Women's Health

Miscarriage

Written by
Dr. Divya Banu M
and medically reviewed by Dr. Veena Madhankumar

Published on Nov 17, 2018 and last reviewed on Oct 10, 2019   -  4 min read

Abstract

Abstract

This article provides you with all the information that you should be knowing about miscarriage. Although this is an emotionally and physically hurting experience, having a detailed knowledge about it will help you to prevent and cope up with the situation. Losing a baby during pregnancy can be painful, but it is always not your fault.

Miscarriage

A miscarriage is the death of the baby within the mother’s womb, and medically it is known as spontaneous abortion. This can either happen during the first three months of pregnancy or later. Most of the time, the cause is not known, but females who have had miscarriages earlier have had a healthy pregnancy later.

Causes of Miscarriage:

If the miscarriage happens during the first trimester, it is primarily due to a problem with the chromosomes of the fetus (baby). Majority of the situations are related to this type.

The second one can be related to the development of the placenta, which is the organ connecting the blood supply between the mother and her baby.

If the miscarriage happens after the first three months, it is mostly related to the mother's health. They are as follows:

  • Chronic illness like diabetes, thyroid disorders, lupus erythematosus, etc.

  • Infections acquired during pregnancy like sexually transmitted diseases, vaginosis, etc.

  • Certain medications consumed. For example, Misoprostol, NSAIDs like Ibuprofen, Methotrexate, and Retinoids.

  • Consumption of contaminated food.

  • Fibroid or any other growth in the womb.

  • The shape of the womb being abnormal.

  • Weak muscles of cervix due to previous injury or surgery leading to an early opening of the cervix.

  • Hormonal changes in the ovary leading to a polycystic ovarian syndrome, ultimately infertility, and miscarriages.

Risk Factors of Miscarriage:

  • Long-term diseases like diabetes, autoimmune conditions, hormonal disorders.

  • Two or more miscarriages in the past.

  • Smoking habits.

  • Alcohol or drugs usage.

  • Excessive caffeine consumption.

  • Exposure to radiation.

  • Injury or accidents or trauma.

  • Advanced maternal age (greater than 35 years).

  • The weight of the mother (overweight).

Signs And Symptoms of Miscarriage:

The main being vaginal bleeding which can or cannot be associated with cramps. It is important to note that mild bleeding in the initial days can also be due to implantation bleeding and hence, it is essential to consult a doctor to be assured. The following other symptoms can be accompanied:

  • A backache.

  • Decreased or missing pregnancy symptoms.

  • Vaginal discharge, ranging from the blood clot to mucus or fluid which is pinkish in color.

  • Severe and frequent painful contractions.

Treatment for Miscarriage:

It is not possible to stop miscarriage once it has begun. There can be two things happening, either a complete or an incomplete abortion and in any case you should visit your doctor.

When it comes to an incomplete abortion, you will be advised three options. One is a natural way; other is through medicine and the next being surgery.

  • The natural way is also called as expectant management of miscarriage in which there is a wait and watch approach to check for complete passage of the pregnancy products either at home or in the hospital.

  • The medicinal approach includes the prescription of medicines (mainly hormonal) that will help or speed up the process of evacuation or passage of the dead baby and other products. The effect of the drugs can be visible post four to six hours of consumption, and sometimes it may delay too. If this method does not work, you will be advised for surgical management.

  • The surgical approach is a minor procedure which is called dilatation and curettage (D&C). As the name suggests, in this, the cervix is dilated, and the products are excavated from the uterus. This is done under spinal or epidural anesthesia in an operation theatre but does not involve any cutting of tissues.

How To Prevent Miscarriage?

The chromosomal defect of the fetus leading to miscarriage cannot be prevented, but genetic counseling can be done after the mishap and the various things that can be done to ensure prevention of other causes are as follows:

  • Regular exercises.

  • Avoid any kind of stress.

  • Consumption of nutritional supplements (like Folic acid).

  • Balanced- healthy diet.

  • Avoid smoking. Even passive smoking can be harmful.

  • Do not consume alcohol and limit the usage of caffeinated drinks.

  • Do not consume certain foods during pregnancy like papaya.

  • Stay away from radiation exposure or any kind of drugs or medicines that can prove to be dangerous (consult your doctor for the same).

  • Try to be in normal BMI (body mass index) and weight.

  • Take good care of your health and be careful about getting any infections.

  • Get treated or manage known chronic illnesses.

Miscarriages are always not under the control of the mother or anyone else. But we can take care of a few possible things to avoid it. It is a traumatic experience for the mother both physically and emotionally, and hence, support, care, and love of the near ones will help her cope up with the loss. Make sure to consult a doctor and discuss pregnancy and miscarriages so that you are aware and updated about it. A miscarriage does not mean infertility or no future pregnancy. So, do not lose hope. Most of the women have got a healthy pregnancy post miscarriage experiences, so you can too.

Last reviewed at:
10 Oct 2019  -  4 min read

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