Undertsand Miscarriage: Causes, Risk Factors and How to Cope

Miscarriage is a fairly common occurence for the mother and the family. Know all about miscarriage, its causes, risks, symptoms and how you can prevent it and keep yourself and your baby safe.

Bhadra Kamalasanan
PregnancyWritten by: Bhadra KamalasananPublished at: Jan 23, 2013
Undertsand Miscarriage: Causes, Risk Factors and How to Cope

Miscarriage and abortion is often confused especially when, in some cases, a woman miscarries because she mistakenly popped the abortion pill or was made to. As for the generic definition of miscarriage and abortion, the difference is quite apparent. Abortion is a voluntary procedure and miscarriage is a loss.

Difference Between Miscarriage and Abortion

The University of Maryland Medical Center defines miscarriage as the spontaneous loss of pregnancy before the foetus is twenty weeks old. The research statistics of the University has it that around 15% of the pregnancies ends in miscarriage and that too before the 12th week of pregnancy i.e. the first trimester.

If a woman has undergone miscarriage, it does not imply that she will not get pregnant again. In fact, most women who undergo miscarriage tend to have successful pregnancies later. In fact, the British Medical Journal says that women, who conceive within six months of their miscarriage, tend to have a successful one.

According to the Chatelaine Magazine, the risk of miscarriage differs with age and that woman aged between 20—29 years are 10% at the risk of going through a miscarriage and those that are 45 years or older are 50% likely to miscarry. A miscarriage whether it happens accidently can be an emotionally charging experience for the mother-to-be and therefore, needs to be dealt with all sensitivity.



  • Vaginal bleeding that is either brown or bright red in colour. The woman may also observe slight spotting in the morning. Light bleeding in the first trimester of pregnancy, however, is common and does not always imply that the woman is miscarrying. You must still check with your doctor.
  • Gush of clear or pink vaginal fluid or passage of tissue from the vagina.
  • Pain or cramps in the pelvic region radiating to lower back or abdomen.
  • Discharge of tissue or blood clots from the vagina.
  • Reduced symptoms of pregnancy such as breast tenderness and morning sickness.
  • Vertigo, dizziness.



Genetic: In about half of the total early miscarriages, the baby does not really develop the way it should keeping with the time of the pregnancy and can therefore, not survive any longer.

Immunological/Blood Clotting: Problems in blood vessels that supply placenta can be the cause for miscarriage, especially if the blood clots are more than what they should be.

Hormonal: Women who have had irregular periods during their reproductive years are likely to find it harder to conceive and even they do conceive, end up miscarrying.

Infection: A pregnant woman is always advised to keep her protected and safe by practising good personal hygiene. Minor infections in the form of cold and cough are not harmful for the mother, though if she has a very high temperature and some infections or illnesses like German measles, she is likely to miscarry.

Anatomical reasons: There are three anatomical causes of miscarriage. These are:

  • If the uterus is of an irregular shape. For instance, the uterus may be too small to accommodate a growing baby.
  • If the cervix or bottom part of the uterus is weak in the case of which it may start to open as foetus grows in it, leading to miscarriage.
  • If there are large fibroids in the uterus. Fibroids may cause a woman to miscarry when she is in the later stages of pregnancy term.


Risk factors

  • Women older than thirty-five years are at an increased risk of suffering from miscarriages.
  • History of miscarriages.
  • Certain chronic health issues such as diabetes, thyroid disorders increases the risk of miscarriage.



If you are at a risk of miscarriage in your first four months of pregnancy, certain measures may be suggested by the doctor who would include appropriate rest, avoiding any strenuous activity and other precautions. These measures are not foolproof and miscarriage may still occur. If a miscarriage has happened, a surgery called dilation and curettage (D&C) is performed which dilates the cervix and gently removes remaining tissue/s from the lining of the uterus.



When recovering from the emotional and physical experience of having gone through a miscarriage, here are some of the changes you will observe:

  • Excessive Bleeding: Haemorrhaging, sometimes, is a cause for concern among women who have had a miscarriage. Seek medical help if you soaking up a menstrual pad in less than an hour.
  • Infection: Post-miscarriage infection is likely, especially if the woman fails to take adequate care by way of personal hygiene. The infection can be dangerous if the doctor is not informed about it on time.
  • Depression: Miscarriage is likely to cause one to bring grief to the victim and her family members. But if you tend to be so sad you do not want to do anything but lie on your bed all day, you could be suffering from clinical depression, which must be given medical attention.



Certain measures can be taken to reduce chances of miscarriage in future pregnancies by ensuring a healthy diet, taking prenatal supplements, especially folic acid. Preconception health is very important with regular exercising and pursuing healthy habits like not smoking, drinking alcoholic drinks and drugs. If you have had several miscarriages, consult a doctor for further tests and remedial measures.



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