Early Pregnancy Loss: Here is What You Need to Know about Miscarriage
What is a miscarriage?
Miscarriage is described as "spontaneous abortion" in medical terms.
When an embryo or fetus dies before the 20th week of pregnancy, it is referred to as a miscarriage. Miscarriage is most common early in pregnancy, with 8 out of 10 miscarriages occurring in the first three months.
This type of pregnancy loss affects a large number of women. Unfortunately, 10-20% of pregnancies result in miscarriage. Although miscarriage is a regular occurrence, it can be emotionally draining. Grief and loss are common following a miscarriage.
What are the symptoms of miscarriages?
- Vaginal bleeding is the most common indicator of a miscarriage, and it's often followed by cramping and pain in your lower abdomen.
- If you're experiencing vaginal bleeding, see your doctor or your midwife.
- If necessary, most GPs can immediately refer you to an early pregnancy unit at your local hospital.
- If your pregnancy is at a later stage, you may be referred to a maternity ward.
- However, keep in mind that minor vaginal bleeding is normal throughout the first trimester (the first three months of pregnancy) and does not always indicate a miscarriage.
What causes miscarriage?
The majority of miscarriages are caused by genetic abnormalities that prevent the infant from developing. These issues are often linked to the mother's or father's genes.
Miscarriage can also be caused by the following factors:
- Abuse of drugs and alcohol
- Disorders of clotting
- Toxic exposure from the environment
- Hormone imbalances
- Obstacles to the mother's reproductive organs on a physiological body
- An issue with the immunological system of the body
- In the mother, serious systemic illnesses (diseases that affect the entire body) (such as uncontrolled diabetes)
Approximately half of all fertilized eggs die and are lost (aborted) on their own, generally before the woman realizes she is pregnant. A miscarriage occurs in roughly 10% to 25% of women who are aware that they are pregnant. The majority of miscarriages happen in the first seven weeks of pregnancy. After the baby's heartbeat is found, the rate of miscarriage decreases.
The majority of miscarriages are caused by natural and unexpected reasons. Certain risk factors, on the other hand, can raise your risks of miscarriage. These are some of them:
- body trauma
- exposure to harmful chemicals or radiation
- drug use
- alcohol abuse
- excessive caffeine consumption
- two or more consecutive miscarriages
- being underweight or overweight
- chronic, uncontrolled conditions, like diabetes
- problems with the uterus or cervix
Miscarriage is diagnosed using the following tests:
- Transvaginal ultrasounds entail inserting a tiny probe into the vaginal canal to look for the fetus' heartbeat. To reduce discomfort, some women may choose an external abdominal ultrasound instead.
- Blood tests are essential because they can establish if beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and progesterone levels are normal — both hormones are linked to a healthy pregnancy.
- Pelvic exams are used to see if the cervix has shrunk or opened.
There's often nothing you can do to avoid a miscarriage. Miscarriage can be reduced by making a few basic lifestyle changes:
- During pregnancy, avoid smoking, consuming alcohol, and using illegal drugs.
- Prenatal care should be performed regularly.
- Take a multivitamin every day.
- Eat a nutritious diet.
- Before and during pregnancy, maintain a healthy weight.
- Certain illnesses, such as German measles, should be avoided (rubella).
- Caffeine consumption should be limited.
- If you have a chronic illness, work with your doctor to keep it under control.