Nature and human biology are wonderful team workers; they work so wonderfully that they often prevent a woman's body from carrying forward any pregnancy that might lead to the birth of a defective child. Miscarriage without doubt takes a toll on any couple. A better understanding of miscarriage, symptoms and signs of miscarriage, symptoms and signs of early miscarriage and pregnancy after miscarriage will throw light on recurrent doubts that arise in the anxious minds of any couple.
Miscarriage is defined as the loss of a pregnancy spontaneously before 24 weeks. Research points out that one quarter of pregnancies miscarry, the high risk stage being between six and eight weeks, dating from the last menstrual period. Various terms are used to identify miscarriage; an internal examination by the doctor will throw light on the type of miscarriage. The feel of the cervix aids in determining the stage of miscarriage.
Incomplete miscarriage: The cervix is by and large open and though the miscarriage is happening beyond doubt, there is little tissue left in the uterus.
Complete miscarriage: The pregnancy is lost totally and the cervix closes leaving the uterus clear.
Missed miscarriage: The woman experiences no bleeding though the pregnancy has stopped growing for a few weeks. There is sudden blood loss and termination of pregnancy signs.
Threatened miscarriage: The cervix is tightly closed and in spite of bleeding; this pregnancy generally continues to full term.
Inevitable miscarriage: The cervix is open and there is bleeding in the early stages of pregnancy; this pregnancy is for sure to be lost.
Chemical pregnancy: This is an early miscarriage.
Molar pregnancy: Medically called hydatidiform mole, hydatid stands for 'water filled cysts'. It is caused due to abnormal development of the placenta and is a rare occurrence.
Choriocarcinoma is a rare tumor type that develops in one out of every 40 Hydatidiform moles and in one out of 20,000-40,0000 pregnancies in the US.
More instances of Choriocarcinoma are noticed in India, Paraguay, Mexico and Sweden.
Blighted ovum: Also known as 'an embryonic pregnancy', this condition occurs when the egg fertilizes and implants in the lining of the uterus and the cells stop dividing and differentiating as they should do as a rule to produce a baby.
Ectopic pregnancy: Otherwise known as the 'out of place' pregnancy, it occurs when the egg fertilizes and implants itself before it reaches the uterus. Usually the egg implants itself in the fallopian tube.
Sign of miscarriage
Most miscarriages occur during the first trimester. As no two women have the same signs while pregnant, similarly no two women will have the same signs while having a miscarriage. Given below is a list of signs and symptoms of a miscarriage.
- The most common and clear symptom of a miscarriage is vaginal bleeding associated with or without pain. The blood color can range from brown to bright red and could be accompanied by cramps. Bleeding could be in the form of mild spotting, persistent bleeding, heavy bleeding and passage of large clots.
- Cramps similar to the one during menstruation but comparatively heavy.
- Constant or intermittent backache.
- Passage of tissue that resembles clot-like material.
- Excessive dizziness.
- Reduction in signs of pregnancy or loss of breast sensitivity.
- Severe headaches similar to migraine (though headache could be due to other reasons too).
- Pushing and sharp pain of the cervix.
- Repeated bowel movements.
Reasons for miscarriage
- Egg or sperm could have been malformed or not full-grown as much as necessary.
- The uterus lining was the not the right environment for this particular pregnancy.
- Implantation of the egg into the uterine lining has not taken place correctly.
- You could be afflicted with fibroid tumors or endometriosis.
- The sac and/or the yolk might not grow correctly.
- Any injury to the abdominal area.
- Low progesterone levels.
- Fright, emotional imbalances.
- Hormone imbalance, infection or health problems in the mother.
- Lifestyle - stress, smoking, alcohol consumption, excessive caffeine etc.
- Maternal age (15% chances for women below 35 years, 20-35% chances for women aged 35-45 years, 505 chances for women aged over 45 years of age). A woman with an earlier miscarriage has 25% chances of having a follow on.
Spontaneous loss of pregnancy at some stage in the first 20 weeks of gestation can be termed an early miscarriage. Nearly 30% women experience early miscarriage. Often it happens even before they identify that they are pregnant. The main cause for early miscarriage is associated with an unhealthy fetus that has little or no chance of survival.
Signs and symptoms of early miscarriage
- Chromosomal abnormalities account for about half the miscarriages. An example. being the Trisomy 21 also known as down's syndrome.
- The hormone progesterone plays a vital role in carrying forward any pregnancy to full term. Inadequate progesterone to support the pregnancy may bring on a miscarriage.
- Virus and bacteria also play a vital role in miscarriages, any infection caused by any harmful virus or bacteria can lead to termination of pregnancies.
- The age of the mother plays a vital role in carrying forward the pregnancy without any mishap.
- Auto immune diseases could also lead to miscarriages. Chronic illness such as thyroid, diabetes mellitus etc, and exposure to environmental toxins and stress can also lead to miscarriages.
How to prevent miscarriage
Though often a miscarriage cannot be avoided as it results from chromosomal abnormalities, care can be taken to avoid it. Ensure that you have a healthy environment for healthy conception.
- Exercise regularly.
- Do not smoke and remain in and around nicotine smoke.
- Take a regular dose of folic acid as per doctor's advice.
- Eat healthy.
- Contain weight gain.
- Do not consume alcohol.
- Do not resort to self medication.
- Avoid unwanted radiation.
- Keep away from sports that can cause injury.
- Keep stress at bay.
Pregnancy after miscarriage
One miscarriage or repeated miscarriages does not mean a woman cannot bear healthy children.
- Though the decision to fall pregnant after a miscarriage may be scary at the beginning, you will stabilize and regain the lost confidence. This confidence building session can be handled mainly by the spouse and physician.
- You have to wait at least a few months (preferably 6 months) before you try to conceive gain so that you can regain all the lost strength and will have sufficient strength to carry forward another pregnancy.
- 85% of the women who have had a miscarriage the first time will always succeed giving birth the next time, 75% of them will succeed if they have had more than one miscarriage.
- It is better to take your physicians advice before you proceed to conceive the next time so that you will receive the right type of medicinal support, if required.
- Ensure that your pregnancy is monitored correctly right from the day of conception.
- Think positively and ensure that you have the right kind of moral support when you require it, to give you those encouraging words.
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