to consider:
- Symptoms: Severe or worsening back or abdominal pain, as well as passing fluids and large clots, may indicate miscarriage.
- Time: A miscarriage too early in pregnancy may be mistaken for a while. However, they are less likely to become pregnant after eight weeks.
- Duration of symptoms: Miscarriage symptoms typically get worse and last for a while longer.
If you are experiencing heavy bleeding or believe you have had a miscarriage, you should consult your doctor. Read on to learn more about distinguishing between a period and a miscarriage.
Drop rate by week
Most miscarriages occur in the first trimester (first 12 weeks) of pregnancy. The first weeks of pregnancy are when a woman is at the highest risk of miscarriage. However, this risk decreases when the pregnancy reaches 6 weeks.
Between 13 and 20 weeks of pregnancy, the risk of miscarriage drops further. However, it is important to keep in mind that the risk of miscarriage does not change much after complications that can occur at any point in pregnancy. Discover more details on the miscarriage rate by week.
Early pregnancy loss is common. It occurs in 10 percent of known pregnancies, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
Sometimes the cause of miscarriage will remain unknown. However, the Mayo Clinic estimates that about 50 percent of miscarriages are due to chromosomal problems.
The risk of miscarriage certainly increases with age. According to the Mayo Clinic, the risk of miscarriage is 20 percent at age 35. It increased to 40 percent at age 40 and to 80 percent at age 45.
A miscarriage doesn’t mean you can’t continue to have a baby. According to the Cleveland Clinic, 87 percent of women who miscarry will carry the baby to full term. About 1 percent of women have three or more miscarriages.
Most miscarriages are due to natural and unavoidable causes. However, certain risk factors can increase your chances of miscarriage. These include:
- body trauma
- exposure to harmful chemicals or radiation
- drug use
- alcohol abuse
- excessive caffeine consumption
- to smoke
- two or more consecutive miscarriages
- being overweight or obese
- chronic, uncontrolled conditions such as diabetes
- problems with the uterus or cervix
Getting older can also affect your risk of miscarriage. Women over the age of 35 have a higher risk of miscarriage than women of lower age. This risk only increases in the coming years.
One miscarriage does not increase the risk of another miscarriage. In fact, most women will continue to carry a baby full-term. Repeated miscarriages are actually quite rare.
There are many different types of miscarriages. Depending on your symptoms and the stage of your pregnancy, your doctor will diagnose your condition as one of the following:
- Full low: All pregnancy tissue has been expelled from your body.
- Incomplete low: You have passed a tissue or placental material, but some still remain in your body.
- slip and fall : The embryo dies without your knowledge and you do not deliver.
- threatened low : Bleeding and cramps indicate an impending miscarriage.
- The inevitable low: The presence of bleeding, cramping and cervical dilation indicates that miscarriage is inevitable.
- Septic low: An infection has occurred in your uterus.
Not all miscarriages can be prevented. However, you can take steps to help maintain a healthy pregnancy. Here are a few suggestions:
- Get regular prenatal care throughout your pregnancy.
- Avoid alcohol, drugs and smoking while pregnant.
- Maintain a healthy weight before and during pregnancy.
- Avoid infections. Wash your hands thoroughly and stay away from people who are sick.
- Limit caffeine to no more than 200 milligrams per day.
- Take prenatal vitamins to ensure you and your developing fetus are getting enough nutrients.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Remember that having a miscarriage doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get pregnant again in the future. Most women who miscarry have healthy pregnancies afterwards. Get additional information about ways to prevent miscarriage.
miscarriage with twins
Twins are typically formed when two eggs are fertilized instead of one. It can also happen when a fertilized egg splits into two separate embryos.
Naturally, there are additional considerations if a woman becomes pregnant with twins. Having more than one baby in the womb can affect growth and development. Women who are pregnant with twins or other multiples may have more complications such as preterm birth, preeclampsia or miscarriage.
Additionally, a type of miscarriage called vanishing twin syndrome can affect some who are pregnant with twins. Horizon twin syndrome occurs when only one fetus can be detected in a woman who has previously been found to be pregnant with twins.
In many cases, the lost twin is reabsorbed into the placenta. Sometimes this happens so early in pregnancy, you didn’t even know you were pregnant with twins. Learn more about vanishing twin syndrome phenomena.
The treatment you receive for a miscarriage may depend on the type of miscarriage you have. If there is no pregnancy tissue left in your body (complete miscarriage), no treatment is required.
If you still have some tissue in your body, there are several different treatment options:
- expected treatment, where you expect the remaining tissue to pass naturally through your body
- medical treatment that includes medications to help you pass through the rest of the remaining tissue
- surgical treatment, which involves the surgical removal of any remaining tissue
Because any of these treatment options have a very low risk of complications, you can work with your doctor to determine which is best for you.
Your body’s recovery will depend on how long your pregnancy took before your miscarriage. After a miscarriage, you may experience symptoms such as spotting and abdominal discomfort.
While pregnancy hormones may remain in the blood for several months after a miscarriage, you should start normal periods again in four to six weeks. Avoid having sex or using tampons for at least two weeks after a miscarriage.
Support after miscarriage
It’s normal to experience a wide variety of emotions after a miscarriage. You may also experience symptoms such as trouble sleeping, low energy, and frequent crying.
Take time to grieve for your loss and seek support when you need it. You may also want to consider the following:
- If you’re overwhelmed, seek help. Your family and friends may not be able to understand how you’re feeling, so let them know how they can help.
- Store baby memorabilia, maternity clothes, and baby items until you’re ready to see them again.
- Make a symbolic gesture that can help with remembrance. Some women plant a tree or wear special jewelry.
- Get counseling from a therapist. Grief counselors can help you deal with feelings of depression, loss, or guilt.
- Join a personal or online support group to talk to people who have been through the same situation.
getting pregnant again
After a miscarriage, it’s a good idea to wait until you’re ready both physically and emotionally before trying to conceive again. You can seek guidance from your doctor or help you develop a pregnancy plan before trying to conceive again.
A miscarriage is typically just a one-time event. However, if you’ve had two or more miscarriages in a row, your doctor will recommend testing to find out what caused your previous miscarriages. These may include:
- blood tests to detect hormone imbalances
- chromosome tests using blood or tissue samples
- pelvic and uterus exams
Being pregnant with twins, triplets and other multiples. (2017).
Cohain JS et al. (2017). Spontaneous first-trimester abortion rates per woman among porous women with a pregnancy of 24 weeks or more. DOI:
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