In medical terms, miscarriage is the term used for a pregnancy that ends on it's own, within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. Most miscarriages occur during the first 13 weeks of pregnancy.
Unfortunately, miscarriage is very common. Many women have an early and mild miscarriage and may not even realize it.
It is a time of loss and sadness!
Remember that miscarriage is very common and can affect anyone. Do not blame yourself or anyone. You might feel shock, anguish, despair, an acute sense of loss and failure. These feelings are normal. Take your time to mourn.
It is tough when you see other babies and others having fun and feel envious. These feelings are normal. But try and not isolate yourself. Talk to folks about what you are going through. It will really help if you have a good support network and talk about your condition and your feelings to your doctor, spouse and friends and family. A miscarriage is not the end of the story. Usually, most women who experience a miscarriage go on to have full-term pregnancies and healthy deliveries.
Signs of miscarriage
If you experience any or all of these symptoms, you should call your doctor immediately:
- Mild to severe back pain (often worse than normal menstrual cramps)
- Weight loss
- White-pink mucus
- True contractions (very painful happening every 5-20 minutes)
- Brown or bright red bleeding
- Tissue with clot like material passing from the vagina
- Sudden decrease in signs of pregnancy (nausea etc.)
The main goal of treatment during or after a miscarriage is to prevent haemorrhaging and/or infection. The earlier you are in the pregnancy, the more likely that your body will expel all the foetal tissue by itself and will not require further medical procedures.
If the body does not expel all the tissue, the most common procedure performed to stop bleeding and prevent infection is a dilation and curettage, known as a D&C.
What causes miscarriage?
There are different reasons for miscarriage and often they cannot be identified.
During the first trimester, the most common cause of miscarriage is chromosomal abnormality- meaning that something is not correct with the baby's chromosomes (genetic material).
Other reasons include
- Maternal hormonal, infections or other health problems
- Maternal lifestyle (ie. smoking, drug use, malnutrition, excessive caffeine and exposure to radiation or toxic substances)
- Maternal age
- Maternal stress
How to reduce chances of miscarriage?
Since the cause of most miscarriages is due to chromosomal abnormalities, there is not much that can be done to prevent them. You can however do your bit to reduce the risk of miscarriage:
- Eat healthy food, exercise, rest well
- Manage stress effectively
- Take folic acid and other supplements the doctor tells you to
- Avoid toxic substances like alcohol, smoking and illegal drugs
- Limit intake of coffee and other products containing caffeine
- Check with your doctor before taking any medications
- Avoid environment hazards like x-rays, pesticides etc. Check out what’s safe and what’s not uring pregnancy
- Avoid high impact exercises or any new exercises during pregnancy
Can you conceive after miscarriage? And when?
Usually, most women who experience a miscarriage go on to have full-term pregnancies and healthy deliveries. Typically, if you have had 3 or more miscarriages and are having problems sustaining your pregnancy, you might need medical intervention. It is important that you discuss your concerns and plan your conception with input from your doctor.
Everyone handles miscarriage in different ways. Pursuing pregnancy after a miscarriage can be emotionally trying for some and not as bad for others. Typically, it is a good idea to wait for a couple of months after a miscarriage before trying to conceive again. This will ensure that you will recover physically (menstrual and hormonal cycle can get back to normal) and emotionally. But again, this is something that you should discuss with your doctor.