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.
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.
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.
Long-term diseases like diabetes, autoimmune conditions, hormonal disorders.
Two or more miscarriages in the past.
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).
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:
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.
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.
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:
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).
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.
The first and foremost sign of miscarriage is vaginal bleeding or spotting. The blood may be light brown. This discharge will have heavy bleeding. There may be severe abdominal pain, back pain, and dizziness.
There are different causes of miscarriage.
- Increased maternal age.
- Environmental hazards.
- Occupational hazards.
- Exposure to harmful toxic substances.
- Hormonal irregularities.
- Improper implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterine lining.
- Pathological conditions of the uterus.
After the miscarriage, you will have some abdominal pain and bleeding. This will resemble a period. It will gradually begin to get lighter. It will stop within 2 weeks. The pregnancy signs such as nausea and tenderness in the breasts will subside. If there is a miscarriage in the first trimester, you may wait for seven to fourteen days as the tissues pass out naturally. If the pain and bleeding have stopped completely it means the miscarriage has finished.
A complete blood count may be done to determine the amount of blood loss. Your gynecologist will perform a pelvic examination clinically to look for signs of miscarriage. The changes to the cervix and ruptured membranes will be noted by the doctor.
When the pregnant mother does not experience any symptoms of miscarriage, then it is known as a silent miscarriage. It is very rare. One sign which can be seen is that the symptoms of pregnancy such as nausea, vomiting, and fatigue might disappear.
Women who retain the dead embryo or fetus have the chance to experience severe blood loss or develop an infection of the womb. These are known to be rare complications.
When you start experiencing heavy bleeding or if you are having any symptoms of ectopic pregnancy, such as severe pain in the dizziness, fainting or abdominal area you should visit a doctor immediately.
Most of the women get their period again within four to six weeks after their miscarriage.Your body might take a while to recover from a miscarriage. It might take a maximum of one month. Depending on the duration of pregnancy, you may still have the pregnancy hormones residing after the miscarriage.
The full form of D&C is dilation and curettage. It is a surgical procedure that is done after the first-trimester miscarriage. In a D&C, dilation involves opening the cervix and curettage involves removing the remaining contents of the uterus.
The dilation and curettage procedure is a very common and safe procedure. But since it is a surgical procedure, there are few risks of other complications. The risks involved are uterine perforation and uterine infections.
Last reviewed at:
10 Oct 2019 - 4 min read
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