What You Need to Know About Miscarriages | Revere Health

A miscarriage refers to any time a fetus is lost before the 20th week of pregnancy, and it’s relatively common—up to half of all pregnancies end in a miscarriage.

Many of these cases are pregnancies that end before a woman even knows she is pregnant, or before she misses a menstrual cycle. Somewhere between 10 and 25 percent of all recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage, and the majority of these occur within the first three months.

Causes and Risk Factors

Many cases of miscarriage either have causes that cannot be identified, or are caused by genetic problems in the baby that don’t relate to the mother at all. There are several other potential causes as well including:

  • Lifestyle choices: Things like smoking, drug use, caffeine reliance and many other forms of malnutrition can cause miscarriage.
  • Hormonal complications or infections can cause miscarriage.
  • Uterine lining problems: A miscarriage can occur if the egg does not get implanted properly into the uterine lining.
  • Trauma to the mother can also cause miscarriage.
  • Immune system: Certain faulty responses from the nervous system can lead to miscarriage.

There are several factors that may not directly cause a miscarriage, but can increase your level of risk:

  • Age: Women under 35 have about a 15 percent chance of miscarriage, but women between 35 and 45 have between a 20 and 35 percent chance. Women over 45 have up to a 50 percent chance.
  • Previous miscarriage: A previous miscarriage raises future risk in healthy women to about 25 percent.
  • Previous diseases: Diseases like diabetes or thyroid conditions can increase the risk of miscarriage.
The risk for miscarriages increases as you age

Warning Signs and Symptoms

There are a few warning signs you might notice prior to a miscarriage:

  • Weight loss
  • White or pink mucus discharge
  • Back pain, often worse than normal cramps
  • Bleeding without cramps
  • Painful contractions every 5 to 20 minutes
  • Clotted tissue passing from the vagina
  • Many pregnancy signs suddenly go away

During a miscarriage, symptoms will include:

  • Severe cramps
  • Bleeding that starts light but becomes heavy
  • Fever or weakness
  • Back or abdominal pain

If you begin experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, contact your healthcare provider immediately to find out what you should do next.

Treatment and Prevention

Once a miscarriage has occurred, the main goal in treatment is to help prevent infections and other complications. You’ll undergo a pelvic exam, blood work and an ultrasound test to help confirm the miscarriage. The earlier a miscarriage took place in pregnancy, the higher chance the uterus will have naturally emptied itself. If it hasn’t, a procedure called dilation and curettage is performed.

Most miscarriages are caused by factors completely outside the mother’s control, so preventing them can be difficult. There are a few factors that can contribute to overall women’s health, however:

  • Regular exercise
  • Healthy diet and weight
  • Limit smoking and drinking
  • Stress management
  • Daily folic acid supplements
  • Limit caffeine
  • Be careful with medications—check with your doctor if you’re concerned
  • Avoid contact sports

A miscarriage can be a difficult emotional event for a mother, and many will need the support of friends and family during this time. At least 85 percent of women who have a miscarriage are still able to have healthy pregnancies in the future, and physical recovery is usually relatively painless.

Obstetricians/gynecologists at Revere Health OB/GYN provide a full range of healthcare services to women throughout all stages of their lives including; puberty, child-bearing years, menopause.

Sources:

“Miscarriage: Signs, Symptoms, Treatment And Prevention.” American Pregnancy Association. http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/miscarriage/

“Pregnancy Symptoms.” American Pregnancy Association. http://americanpregnancy.org/getting-pregnant/early-pregnancy-symptoms/

“Pregnancy and Miscarriage.” WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/pregnancy-miscarriage#1

“D and C (Dilation and Curettage).” WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/women/guide/d-and-c-dilation-and-curettage#1

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.

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