What is Miscarriage?
Miscarriage is when a pregnancy stops growing and eventually causes the pregnancy tissue to pass out of the body. Some women may feel crampy, period-like pain and most cases involve vaginal bleeding.
Miscarriage happens mostly in the first few weeks of pregnancy. According to studies, one in five pregnant women get a miscarriage before 20 weeks. This mostly occurs in the first 12 weeks. The actual rate of miscarriage is above this statistics considering that some women have very early miscarriages with no realization that they were pregnant.
When a woman miscarries three or more times, tests can be done to determine the cause.
What causes a miscarriage?
There is no treatable cause for a miscarriage. Research shows that about half of all miscarriages occur because of abnormal chromosomes in the embryo, causing the pregnancy not to develop properly in the beginning. So, a miscarriage in this context is like nature’s way of dealing with an abnormal embryo. There is nothing anyone can do to prevent a miscarriage if a pregnancy is developing abnormally
- Age: Remember that miscarriages are more common in older women than younger women. The reason is largely because chromosomal abnormalities are associated with getting older.
- Smoking and drinking: Miscarriages are also more common among women who smoke or drink more than three alcoholic drinks every week in the first 12 weeks of their pregnancy.
- Daily excess caffeine intake: Research suggests that drinking more than 500mg of caffeine per day, which equals about three to five cups of coffee.
- Some medical conditions: Uncontrolled diabetes, fibroids or thyroid problems can trigger a miscarriage. These are mostly those rare medical conditions that affect blood clotting. Women who have suffered from three or more miscarriages should be checked for these conditions.
- Early pregnancy test: Early tests in pregnancy, for example chorionic villus sampling (CVS) and amniocentesis, come with a bit of risk of miscarriage. Note that these tests involve inserting a needle into the uterus.
- High fever: It may result in a miscarriage, but small infections like colds are not harmful.
How to prevent a miscarriage
Miscarriages occur to every woman including even the healthiest of women; however, being healthy will raise your chances of a healthy pregnancy. Follow the advice for a healthy pregnancy:
- don’t smoke
- modify your caffeine intake
- Avoid STIs
- avoid alcohol
How to diagnose a miscarriage
Women usually seek medical care at different stages of a miscarriage. It could be after the miscarriage or when it has only just begun. To confirm that you have had or are having a miscarriage, the doctor will examine the following among others:
- your symptoms – such as pain and bleeding
- examination findings
- ultrasound and blood tests.
After the doctors examines, he/she can usually inform you if your miscarriage is ‘complete’, ‘incomplete’ or ‘missed’.
A complete miscarriage is when all the pregnancy tissue has passed out.
An incomplete miscarriage is when only some of the pregnancy tissue has passed out.
A ‘missed’ miscarriage occurs when the pregnancy has stopped growing whereas the tissue has not passed, leaving behind a sac (the structure surrounding the embryo or fetus) in the uterus.
Knowing relevant information about miscarriages is essential for every woman who is planning to get pregnant someday or is already pregnant.
If you need any pregnancy-related treatment or information, read our fertility posts and also contact us for the best natural medications.