Miscarriage is the sudden and unexpected loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week. Around 10-20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. However, the exact figure might be higher because many miscarriages occur so early in pregnancy that a woman is not even able to realize that she is pregnant. More than 80% of miscarriages happen within the first 3 months of pregnancy. Miscarriages are very less likely to occur after 20 weeks, which means early miscarriages are very common. Miscarriage is a medical term that tells about something that went wrong, but not surely while carrying of the pregnancy.
Most miscarriages happen if the fetus has not developed normally. Miscarriage can be tough on women as it has painful and discomforting symptoms. It can even leave psychological impacts. Both emotional and physical healing is important to recover in a healthy way from a miscarriage. One also needs to know the main risk factors of a miscarriage and the medical care required after having one. With ultrasound, it is now much easier to determine whether an embryo has died or was never formed. It can even help in knowing the cause behind a miscarriage. Onlymyhealth editorial team talked to Dr. Tejashri Shrotri, A Patron of SeekMed, Consultant Gynaecologist and Infertility specialist at Apollo Cradle Royale, New Delhi, about the symptoms and causes of a miscarriage.
In a miscarriage, the woman might experience a lot of problems such as cramps, pain, and bleeding upto 2-3 weeks. It can take a few weeks or months to recover from a miscarriage. This time period is different in every woman, and some might take a long time. Miscarriage affects a woman both physically and emotionally. The woman might also have fewer signs of pregnancy, if she is going through a miscarriage. Here are the symptoms of miscarriage:
Bleeding is one of the most early and common signs of miscarriage. It might start as light spotting and then move ok to heavy bleeding or even clotting. As the cervix dilates to empty, the bleeding is likely to become heavier. The heaviest bleeding mostly occurs within three to five hours from the time it starts. It is important to connect with your doctor as soon as you see any bleeding during the pregnancy period.
2. Severe cramps
Bleeding and cramping can also vary if the pregnancy is at the early or later stage. If you have a miscarriage in the middle to late first trimester, your cramping can be anywhere from hardly getting noticed to heavy and intense. Severe cramps during a miscarriage is mostly not considered as a sign of a medical emergency, but if you are concerned, it is good to get it checked by a doctor to rule out any other complications. Your doctor might suggest you to take an appropriate painkiller. The cramping is mostly more intense than what happens during normal menstrual period.
3. Weight loss
Weight loss in pregnancy after a good amount of constant weight gain is a possible early sign of miscarriage. This is a rare symptom and mostly occurs in the second trimester. You should immediately contact your doctor if you begin to lose weight rapidly and significantly. It is also important to take quick medical aid and talk to a doctor about the diagnosing as it can be due to other factors as well. It is not right if the mother is losing significant weight during pregnancy.
Weakness is a very common symptoms of miscarriage, miscarriages are accompanied by heavy and prolonged bleeding that general periods, proper diet medicines and medical supervision should be there for the mother to go through and then finally compensate the blood loss. Loss of blood can sometimes lead to being light headed. If you are already suffering from deficiencies like anemia, you may experience more symptoms like dizziness or even fainting.
5. Belly and back pain
Miscarriage is accompanied by belly pain and back pain, it is the most common symptom experienced by women. It could vary from being mild to severe, this pain can be constant and well as intermittent, this pain occurs mostly because of naturally produced contractions happening in uterus. It can also be accompanied by spotting of blood clots or tissue like material. Women might feel a gush of clear fluid which might have few blood spots.
Most miscarriages happen because of fatal genetic problems in the unborn baby. Usually, these problems are not related to the mother. However, there are many other problems related to the mother that can lead to a miscarriage. As per Dr. Tejashri, the chances of having a miscarriage are higher with the increasing age. So, here are the main causes of a miscarriage:
1. Drinking and smoking
Both smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol should be strictly restricted during pregnancy to avoid having a miscarriage. It is one of the major causes of miscarriage. If not miscarriage, smoking and drinking alcohol can harm the mother and baby's health. Both cigarettes and alcohol can raise your blood pressure, putting the baby at risk. And, alcohol consumption can also cause a lot of problems for your baby in the womb, from physical to mental abnormalities. The mother needs to quit these harmful habits to reduce the risk of having a miscarriage.
2. Uterine abnormalities
Uterine abnormalities can also be a cause for having a miscarriage. Submucous fibroids (those that project into the uterine cavity and change its shape) and intracavitary fibroids (those within the uterine cavity) have higher chances of causing a miscarriage than intramural fibroids (fibroids within the uterine wall) or subserosal fibroids (fibroids outside the uterine wall).
The connection of systemic infections with malaria, brucellosis, cytomegalovirus and human immunodeficiency virus, dengue fever, influenza virus and of vaginal infection with bacterial vaginosis, with a high risk of miscarriage is also seen in a few researches. According to Dr. Tejashri, mildly, infection can also be a cause for miscarriage.
4. Certain medical conditions (such as diabetes or thyroid)
Certain medical conditions such as diabetes and thyroid can also be a cause for miscarriage. A disorder in which the immune system mistakenly attacks normal proteins in the blood is called Antiphospholipid syndrome. In this syndrome, blood clots can form within the arteries, veins and organs. It can also lead to miscarriage and a stillbirth in women. This can be a huge risk factor behind having a miscarriage.
5. Cervical insufficiency
As per a study, a miscarriage sometimes happens when the mother has a weak cervix. According to health care experts, this is called cervical insufficiency. It means the cervix does not have the ability or power to hold the pregnancy. This type of miscarriage mostly happens in the second trimester and not in the early stages of pregnancy.
6. Genetic factor
Genetic factor can also become a cause for miscarriage during pregnancy. A woman's medical history plays a major role in their course of being pregnant. Especially if your mother or grandmother had recurrent miscarriage, then it puts you even at a higher risk of having a miscarriage.
These were the symptoms and causes of a miscarriage by Dr. Tejashri Shrotri. Most miscarriages occur because the fetus isn't developing normally. About 50 percent of miscarriages are associated with other factors. If you experience any of the above mentioned signs of miscarriage, then you should surely talk to the doctor. And, smoking and drinking are strictly restricted during pregnancy, to keep the baby safe.
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