About 80% of miscarriages occur in the first thirteen weeks of pregnancy. The loss of a fetus before the completion of 20 weeks of pregnancy is recognized as a miscarriage.
My heart aches for women who have endured the pain of a miscarriage. But let me tell you, if you are grieving the loss of a child in the womb, you are not alone. 1 in 4 women suffer the pain of a miscarriage. While you can find a haven of information about a miscarriage on the internet, you still might have some unanswered and unsettling queries.
In this blog, we will discuss in depth about the signs, causes, and treatment of miscarriages.
Signs of a miscarriage
Some prominent signs of a miscarriage include:
Cramps and bleeding which slowly intensifies
1 in 4 women experience light bleeding sometime during pregnancy. This could be signs of an implantation bleeding. However, if the bleeding gets heavier, this could be a cause for concern and requires immediate medical attention.
Abdominal and back pain
If the bleeding increases, so will the cramps and the pain; especially, in the abdomen and the back. Watch out for these alarming signs. If the pain and bleeding persists, chances are that it’s a miscarriage. This pain could also result in fever and giddiness.
If you are facing any of these symptoms, visit your healthcare provider. It is possible to face these symptoms without a miscarriage as well. Your doctor will confirm the miscarriage post an ultrasound or blood tests. This is to check on baby’s growth & heartbeat. Your blood test will help the doctor check your level of hCG hormone (human chorionic gonadotropin). A low or falling hCG level could mean that you had a miscarriage.
What are the causes of a miscarriage?
Chromosome issues in the fertilized egg are usually the most common cause of a miscarriage. Chromosomes carry the genes that determine a baby’s health, hair color, eye colour and other features. Lack of adequate chromosome or too many of the can prevent the normal growth of the fetus. However, please remember this is not your fault; neither your partner’s.
Improper plantation or issues with the development of the egg can also cause miscarriage. However, if the miscarriage occurs very early, it is difficult to decisively point out the actual reason of the miscarriage.
Other causes of a miscarriage include certain health conditions (rubella, HIV, Listeria, etc), an underlying thyroid or uncontrolled diabetes, infections or some hormonal problems. Uterine problems, cervical insufficiency, and other medical conditions could also attribute to a miscarriage. Poor diet, malnutrition, drug and alcohol abuse are also known to cause miscarriages.
Women who are above the age of 35 or have had two or three subsequent miscarriages are at a higher risk of a miscarriage.
Once a miscarriage occurs, your doctor will conduct a thorough examination to determine if the miscarriage is complete. You may continue to witness bleeding for a period of 2 weeks. If you continue to bleed post that, it means that the uterus still has remnants of the pregnancy. You must visit your doctor. He will either prescribe medications or conduct a Dilation and Curettage, commonly known as D&C. D&C is a procedure wherein the cervix is dilated and the remaining placental tissues are removed from the uterus.
After a miscarriage, if the doctor finds the cervix dilated and incompetent, he might perform a procedure to close the cervix (cerclage). For women who are Rh negative, your doctor may give you an Rh immune globulin, which prevents your body from developing antibodies that could be harmful for your future pregnancies, unless the father is also Rh negative.
If a woman has had more than two miscarriages in a row, known as recurrent miscarriage, the doctor may suggest a series of blood examinations, genetic tests, pelvic ultrasound, hysterosalpingogram (x-ray of the tubes and uterus), and a hysteroscopy (a test in which the doctor views the uterus through a thin telescopic device). During the diagnosis, if certain health issues are identified with either of the parents, treatment should be done before planning the next pregnancy.
Your healthcare provider might also suggest a course of the hormone progesterone, which supports the implantation and growth of the fetus in early pregnancy.
Coping up with a miscarriage
You must remember that having a miscarriage doesn’t mean that you have fertility issues. 85% of the women, who’ve had a miscarriage, go through a normal pregnancy, subsequently.
Physically, you require at least 6 months to recover. Emotionally recovery may take longer. And, understandably so!
As for trying again, medically, you can start right after you get your next period (four to six weeks after the miscarriage). However, it is suggested that you wait until you are emotionally ready to take the plunge. Talk to your partner, look for each other’s support and take good care of your health. With good family support, expert medical care and guidance, parenthood will soon be on its way.