Miscarriage: Types, Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
A miscarriage occurs when an embryo or fetus dies before the 20th week of pregnancy. Miscarriage usually happens early in a pregnancy. 8 out of 10 miscarriages happen in the first 3 months.
Lots of people experience this kind of pregnancy loss. In fact, 10-20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. But even though miscarriage is common, it can be emotionally difficult. Feelings of grief and loss are normal after losing a pregnancy. The medical term for miscarriage is “spontaneous abortion.”
What are the causes of miscarriages?
It can be difficult to know exactly why a miscarriage happened, but it’s almost never caused by something the pregnant person did. Normal activities like s*x, exercise, working, and taking most medicines do NOT cause a miscarriage. Minor injuries, like falling, don’t generally cause a miscarriage either.
Some things that are known to cause miscarriages include:
- When the fertilized egg has an abnormal number of chromosomes (genes). This happens at random, so you can’t prevent it or cause it to happen.
- Certain illnesses, like severe diabetes, can increase the chances of having a miscarriage.
- A very serious infection or a major injury may cause miscarriage.
- Late miscarriages after three months may be caused by abnormalities in the uterus.
- If you’ve had more than two miscarriages in a row, you’re more likely to have a miscarriage.
What are the different types of miscarriages?
There are several types of miscarriages:
You have vaginal bleeding and may have mild cramps, but your cervix stays closed. Half of the time, the bleeding stops, and your pregnancy goes on normally. The other half of threatened miscarriages become inevitable miscarriages and end in pregnancy loss.
You have increased bleeding, and your cervix opens. If this happens, there’s no chance of your pregnancy continuing.
Some of the pregnancy tissue comes out of your uterus, and some stays inside. You may need a follow-up treatment to remove the remaining tissue.
All the pregnancy tissue comes out of your uterus. You usually don’t need any extra treatment.
You have no cramps or bleeding, but ultrasound shows an embryo without a heartbeat or an empty pregnancy sac without an embryo. Usually, the tissue passes on its own, but you may need treatment.
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Treatments for miscarriage include medicines or procedures that are very similar to those used for abortion. During an aspiration procedure, a nurse or doctor puts a thin plastic tube in the uterus and removes the pregnancy tissue with gentle suction. Miscarriages can be dangerous if they’re not treated.
What are the signs of miscarriage?
Sometimes, there are no miscarriage symptoms and you don’t find out until an ultrasound, or you don’t feel pregnant anymore. Usually, there are signs and symptoms. They include:
- vaginal bleeding or spotting
- severe belly pain
- severe cramping
What happens during a miscarriage?
Miscarriages are different for every person, but there are some common symptoms.
Not all miscarriages are physically painful, but most people have cramping. The cramps are really strong for some people, and light for others (like a period or less). It’s also common to have vaginal bleeding and to pass large blood clots up to the size of a lemon. Heavy miscarriage bleeding can be scary or surprising, but it’s usually normal.
The bleeding and cramping can end quickly, or it may last for several hours. Your doctor can give you medicine and tips on how to manage pain and cramps during your miscarriage.
No matter how fast it happens or whether or not it hurts, miscarriage can be upsetting. Keep in touch with your doctor about what’s going on and how you’re feeling. Your doctor can let you know what is and isn’t normal, and give you resources for emotional support if you need it.
What can I expect to feel after having a miscarriage?
There’s no one way that all people feel after having a miscarriage. You may feel a mix of emotions, including disappointment, despair, shock, guilt, grief, and relief sometimes all at the same time. All of these feelings are really normal, and usually, fade as time passes.
Take care of yourself physically and emotionally, and give yourself permission to grieve over your loss if you need to. Try to surround yourself with supportive and loving people who will let you grieve and comfort you. If you have a partner, they may be grieving the loss and dealing with a range of emotions, too. Talking about your feelings and supporting each other can help you both cope.
The amount of time it takes to emotionally heal after a miscarriage is different for everyone. Give yourself as much time as you need to grieve. Most people feel better when they have someone supportive to talk to. Even if you don’t think there’s anybody in your life you can lean on, know that you’re not alone.
If you want to get pregnant again, your doctor or local Planned Parenthood health centre can give you advice on planning your next pregnancy and help you figure out when it’s best to start trying again. They can also give you tips on preventing pregnancy and help you get birth control if you don’t want to get pregnant right after.
If you’ve had two or more miscarriages in a row, your doctor might want to do some tests to help figure out if something specific is causing problems with your pregnancies. The tests will check for any hormonal imbalances, genetic disorders, or other problems. Some conditions can be treated to help you have a healthy pregnancy in the future.
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