A miscarriage is when an embryo is expelled from the uterus before it can survive outside on its own. It is the loss of the developing baby before 20 weeks of pregnancy. The loss of a baby after 20 weeks is called a stillbirth.
Many women miscarry without even having realised that they are pregnant. Often, the first sign this is happening is heavy bleeding accompanied by abdominal or back pain and cramping. Some of the general symptoms are :
1) Pain in the abdomen, lower back or pelvis
2) Vaginal bleeding, uterine contraction, or vaginal discharge
3) Nausea or vomiting
4) Cramping, irregular uterine bleeding, or fatigue
Depending on how far along the pregnancy was, these symptoms can last for just a few days like a normal period or up to three or four weeks.
Generally miscarriage occurs for reasons which are not under your control. Many times, the cause remains unknown. However, it is known that miscarriages often happen due to a chromosomal abnormality that is not inherited or the cause is not related to the mother.
Other reasons for miscarriage include:
• Severe infections
• Medical conditions in the mother, such as diabetes or thyroid disease
• Hormonal abnormalities
• Problems with immune system
• Uterine abnormalities etc
After a miscarriage, the hormones will not return to pre-pregnant levels right away, so you will still feel pregnant for some time. You may continue to have nausea and other pregnancy symptoms, especially if the miscarriage happened later in the first trimester.
It is very important to seek medical advice if you suspect that you had a miscarriage. The doctor will do necessary investigations to confirm miscarriage and plan further management. Once the miscarriage had been diagnosed, the uterus will need to be empty so that normal menstrual cycle can resume. If the miscarriage is not complete and parts of pregnancy remain in the uterus, the doctor will plan appropriate management to remove it.
Sometimes after miscarriage, symptoms like persistent bleeding and pain, high fever, offensive vaginal discharge can indicate an infection and this condition needs prompt medical consultation.
High risk: A woman has a higher risk of miscarriage if :
You are above 35 years of age
Has diabetes or thyroid issues
History of recurrent miscarriages
Around 85% of women who have miscarriages have subsequent normal pregnancies. A miscarriage does not necessarily indicate a fertility problem. However, a small percentage of women have repeated miscarriages. If you’ve had multiple miscarriages or two-three in a row, it is recommended to stop trying to conceive and consult your doctor to determine the cause of the miscarriages.
It is very important to give time for the body to heal before you try to conceive again. The general recommendation ranges from one menstrual cycle to 3 months before trying to conceive again
A miscarriage can be emotionally very upsetting for the family. But it is important to remember that in most cases it is not within your control. Miscarriages can happen to even the healthiest of women. The best that you can do is follow the advice for a healthy pregnancy. Talk to your spouse or family about your feeling and support each other. Don’t hesitate to look out for support or counselling if you are unable to manage your emotional well-being. It is very important that your body is healed physical and mentally before you plan your next pregnancy.