For the majority of healthy women under the age of 35, risk of miscarriage is 15 to 20 percent, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Unfortunately, this risk does not decrease even if you’ve had a previous healthy pregnancy. Conversely, your risk slightly increases the older you are, or if you’ve had consecutive miscarriages.
More than 50 percent of miscarriages that occur during the first trimester result from fetal chromosomal abnormalities. A miscarriage can also happen when there is not enough of the hormone progesterone to sustain the pregnancy, or when a problem with the uterine lining prevents the embryo from implanting. Other times, an abnormally shaped uterus or incompetent cervix leads to miscarriage. An incompetent cervix is one that prematurely dilates. Your lifestyle can also contribute to miscarriage. Drinking, smoking and abusing drugs are not compatible with pregnancy. If you are overweight or suffer from diabetes, your chances of miscarriage increase.
Any miscarriage that occurs before 20 weeks of gestation is a spontaneous abortion. Within this classification, doctors further break down the types of miscarriages, according to how the patient presents with signs and symptoms. If you experience some bleeding and cramping within the early weeks of pregnancy but your cervix remains closed, it is a threatened miscarriage. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, many women have a normal pregnancy even after they have been diagnosed with a threatened miscarriage. Your doctor might advise you to abstain from sexual intercourse and remain in bed until the signs and symptoms resolve. An inevitable miscarriage is similar to a threatened miscarriage. However, the cervix begins to open. A complete miscarriage presents with bleeding, severe cramping and the eventual passing of embryonic tissue. A missed miscarriage occurs when the embryo dies in utero without explanation but is not passed through the vagina. Doctors call three or more miscarriages that occur during the first trimester a recurrent miscarriage. This condition affects approximately 1 percent of pregnant women.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs of miscarriage include bleeding and abdominal pain. The blood can be brown or bright red, and the abdominal pain is usually more severe than menstrual cramps. You might experience regular contractions along with mucus that appears whitish-pink with the eventual expulsion of clotted embryonic tissue. In the case of a missed miscarriage, you will probably notice a decrease in other pregnancy signs and symptoms.
Treatment and Prevention
Miscarriages that occur in the early weeks of pregnancy may not require medical intervention, though you should call your physician if you suspect miscarriage. She can confirm miscarriage with an ultrasound. If you have not passed all the embryonic or fetal tissue, your physician will need to remove it to prevent infection. Because the majority of miscarriages happen due to chromosomal abnormalities, you can’t prevent them. To increase the chances of a healthy pregnancy, taking care of yourself before and after you conceive is crucial.
The effects of miscarriage can be debilitating for you and your partner. Miscarriage is often an emotionally traumatic event that can manifest with physical symptoms, such as headache, loss of appetite and sleep disturbance. The best thing you can do is to allow yourself time to grieve and heal. Remain open to your spouse and other family members who want to help. Find support by talking to other couples who’ve suffered miscarriage.
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