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March 7, 2017 | OB/GYN
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.
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:
There are several factors that may not directly cause a miscarriage, but can increase your level of risk:
There are a few warning signs you might notice prior to a miscarriage:
During a miscarriage, symptoms will include:
If you begin experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, contact your healthcare provider immediately to find out what you should do next.
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:
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.
“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
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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.