The loss of a foetus before the 20th week of pregnancy is a spontaneous abortion or miscarriage. This can be distressing but the fact remains that 50% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. The woman rarely realizes that she conceived since early miscarriages seldom cause a missed period. Fewer than 15% of known pregnancies end in miscarriages. Among these, a fourth of them occur in the first three months after conception. Late miscarriages that occur after the 20th week are rare but do occur.

Symptoms of miscarriage

Miscarriage symptoms usually include vaginal bleeding with lower abdominal cramping. Mild bleeding may turn into heavy flow within minutes. Some women even feel feverish and complain of nausea and back pain. The vomiting that results from the nausea is not picked up as a symptom of miscarriage by most women as it resembles morning sickness.

If you experience a combination of these symptoms, especially the bleeding; contact your physician – you will be called in for a visit. If you are feeling dizzy, then make sure you have an escort to the physician’s office. If the pain is severe, you may be experiencing an ectopic or tubal pregnancy which requires immediate medical attention. But note that all bleeding in pregnant women does not lead to miscarriage.

What happens once you get to the doctor

If your bleeding is manageable, all you may really need is acetaminophen to deal with the pain. The doctor may recommend bed rest until the bleeding stops. If your pregnancy is meant to end, there is not a whole lot that a physician can do to prevent it. If your bleeding is heavy and the end of the pregnancy looks imminent, there are 3 options. They include

Conservative management: Where the hope is that the patient will pass the foetal tissue on one’s own without the need for any medical intervention.

Medical management: Where vaginal suppositories will soften the opening of the cervix enough to pass the foetal tissue without invasive surgical intervention. This requires a hospital stay.

Surgical management: Where a uterine evacuation is performed surgically.

Why does a miscarriage occur

Most first trimester miscarriages are a result of chromosomal abnormalities in the foetus. These abnormalities occur by chance and are not an indication of the parents’ health. Chromosomes are organized strands of DNA that contain genetic material that determine one’s skin colour, hair colour and facial features among others. Other factors that cause miscarriage are infections, adrenal or hormonal problems, smoking and drug use, radiation and malnutrition, just to name a few.

Also, women who are older tend to miscarry more so than women in their 20s and 30s. Chromosomal abnormalities increase with the increasing age of the mother; 25% of pregnant women in their 40s miscarry.

What are your chances of getting pregnant after a miscarriage

Considering that half of all conceptions result in miscarriage, a woman who has had a miscarriage is in no way less likely to get pregnant than a woman who has not. However, it is important to give yourself the time to heal both physically and emotionally as it can take a toll on both you and your partner. If you have had more than one miscarriage recently, then giving yourself a break for a while might be recommended. Most of all don’t blame yourself for the miscarriage. It really is nobody’s fault. In time, both your mind and body will have healed enough to begin trying again. Good luck!

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