What Is A Miscarriage?
A miscarriage is a pregnancy that ends before 20 weeks of pregnancy. This is before the fetus (growing baby) can survive outside of the uterus. During a miscarriage, the fetus, placenta and sac of fluid around the fetus are expelled from the uterusn — sometimes not all of these are expelled completely.
Causes of Miscarriage
A spontaneous miscarriage may occur because the fetus is not developing properly or because the placenta (the tissue that connects the growing baby to the inside of the uterus) is not attached properly. In many cases, however, the cause is not known. Miscarriages are quite common, occurring in about 15-20% of all pregnancies. Having a miscarriage does not mean you will not have a normal pregnancy in the future.
There are several factors that are believed to somewhat increase the risk of miscarriages:
- poor nutrition
- hormonal insufficiency or imbalance
- infection with rubella, bacterial vaginosis, Chlamydia or other sexually-transmitted infections
- chronic medical problems including lupus, congenital heart disease, severe kidney disease, diabetes, or thyroid disease
- Exposure to large doses of radiation
- Drugs taken that are harmful to the fetus.
- High fever
- An IUD in place at conception
- Malformed uterus or large uterine fibroids
The good news is that most of the above factors, once identified, can usually be eliminated or controlled.
Normal Pregnancy Signs
It’s important to remember that each cramp, ache, or blood spot are not necessarily miscarriage symptoms. Normal pregnancy signs that are NOT necessarily indicative of miscarriage include:
- Mild cramps, achiness or a pulling sensation on one or both sides of the abdomen. This is normal unless it is accompanied with bleeding or if cramps are severe or constant.
- Slight staining a little before or after the time you would have expected your period. This is common, known as implantantation bleeding, and doesn’t necessarily indicate a problem with your pregnancy, as long as it isn’t accompanied by lower abdominal pain. Bleeding during implantation is usually a light, pink or brown color.
- Light pink spotting after intercourse is common and usually doesn’t indicate a problem unless the bleeding is heavy or accompanied by cramps
When to Call the Doctor
Bleeding during pregnancy always causes a woman alarm since it is one of the main signs of a miscarriage. The follwing symptoms and types of bleeding could be miscarriage signs. You should call your practitioner and seek medical attention if you experience any of these:
- vaginal bleeding that is heavier than a normal period and lasts more than 2 weeks
- vaginal bleeding that soaks one thick pad or more in an hour
- vaginal bleeding accompanied by passing large clots (the size of a walnut or larger)
- cramping that gets worse or lasts more than 2 days
- foul-smelling discharge from your vagina
- chills or fever (temperature of 38 degrees C or 100.4 degrees F or higher)
- vaginal bleeding, similar to a menstrual period, may last for up to a week after a miscarriage, with light bleeding, called 'spotting' occuring for a brief time after this
Make sure that you report any and all of the above symptoms to your health care provider immediately. Or if your symptoms are quite severe or your practitioner is not available, either call 911 or your local EMS or head straight to the nearest emergency room.
Recovering After a Miscarriage
- Normal periods should resume in 3-6 weeks
- Use sanitary pads rather than tampons for the vaginal bleeding. You may use tampons during your next period
- Do not douche
- Do not go into swimming pools or hot tubs
- Shower rather than tub bathe
- Do not have sexual intercourse
- You may experience some lower abdominal pain similar to menstrual cramps. This pain may last for up to 2 days after the miscarriage. Talk to your doctor if the pain persists or if you cannot control the pain
- Breast discomfort
- Dilatation and Curettage. This is done if the fetus and/or some of the tissues from the pregnancy (placenta, fluid sac) remain inside the uterus. If the fetus or other tissues remain in the uterus, they can cause heavy bleeding or infection
- Normal activities can be resumed after a miscarriage as soon as you feel able. Ask your doctor for more specific instructions regarding any vigorous or strenuous exercise
Conception After Miscaraige
It is recommended that you wait until after you have had at least 1 normal menstrual period after miscarriage before you try to get pregnant again. This will give your uterus and body time to heal.
Pregnancy Stories: If you want a way to express how you are feeling after your miscarriage while helping other women also dealing with miscarriage, then you'll want to visit this site. A place where women can write and post about their own experiences, your story can help others going through a pregnancy loss realize that they are not alone.
|Suffered a miscarriage? Get support from other women in the forum