Have you ever wondered yourself: “Am I having a miscarriage?” Sometimes a pregnancy can be lost and is nothing you can do. The following article will bring light to this phenomenon in which we talk about the causes, symptoms, treatment and other important aspects that involve a miscarriage.
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Am I Having a Miscarriage?
Miscarriage or loss of pregnancy is a condition that is characterized through the spontaneous interruption of the pregnancy in the first stages of evolution and through the dead fetus`s elimination from the uterus. A miscarriage is not the same as medical abortion, which in essence is an intentional interruption of the pregnancy.
The term “pregnancy stopped in evolution” is used to describe the stagnation cases of the fetus`s development in the interior of the uterus. Any pregnancy stopped in evolution, sooner or later, ends with a miscarriage or medical abortion.
The first symptoms of a miscarriage can include vaginal bleeding and abdominal pain. A missed miscarriage may not manifest itself for a long period of time with no symptom and, usually, it can be detected by ultrasound.
A miscarriage or pregnancy stopped in evolution is almost always a big challenge and a frustration for the pregnant woman. When they confront with this problem, a lot of women tend to think that there`s something wrong with their body and that they won`t be able to have children in the future. In fact, a miscarriage is something that most healthy women experience at least once in life and it isn`t considered a serious phenomenon, even though it is very unpleasant.
Studies show that a miscarriage happens at around 50% to 75% of all pregnant women. Still, as you`ll notice below, in most cases they pass unnoticed. Recurrent miscarriages (2 or 3 consecutive miscarriages) happen much more rarely.
Most miscarriages appear in the early stages of pregnancy (first 2 or 3 pregnancy weeks) and in these cases the woman doesn`t even notice most of the times. These early miscarriages are often mistaken with periods because most of its symptoms are similar to abdominal pain and menstrual bleeding.
Miscarriages at more advanced pregnancy stages happen more rarely (up to the 20th week of pregnancy). The loss of a pregnancy after 20 weeks is called stillbirth.
What Causes a Miscarriage?
Not always when a miscarriage happen is the mother`s or father`s fault. Actually, only rarely this is a sign that the couple won`t be able to have a healthy child in the future.
As it`s already known, the development process of a fetus is very complex and depends on many factors, and this process may be disturbed or stopped from various reasons.
As in the cases of many other complex natural processes, there are defects that occur in the process of the baby`s development, but as much as difficult can the psychological processes of miscarriages be when they happen, they need to be treated with calm and not loss of hope when it comes to possible pregnancies happening in the future.
The most frequent causes of miscarriage in the first trimester of pregnancy are a variety of defects in the fetus`s development. For instance, if the fetus has developed a wrong number of chromosomes or genes at conception, or if some fetal genes function in a wrong way, these things will soon lead to his death.
In the second trimester of pregnancy, when the most complex processes of the fetal formation are already in the past, the main cause for miscarriage could be diseases or disorders in the pregnancy woman`s body. Especially, a miscarriage happening in the second trimester might be due to uterine fibroids (myoma), improper fixation of the placenta, diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid diseases, lupus, but also because of various STDs such as Chlamydia, bacterial vaginosis, syphilis, mycoplasmosis or herpes. Other causes of miscarriage can also be abdominal trauma and severe psychological stress. In some cases, this can also happen due to excessive consumption of alcohol, drugs, coffee or smoking.
A lot of times, the causes of miscarriage can even remain unknown.
Types of Miscarriage
The pregnant woman notices mild to moderate amounts of vaginal bleeding, which may be accompanied by back and pelvic pains. The cervix is still closed. There`s a threat of miscarriage, but it isn`t mandatory to happen. One out of 4 – 5 women confront with vaginal bleeding during the first trimester and most of them carry their pregnancy at term without any consequences on fetal development. However, although in most cases of mild bleeding during the first trimester, this symptom should bring the pregnant woman as a specialist as soon as possible to exclude other complications.
Abundant vaginal bleeding is accompanied by the onset of the cervical dilation and pelvic pains, which are very intense. Unfortunately, in this cases, it`s unlikely for things to come back to normal, and miscarriage is inevitable. The pain increases gradually in intensity due to uterine contractions that try to expel the product of conception. Metrorrhagia is considerable, with tissue fragments and blood clots. The inevitable abortion will progress towards an incomplete miscarriage. Both cases require ultrasound examination and specialist consultation to confirm the total expulsion of the production of conception.
Complete abortion represents the total expulsion of the product of conception. Generally, this takes places spontaneously when small pregnancies are concerned, usually, under 7 weeks or over 14 weeks of pregnancy, between these ages remaining small intracavitary that need to be extracted in a specialized cervical uterine service.
Incomplete abortion occurs when the organism didn`t managed to expel the product of conception entirely, and the embryonic and membrane residues need to be extracted by curettage to prevent any possible complications that may occur.
Missed Miscarriage (Silent Miscarriage)
It`s believed that a missed miscarriage happens when the development of the fetus in the uterus stops – a fact that can only be determined by ultrasound. A missed miscarriage can precede a miscarriage because sooner or later the fetus will be eliminated from the uterus. – Click here!
The diagnosis of the missed miscarriage is established based on the following indicators:
- Empty amniotic sac in which there isn`t any embryo;
- Lack of heartbeats of the embryo with a development term of over 5-6 weeks.
Recurrent miscarriage is defined with 2 or more consecutive miscarriages occurred in the first trimester of pregnancy. This may affect around 1% of couples that try to conceive a child.
Pregnancy without an Embryo
A fertilized egg implants in the uterine wall, but it never starts the fetal development. Often, it`s noticed the presence of a gestational bag, with or without the yolk sac, but it isn`t noticed any fetal growth.
Can You Have a Miscarriage and Not Know It?
Yes, sometimes a pregnant woman may not notice immediately that she had a miscarriage, but rather after the fetus`s death when the symptoms of miscarriage start to appear.
How Long Does a Miscarriage Last?
A miscarriage (the death of the fetus and its elimination from the uterus) doesn`t take place in a second and usually lasts several hours or even days. The development of miscarriage follows several stages: the threat of miscarriage, irreversible miscarriage (imminent), incomplete miscarriage, complete miscarriage.
- The threat of miscarriage is characterized by the early detachment of the placenta and by the apparition of the first symptoms of miscarriage (abdominal pain and small vaginal bleeding). At this stage the uterus is closed, the development of miscarriage can be stopped and the pregnancy can be maintained.
- An Irreversible miscarriage is characterized by an almost complete detachment of the placenta and death of the fetus. A miscarriage cannot be stopped at this stage.
- An Incomplete miscarriage is characterized by a complete detachment of the placenta (abruptio placentae), fetal death and early removal of the fetus from the uterus.
- An Complete miscarriage is characterized by the fetus`s exit and his membranes from the uterus and woman`s genital tract.
What Are the Signs of a Miscarriage?
The main symptoms of having a miscarriage are:
- Dark brown, scarlet or red heavy bleeding, vaginal discharges with blood clots;
- Acute or dull pain in the lower abdomen, left or right of the pubic area. The pain can be sensed in the labia, lower back, the perineum or the anus.
The signs outlined above must be considered symptoms of miscarriage at all pregnant women from the moment when the medical examinations will establish their exact cause.
What Aspect Has the Aborted Embryo?
The aspect of the tissues eliminated depends on the pregnancy`s term when the miscarriage took place. Early miscarriages are similar to regular bleeding during period. At more advanced stages of the pregnancy, miscarriage can look as a blood clot or a balloon with visible blood vessels.
How to Know that You Experienced a Miscarriage?
In case you suspect you had a miscarriage, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible to examine you by ultrasound and establish if indeed this might have happened. The pregnancy test can remain positive several days after experiencing a miscarriage.
How Can a Missed Miscarriage Be Determined?
The only reliable way to determine a missed miscarriage is by ultrasound. Pregnancy tests can remain positive in such cases because even in the absence of a viable embryo, its membranes continue to produce hCG.
The pregnancy woman should get in touch with her doctor immediately in case of:
- A bleeding or pain in the lower abdomen;
- Fever, rapid deterioration of general health condition, fainting, nausea or vomiting.
Because most cases a loss of pregnancy appear due to a non-viability of the fetus, the main object of the treatment isn`t the attempt of stopping the miscarriage, but rather to ensure that the uterus will be completely clean, the bleeding is stopped and the woman will be protected from infections.
If during a miscarriage all the parts of the fetus and his membranes were eliminated, the woman doesn`t need any special treatment and can leave the hospital immediately after the pelvic exam. – Visit us here!
In case of an irreversible miscarriage or missed miscarriage, the main method of treatment is the gynecological cleaning (curettage). This will ensure the complete elimination of blood clots and fetal remains from the uterus and helps to stop the bleeding and prevent the appearance of infections.
To be sure that the uterus is clean after the treatment is finished, the doctor can prescribe you to make several consecutive tests to determine the level of hCG in your blood.
In case of threat of miscarriage and viable fetus, doctors can prescribe medicines to block the contraction of the uterus and stop the development of a miscarriage, thus attempting to keep the pregnancy.
What to Expect After a Miscarriage?
The recovery after miscarriage and curettage usually lasts a few weeks. During the first week you may experience vaginal bleeding and abdominal pain. The next menstruation in such a case might begin after 4 – 5 weeks.
At around 2 weeks after miscarriage it`s recommended to avoid sexual contacts.
Contact your doctor immediately if at a few days after miscarriage you experience:
- Severe abdominal pain;
- Heavy vaginal bleeding;
- Fever, severe weakness or chills.
As already mentioned, loss of pregnancy appears for lots of couples that try to have a child. Still, a miscarriage shouldn`t be seen as a serious obstacle for a future pregnancy. Generally speaking, even if you had a miscarriage in the past, the probability of a normal pregnancy to develop in the future is of around 80%.
Recurrent miscarriages (2 or more consecutive ones) are usually combined with less chances to conceive a child and higher chances of another miscarriage to happen. So, a miscarriage happens 2 times in a row at every 20 couples, and the risk for recurrent miscarriage in such a case is of 15%. Around 1 out of 100 couples experience 3 or more recurrent miscarriages, and the risk of recurrence in this case is of 45%.
Removing the diseases that usually can cause miscarriages (treatment of thyroid disease, diabetes or genital infections) can help in avoiding recurrent miscarriages in more than 90% cases.
How to Avoid Recurrent or Missed Miscarriages?
To avoid another miscarriage, it`s necessary to try and identify the cause of the first miscarriage. In order to determine this, your doctor should prescribe you the following examinations:
- Consulting a geneticist to determine the set of chromosomes and genes of both parents;
- Consulting an immunologist and special biological tests to detect certain autoimmune diseases which can interfere with the development of the pregnancy;
- Consulting an endocrinologist to identify certain diseases of the thyroid gland;
- Special gynecological examinations (hysterosalpingography, hysteroscopy, pelvic ultrasound) to identify possible structural defects of the uterus which may prevent the development of the fetus; – Read more!
- PCR assay to detect STDs.
How to Prevent a Miscarriage?
To reduce the risk for a miscarriage and to increase your chances of a normal pregnancy, it`s recommended to:
- Give up drugs, smoking or alcohol abuse;
- Follow a healthy lifestyle with moderate physical exercises.
If you just found out you are pregnant:
- Contact your doctor as soon as possible for an examination. If necessary, your doctor will prescribe you the required medication to support the normal development of your pregnancy.
- Avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs. Reduce consumption of coffee or strong tea.
- Give up excessive physical workout and sports during which you may fall or suffer injuries.
Can You Cause a Miscarriage with Popular Remedies at Home?
Any attempt to cause a miscarriage at home in order to stop an unwanted pregnancy is very dangerous and most of the times can lead to the death of the pregnant woman.
Under no circumstances should you attempt to cause a miscarriage at home. There`s no popular remedy which can be used to trigger a miscarriage that can protect you against heavy bleeding or uterine infection.
So,if you ever start to wonder “Am I having a miscarriage?” or you simply don`t want to keep a pregnancy, contact your doctor to make a medical abortion.
What Happens in the Hospital?
If you did a visit to your doctor, or if you went to the hospital when you suspected that you may experience a miscarriage, usually, an ultrasound is the most recommended examination.
In around 50% of cases of miscarriage that occur, either due to a strong bleeding, an infection or even the choice made by the couple that expects the baby, what remains inside the uterus is surgically removed through a procedure known as “dilation and curettage,” usually performed under general anesthesia.
In case that the fetus is dead, but the miscarriage wasn`t yet triggered, you have the possibility of returning home for this to happen.
If there`s no medical reason to perform the dilation and curettage, this may be an option, but make sure you understand all your options, and choose the best one.
If your pregnancy is pretty evolved (after 13 to 15 weeks), the procedure of dilation and curettage can no longer be performed, and the mother needs to pass through labor to give birth to the child, even if he`s already dead. – More details!
Most hospitals understand the trauma through which the couples go through during a miscarriage and that`s why offer moral support and recommend a series of drugs to calm the pain.
How Soon After a Miscarriage Can You Get Pregnant?
Planning a new pregnancy is recommended at a few months after a miscarriage or curettage. It`s best to use reliable contraception methods if you want to avoid the development of a new pregnancy immediately after miscarriage.
In case of a new pregnancy after miscarriage, you should get in touch with your doctor for an examination and ultrasound. This will allow the doctor to evaluate the dynamics of its development. It`s possible that for a new pregnancy to develop normally and end up with a healthy child.