If the pregnancy is terminated spontaneously without any effort before the 20th week it is called as miscarriage or abortion. It is believed that 10-20% of pregnancies will have miscarriage. Loss of pregnancy occurs due to many factors like diseases and infections that affect the growth of the embryo. Miscarriage is not a good term to describe missing a pregnancy. Very often abortion occurs if the fetus has not developed properly.
The symptoms of miscarriage are obvious and straightforward and it has a deep emotional impact on the women who had a miscarriage. Many times miscarriage occurs even before the women realizes that she is pregnant. It happens before she actually misses her regular periods and there is no way to diagnose whether it is miscarriage or regular menstrual cycle. More than 75% of miscarriages happen within the first 2-3 months of pregnancy.
Initial symptoms of miscarriage are bleeding of uterus. It starts from light spotting and ends up with heavy bleeding. There may be moderate to severe abdominal cramps with pain. For some women it can cause fever and fatigue. It would cause mild pain on the lower back and you can see fluids or tissue passing away from your vagina.
Variety of factors causes miscarriage or abortion but exact cause is still not known. Very often miscarriage occurs when there are chromosomal abnormalities in the developing fetus. Sometimes, this kind of abnormality occurs without any apparent cause. Chromosomes are small structures that are found in every cell of your body and it contains genes.
Miscarriage also occurs due to infection, hormonal problems in the expecting mom, and uterine abnormalities. If the cervix opens up widely in the middle of pregnancy it can cause miscarriage. If the uterus is strong enough to hold the weight of your fetus it can cause miscarriage. Excess of smoking and drinking or substance abuse can affect the growth of fetus causing miscarriage. Lupus or similar infection can affect the growing fetus terminating its growth. Uncontrolled diabetes and thyroid disease and severe forms of kidney and heart problems can cause miscarriage. Intake of certain drugs like Accutane can cause miscarriage.
If the woman who is carrying is malnourished then it can lead to miscarriage. Molar pregnancy can end up in miscarriage. Molar pregnancy happens if there is an additional set of paternal chromosomes in the developing embryo. Middle aged women have increased chance of getting miscarriage when compared to young women. Till now, there is no proof to establish that having sex can cause miscarriage. Similarly unlike popular belief there is no evidence that doing exercises can cause miscarriage.
Who are at risk?
- Aged women (more than 35 years) have high risk of miscarriage.
- As one grows old the percentage of risk also increases.
- At 30 years you have 15-20% risk, at 35 years or more you have 20-25% risk and it goes on.
- Women who have had previous episodes of miscarriage will have higher risk of getting it again.
- Women with high diabetes, uterus problems and those who are obese have increased chance of getting miscarriage.
In rare cases, complications like fever, chills, and abdominal tenderness can occur after miscarriage.
Often, miscarriage does not require any diagnoses since the uterus becomes completely empty during this process. Your doctor will conduct a pelvic exam and ultrasound scan to confirm that miscarriage. Ultrasound scan will miss the fetal heartbeat indicating that the fetus is dead. Your blood test report will reveal beta HCG if you are pregnant.
For women who have threatened miscarriage, taking complete rest will improve the situation. Avoid doing exercises and having sex during this period. It is not recommended to travel or commute to office if you have started bleeding. Using ultrasound device it has become easy to find out if the embryo is alive or not. If the situations are not favorable then you have many choices.
You can wait for the miscarriage to happen naturally without inducing it through medications or other procedure. This will happen within two weeks of miscarriage. In case if it does not happen you can go for medical or surgical options. For women who want to speed-up the process medications are available for clearing the pregnancy tissue with placenta. It is the best remedy for expelling the remaining tissue from your uterus and it works within a day.
In case the uterus is not fully emptied then she would do D&C procedure for cleaning the uterus. The cervix will be dilated using injection and the remaining tissue of the fetus will be gently removed from the uterus. This type of surgical option is done only for women with heavy bleeding or those with infection.
Lifestyle Changes :
It is very difficult to recover from miscarriage, though the entire process takes less than few hours or few days. It is essential for you to recover physically fully before you plan for next pregnancy. In case you have bleeding for several days of miscarriage, you should contact your GP immediately.
When can I become pregnant after miscarriage?
According to the available statistics more than 85% of women will have normal pregnancy after miscarriage. Having a miscarriage does not mean that you have some problem which will delay your pregnancy in future. On average, only less than 5% women will have consecutive miscarriages and in that case they should find out the real cause before getting pregnant next time.
Ensure that you are physically ready and emotionally recovered before conceiving again. You can consult your health care provider if you have plans for getting pregnant shortly. Sometime, your doctor will ask you to wait for another couple of months so that your uterus will recover fully. Don’t feel guilty for miscarriage since you are not responsible for miscarriage. It is good for you to recover from physical and emotional illness at the earliest.
What exactly is the timeframe can I become pregnant again?
Only your health care provider will decide about the timing of your next pregnancy. Generally it is recommended to wait for couple of months for getting conceived again. You will have to wait for long time if you had any infectious diseases. In the meantime your doctor will suggest for progesterone therapy for preparing the uterus for next pregnancy.
You cannot prevent miscarriage since you are no way responsible for the happenings. However seek advice from your GP if you have doubts, and avoid smoking and drinking if you have plans to get pregnant.