Miscarriages are one of the most disheartening pregnancy issues women trying to get pregnant face. They take an emotional and physical toll. If you are worried about miscarriages, know they are common.
Women in their pregnancy prime have a 10 to 25 percent risk of miscarriage. For healthy women, the risk is 15 to 20 percent. Miscarriages occur when a pregnancy ends within the first 20 weeks.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, miscarriages are the most common type of pregnancy loss. Most miscarriages happen during the first 13 weeks, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
Let’s take a closer look at why they occur the vital warning signs, types, and prevention of this common form of pregnancy loss.
Reasons Miscarriages Happen and the Pregnancy Issues Involved
Due to the high risk of miscarriages, even in healthy women, the reasons they happen vary. The cause is often unexplained medically. However, one common cause is a chromosomal abnormality, when a baby’s chromosomes are wrong.
Chromosomal abnormalities can be damaged eggs, sperm, or a pregnancy issue with the zygote division. The other causes of miscarriages include hormonal problems, infections, the mother’s age, mother’s health issues, or trauma to the mother.
Lifestyle choices such as exposure to toxins, too much caffeine, smoking, malnutrition, and drug/alcohol abuse can also be factors regarding miscarriages. Despite the causes, being aware of pregnancy issues and warning signs during your first trimester of pregnancy is vital.
Vital Warning Signs of Miscarriages During Early Pregnancy
If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, asking questions about possible pregnancy issues is essential. Knowing what to look for regarding miscarriages is vital to you and your baby’s health.
Here are a few vital warning signs for miscarriages to look for during your first trimester, as well as throughout your pregnancy:
- Signs of your pregnancy are dissipating.
- Weight loss of any kind.
- Mild to severe back pain, more painful than normal menstrual cramping.
- White pinkish mucus.
- Clots or tissue passing from the vagina.
- Painful contractions at a rate of 5 to 20 minutes.
There is a breadth of vital warning signs for miscarriages. Some can even be signs and symptoms of other pregnancy issues. Pregnancy is tough on your body and mind, and if you experience any pregnancy issues, talk to a doctor online immediately.
Miscarriages Have Many Types and Not Always a Single Pregnancy Event
A common misunderstanding about miscarriages is that it is a singular event. This is simply not true. Many of them are often a process and a serious pregnancy issue, despite being so common.
Early fetal development is another key aspect regarding your pregnancy to understand. The more knowledge you have during the first trimester will help you identify pregnancy issues. And you will have peace of mind, knowing what changes your body should be going through.
Below are a few different types of miscarriages.
- Complete miscarriage is when all embryo products are discharged from the uterus.
- Threatened miscarriage. Often accompanied by uterine bleeding, back pain, cramping, and a sign of implantation.
- Incomplete miscarriage. Bleeding and open cervix with abdominal pain and back pain.
- Missed miscarriage. A miscarriage without discharge of embryo products leads to women not knowing they had a miscarriage.
- Recurrent miscarriage. There are three consecutive pregnancy losses within the first trimester.
There are several types of miscarriages. However, information will help you ask medical questions and get medical advice if you feel something isn’t right. If you don’t want to visit your primary care doctor, expert medical advice about pregnancy issues available online.
Several factors increase the risk of miscarriage, including:
Age. Women who are older than age 35 have a higher risk of miscarriage as compared to younger women. According to studies, at age 35, you have about a 20 percent risk, whereas the risk doubles when you reach the age of 40.
History of previous miscarriages. Women who have had either two or more consecutive miscarriages are at higher risk of having a miscarriage again.
Chronic conditions. Women with chronic conditions, for example, uncontrolled diabetes, have a higher risk of miscarriage.
Uterine/cervical problems. Certain uterine conditions or weak cervical tissues can also increase the risk of miscarriage.
Smoking, alcohol and illicit drugs. Women who smoke or use drugs and alcohol during pregnancy have an increased risk of miscarriage than non-smokers.
Weight. Being underweight or overweight has been linked with an increased risk of miscarriage.
Invasive prenatal tests. Invasive prenatal genetic tests, such as amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling, carry a slight risk of miscarriage.
Most miscarriages occur because the fetus stops developing as it is supposed to. About 50 percent of miscarriages are closely associated with the presence of an extra chromosome or an absence of a chromosome. Most often, chromosomal problems result from errors that occur by chance during embryo division and growth.
Chromosome problems can lead to:
Blighted ovum: A blighted ovum occurs when there isn’t an embryo formation.
Intrauterine fetal death. This is when an embryo forms but stops growing and dies.
Molar pregnancy and partial molar pregnancy. In a case of a molar pregnancy, both sets of chromosomes arise from the father. A molar pregnancy results in abnormal placenta growth. There fetus fails to develop. A partial molar pregnancy occurs when the father provides two sets of chromosomes but the mother’s chromosomes are there too. A partial molar pregnancy can be associated with placenta abnormalities and an abnormal fetus.
These pregnancies are non-viable. Molar and partial molar pregnancies may sometimes lead to cancerous changes in the placenta.
Maternal health conditions
In some cases, a mother’s health condition might lead to miscarriage. These include:
- Hormonal problems
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Uterus abnormalities
- Incompetent cervix
- Thyroid disease
Other Causes of Miscarriage Include:
- Exposure to environmental hazards such as high levels of radiation or toxic agents
- Autoimmune diseases such as lupus
- Severe kidney disease
- Congenital heart disease
- Diabetes that is not controlled
- Certain medicines, such as isotretinoin
- Severe malnutrition.
- Group B beta strep.
What are the Chances of Having a Miscarriage?
- Women who are 35 yrs old have around a 15% chance of miscarriage
- Women who are 35-45 yrs old have a 20-35% chance of miscarriage,
- Women over the age of 45 can have up to a 50% chance of miscarriage
- A woman who has previously had a miscarriage has a 25% chance of having one again.
Miscarriage Treatments Options
Treatment during or post-miscarriage aims to prevent excessive bleeding and infection. In addition, the earlier you lose a pregnancy, the more likely that your body will expel all the fetal tissue and medical procedures are rarely required.
However, if the body does not expel all the tissue, a dilation and curettage is performed to stop bleeding and prevent infection. Medication may be prescribed to help control bleeding after the D&C is performed. Bleeding should be monitored closely once you are at home.
Chromosomal abnormalities cannot be prevented but the following measures may help maintain a healthy pregnancy:
- Eating healthily
- Regular exercise
- Managing stress
- Maintaining weight within healthy limits
- Taking folic acid daily
- Avoiding smoking
The prevention of miscarriages is difficult. This is mainly due to the chromosomal abnormalities that commonly cause them. Many pregnancy issues are difficult to prevent in many aspects.
However, one vital step to having a healthy pregnancy is to be healthy prior to conception. If you are thinking about becoming pregnant and want to prevent as many pregnancy issues as possible, make healthy lifestyle choices. Eating right, exercising regularly, decreasing stress levels, not smoking, taking folic acid, and keeping your body weight within healthy parameters are all excellent steps.
Miscarriages happen. They are one of many common pregnancy issues women need to face. The emotional toll they take can also affect family members too. Gain the knowledge about them for your best chance of a healthy pregnancy.
FAQs About Miscarriage Answered by Your Doctors Online
Having a miscarriage once doesn’t mean a woman will have another miscarriage if she tries again. Although, some women suffer more than one miscarriage, and therefore, it is vital to follow up with your doctor for an evaluation.
To prevent infection, sex isn’t recommended for two weeks after a miscarriage. However, after that, if you feel emotionally and physically ready for pregnancy after miscarriage, you can try again after consulting with a doctor.
The following symptoms may indicate a miscarriage:
Vaginal spotting or bleeding
Both may look like typical period clots, but in case of a miscarriage, you may pass larger than normal clots. Actual pregnancy tissue is usually seen after the eighth week. If that is the case, you may notice the passage of tissues.