Having a miscarriage is a devastating experience. There’s nothing anyone can say to make expectant parents feel better about it, so we’re not even going to try.
However, if you’re looking into becoming pregnant, it’s a good idea to become familiar with general information and statistics. This is because doing so can alert women to the fact that (a) up to 25% of pregnancies could end up in miscarriage, (b) if you have an underlying illness, there are ways to decrease your likelihood of miscarriage, and (c) you could still go on to have a successful pregnancy after a miscarriage.
What is a Miscarriage?
Miscarriage is the medical term given to early loss of a pregnancy. It typically occurs sometime during the first 20 weeks of gestation, and it happens in about 15 to 20% of pregnancies. The vast majority of them happen in the first 12 weeks.
Signs and Symptoms of Early Miscarriage
Some women experience signs that a miscarriage is about to occur, but this doesn’t happen to everyone. If you experience any of the following, go to your doctor immediately:
– Decrease in breast tenderness
– Vaginal spotting
– Abdominal pain
Once a miscarriage is already underway, the woman typically experiences the following symptoms:
– Cramps in pelvis and/or lower back
– Vaginal bleeding with bright red blood
– Not feeling pregnant anymore (nausea or breast tenderness may be completely gone).
Signs and Symptoms of Miscarriage After 12 Weeks
Once a woman reaches 12 weeks of pregnancy, the risk of miscarriage is significantly reduced. However, if either parent is over 40, the chances of chromosomal abnormalities are higher.
The most common symptoms of a late miscarriage include:
– No longer feeling the baby’s movements
– Tissues and fluids discharge through the vagina
– Abdominal cramps
– Vaginal bleeding
Causes of a Miscarriage
About 90% of miscarriages happen as a result of a chromosomal abnormality. That said, if you’ve suffered a miscarriage, it does not necessarily mean that you have a higher likelihood of one in the future, or of a subsequent fertilized egg resulting in an issue with its chromosomes.
Notwithstanding, if you do experience several miscarriages in a row, your doctor will likely test you for fertility issues.
In addition to chromosomal abnormalities, other causes of miscarriage include:
Thrombophilia (blood clots)
The embryo doesn’t implant properly on the uterus
Unusual shape of the uterus
Bacterial or viral infections
Risk Factors for Miscarriage
Before we proceed to explain risk factors, it’s important to keep in mind that chromosomal abnormalities are random, so there’s nothing you can do to prevent them.
That being said, there are several factors that could increase the risks:
Preventing a Miscarriage
In most cases, there is little to nothing you can do to prevent a miscarriage. It’s important to remember this, because sometimes, the experience may bring feelings of guilt.
If you suffer from any of the above listed conditions, you may still have a successful pregnancy. However, you need to be closely monitored by your doctor. If you aren’t pregnant yet but are considering it, talk with your primary care physician about the best ways to to control disease and prepare for gestation.
Contact us at OB-GYN Women’s Centre for Pregnancy Care and Consultation
At OB-GYN Women’s Centre, we understand that pregnancy can be both exciting and overwhelming. Talk to us about your concerns and let us help you.
Contact us to schedule an appointment.