What is a miscarriage?
A miscarriage is an incident that results in the loss of a fetus before 20 weeks of pregnancy. It normally happens during the first trimester, or the first three months, of the pregnancy.
Miscarriages can happen for a variety of medical causes, many of which aren’t within a person’s control. But knowing the risk factors, signs, and causes can help you to better understand the event and get any support or treatment you may need.
The signs of a miscarriage vary, depending on your stage of pregnancy. In some cases, it occurs so suddenly that you may not even know you’re pregnant before you miscarry.
Here are some of the signs of a miscarriage:
- heavy spotting
- vaginal bleeding
- discharge of tissue or fluid from your vagina
- severe abdominal pain or cramping
- mild to severe back pain
Call your Gynecologists’ right away if you experience any of these symptoms during your pregnancy. It’s also probable to have these signs without undergoing a miscarriage. But your genecology doctor will want to conduct tests to make sure that everything is fine.
While some things raise the risk of miscarriage, generally it isn’t a result of something that you did or didn’t do. If you’re having difficulty maintaining pregnancy, your doctor may check for some known causes of miscarriage.
During pregnancy, your body provides hormones and nutrients to your growing fetus. This helps your fetus grow. Most first trimester miscarriages occur because the fetus doesn’t improve normally. Different factors can cause this.
Most miscarriages are due to natural and unpreventable reasons. However, several risk factors can increase your chances of having a miscarriage. These include:
- body trauma
- exposure to harmful chemicals or radiation
- drug use
- alcohol abuse
- excessive caffeine consumption
- two or more consecutive miscarriages
- being underweight or overweight
- chronic, uncontrolled conditions, like diabetes
- problems with the uterus or cervix
Being older can also affect your chance of miscarriage. Women who are over 35 years old have a higher risk of miscarriage than younger women. This risk only increases in the following years.
Having one miscarriage doesn’t improve your risk of having other miscarriages. Most women will go on to carry a baby full term. Repeated miscarriages are quite rare.
There are many different types of miscarriage. Depending on your signs and the stage of your pregnancy, your gynaecology doctor will diagnose your condition as one of the following:
- Complete miscarriage: All pregnancy tissues have been remove from your body.
- Incomplete miscarriage: You’ve passed some tissue or placental material, but some remains in your body.
- Missed miscarriage: The embryo dies without your awareness, and you don’t deliver it.
- Threatened miscarriage: Bleeding and cramps point to a possible future miscarriage.
- Inevitable miscarriage: The appearance of bleeding, cramping, and cervical dilation indicates that a miscarriage is inevitable.
- Septic miscarriage: An infection has happened within your uterus.
Not all miscarriages can be prevented. However, you can take steps to help keep a healthy pregnancy. Here are a few recommendations:
- Get regular prenatal care throughout your pregnancy.
- Avoid alcohol, drugs, and smoking while pregnant.
- Maintain a healthy weight before and during pregnancy.
- Avoid infections.
- Restrict the amount of caffeine to no more than 200 milligrams per day.
- Take prenatal vitamins to help assure that you and your developing fetus get sufficient nutrients.
- Eat a healthful, well-balanced food with lots of fruits and vegetables.
Recognize that having a miscarriage doesn’t mean you won’t conceive again in the future. Most women who miscarry have healthy pregnancies later.
The treatment that you get for a miscarriage can depend on the type of miscarriage that you’ve had. If there’s no pregnancy tissue left in your body (complete miscarriage), no treatment is needed.
If there’s still some tissue present in your body, there are some several treatment options:
- expectant management, which is where you wait for the remaining tissue to move naturally out of your body
- medical management, which includes taking medications to help you pass the rest of the remaining tissue
- surgical management, which involves having any remaining tissue surgically extracted
The risk of difficulties from any of these treatment options is very small, so you can work with your doctor to determine which one is best for you.
Your body’s improvement will depend on how far along your pregnancy was before the miscarriage. After a miscarriage, you might experience signs such as spotting and abdominal discomfort.
While pregnancy hormones might last in the blood for a pair of months after a miscarriage, you should start having normal periods again in four to six weeks.
Support after a miscarriage
It’s usual to experience a wide range of emotions after a miscarriage. You may also experience symptoms such as trouble sleeping, low energy, and frequent crying.
Take your time to grieve for your loss, and ask for support when you want it. You may also want to consider the following:
- Reach out for help if you’re overwhelmed. Your family and friends may not realize how you’re feeling, so let them know how they can help.
- Engage in a symbolic sign that may help with remembrance. Some women plant a tree or wear a special piece of jewelry.