This is the most common type of pregnancy loss. It is the spontaneous loss of a fetus before it can survive independently, mainly before the 20th week. It is also known as spontaneous abortion. It is physically and emotionally painful. It occurs mainly in 10 to 20% of known pregnancies. However, since many women miscarry before discovering they are pregnant, the actual number of miscarriages may be higher. Around 80% of miscarriages occur in the first trimester, the most common time (the first 12 weeks of pregnancy).
Miscarriages are primarily because of chromosomal abnormalities, unlike the common assumption that they are caused by what you did or did not do.
Signs Of a Miscarriage
- Longer-lasting spotting than three days, different from common early signs of pregnancy
- Bleeding that could involve tissue or clots
- Back and stomach cramps that range in intensity from mild to severe
- Weight loss
- Release of liquid or mucous from the vagina
- A reduction in pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and painful breasts
Different Forms of Miscarriages During the Pregnancy Period
It is mainly in the first three months of the pregnancy (first trimester). Usually, a baby’s chromosomal abnormalities are the reason for it. These occur by accident.
- Blocks of DNA called chromosomes hold the development-related instructions for your child. When you become pregnant, there may be a problem that results in the infant having too many or insufficient chromosomes. In such a case, the infant cannot grow normally.
- A miscarriage may also occur if there is an issue with the placenta’s growth. An organ that supports your baby’s growth and development is the placenta. It is fastened to the womb’s lining and linked to your unborn child through the umbilical cord. Also, the pregnancy may fail if the fetus and placenta are incompatible.
- Ectopic conception. This uncommon but possibly dangerous pregnancy type happens when the fetus grows outside the womb. Ectopic pregnancies are medical emergencies that need to be treated immediately since they cannot be saved.
Chromosome abnormalities could also lead to;
- Blighted/ contaminated egg. In a blighted ovum, no embryo develops.
- Infant death inside the womb. In this case, an embryo hatches, but before any signs of pregnancy loss manifest, it stops growing and passes away.
- Partial molar pregnancy and molar pregnancy. In a molar pregnancy, the placenta grows abnormally thus the fetus typically does not develop. It happens in the case where the father is the source of both chromosomes. On the other hand, a partial molar pregnancy is when the mother’s chromosomes are still available, but the father contributes two pairs of chromosomes. Anomalies typically accompany a partial molar pregnancy in the placenta and the fetus.
- Pregnancies involving molars or partial molars are not viable pregnancies. Partial molar and molar pregnancies are occasionally linked to malignant placental alterations.
Late and recurrent miscarriage
Three consecutive miscarriages or more are typically considered to be recurrent miscarriages. A baby dying between 14 and 24 weeks of pregnancy is a late miscarriage.
Causes of Miscarriage
- Blood clotting
Blood clotting risk may be increased if you have thrombophilia, a genetic disorder. Recurrent miscarriages and late miscarriages could result from this.
- Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS)
Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is a syndrome that increases the risk of blood clotting. Although it is uncommon, this can lead to late and repeated miscarriages.
- Genetic factors
Repeated miscarriages can occasionally result from one partner having a chromosomal abnormality. In about 2 to 5% of cases, this occurs. There’s a chance the partner is unaware of this abnormality.
- Weak cervix
A weak cervix could be the cause of a miscarriage that occurs between 14 and 23 weeks of pregnancy. Unfortunately, if you are not pregnant, it might be challenging to diagnose this. However, it can be supposed if your waters broke prematurely in a prior pregnancy or if the neck of the womb opened during a prior loss without any pain.
- Infections affect either the mother or baby. Women with an infection in the uterus could lead to a septic miscarriage.
Symptoms of infections in the uterus are such;
- Lower abdominal tenderness
- Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- Poor fetus development or abnormalities in fetus development. It, however, causes late miscarriages, not recurrent miscarriages.
- Abnormally shaped uterus
While substantial fibroids and polyps are linked to recurrent loss, minor changes do not appear to cause miscarriage.
- Some long-term health conditions could cause a miscarriage, mainly in the second trimester. They are;
- an overactive thyroid gland
- an underactive thyroid gland.
- high blood pressure
- kidney disease
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Amid the menstrual cycle, it occurs when the ovaries don’t always release an egg (the start of a period to the start of the next one). The ovaries may enlarge beyond what is typical.
Problems conceiving are a potential side effect of polycystic ovarian syndrome linked to hormonal abnormalities in the ovaries. Additionally, some evidence supports the idea that it may be connected to a higher incidence of miscarriages in fertile women.
- Some medications, such as;
- Misoprostol used for disorders like rheumatoid arthritis
- Methotrexate is used for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis
- Retinoids and ibuprofen used to treat eczema and acne
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) for treating inflammation and pain
Always consult your physician on medications safe for you during pregnancy.
- Food poisoning
Consuming food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, or parasites results in food poisoning. These microorganisms have been linked to the infection known as listeriosis. Although listeriosis is uncommon, it can harm a developing infant during pregnancy, result in miscarriage, or give a newborn a severe condition.
- Problems with the umbilical cord. The umbilical cord has the potential to stop the flow of blood and oxygen to the fetus if it is tangled or compressed.
- Environmental factors
A miscarriage may occur due to exposure to specific chemicals or dangers. These include heavy metals, insecticides, solvents, paint thinners, and mercury. The incidence of miscarriage has also been connected to air pollution.
Age does raise the chance of miscarriage. According to a medical study, the probability of miscarriage is 8.9% for women between the ages of 20 and 24 and rises to 74.7% for women over 45.
This is because as you age, your egg production and quality decline. This is also why getting pregnant as you age may take longer.
The age of the father also raises the risk of miscarriage. This is because chromosomal abnormalities in sperm are discovered more frequently as men age. The DNA building blocks known as chromosomes hold the instructions for creating every component of a baby. Anomalies can result in genetic defects in the unborn child, occasionally leading to miscarriage.
Couples with a lady at least 35 years old and a guy at least 40 years old are most likely to miscarry. Age also affects a man’s capacity to become a father, though not as much as a mother.
Risk Factors of Miscarriages
The following factors could increase the chances of a miscarriage;
- Former miscarriages. Females who have miscarried twice or more in a row are more likely to do so again.
- Chronic diseases. Women with chronic conditions, like uncontrolled diabetes, are more likely to miscarry.
- Illegal substances, alcohol, and smoking. The usage of illegal drugs and excessive alcohol advance the risk of miscarriage. Smokers have a high likelihood to experience a miscarriage than non-smokers.
- Cervical or uterine issues. The risk of miscarriage may be amplified by poor cervical tissues (incompetent cervix) or specific uterine diseases.
- Weight. An increased risk of miscarriage has been associated with being overweight or underweight.
- Consumption of excess caffeine while pregnant.
- Invasive prenatal examinations. There is a slight chance of miscarriage with extensive prenatal genetic tests, including amniocentesis and chorionic villus collection.
Myths About Miscarriage
Several myths and misconceptions that are thought to cause miscarriage are;
- Exercise, particularly vigorous ones like jogging and cycling.
- Eating spicy foods.
- Sexual activity. (Unless your doctor has advised you not to, having sex while pregnant is safe)
- Working. As long as you’re not exposed to radiation or toxic chemicals, you can work. If you are concerned about dangers at work, speak to your doctor.
Other myths are;
- Bleeding during pregnancy means you are having a miscarriage
During the first few weeks of pregnancy, spotting is common. If you experience bleeding, discuss what is common and what might be a symptom of a miscarriage with your doctor.
- It is not possible to perceive after a miscarriage.
Although it is impossible to anticipate when you will become fertile once more after a miscarriage, it will happen pretty soon for many people. After a miscarriage, some people can start ovulating again in as little as two weeks, while others may have to wait up to three months for their regular menstrual cycles to return. There will be individual variation. Use protection as a result until you are ready to become pregnant again.
Prevention of Miscarriages
There is frequently nothing you can do to stop a miscarriage. Concentrate on looking for yourself and your infant:
- Look for routine prenatal treatment. This is where you will be taught how to exercise and eat healthily during pregnancy.
- Avoid behaviors that rise the chance of miscarriage, including using illegal drugs, consuming alcohol, and smoking.
- Regular multivitamin consumption
- Consume caffeine in moderation. According to a recent study, having more than two caffeinated drinks daily may increase your chance of miscarriage.
- Ensuring you have the correct weight before having a miscarriage
- Control chronic conditions
Work with your doctor to effectively treat or manage any health conditions you may have, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or an autoimmune disease. When you get pregnant, this may help avoid miscarriages.
- Sex should be safe.
Complications during pregnancy may result from specific sexually transmitted infections (STDs). Before attempting to become pregnant, get tested. Get tested as soon as possible to see if you are already pregnant.
To lower your risk of STDs while pregnant, utilize barrier measures correctly in all sexual encounters, including oral or anal sex.
Is It Possible to Stop a Miscarriage?
No matter whatever trimester you are in, in most circumstances, you cannot stop a miscarriage once it has begun. Typically, a miscarriage’s symptoms signify that the pregnancy has already ended.
The signs and symptoms in some women could indicate a condition known as a threatening miscarriage. People who are fewer than 20 weeks pregnant may experience this. If you bleed a lot, you might think your pregnancy is over. Even though there may be indications of an upcoming miscarriage, the pregnancy might continue if there is still a baby’s heartbeat. However, it would be best if you collaborated with your doctor to prevent a complete miscarriage
Treatment For Miscarriage
- Progesterone injections and bed rest, in addition to treatment for any underlying disorders that may be causing the bleeding.
- An Rh immunoglobulin injection if you have Rh-negative blood and your child has positive blood.
Always consult your doctor in case of a slight change during your pregnancy.