A miscarriage is a spontaneous and natural loss of a fetus that is less than 20 weeks old. Loss of a fetus after 20 weeks of pregnancy is called a stillbirth. About one in four pregnancies (between 10 percent and 25 percent) will result in miscarriage. Over 90 percent of miscarriages happen during the first two months of pregnancy. In many cases, a woman may have a miscarriage and not even know she is pregnant. Early miscarriages often resemble heavy periods with more cramping than usual.
What Causes a Miscarriage?
Studies have shown that most miscarriages occur because of chromosome defects that prevent the fetus from developing normally. Chromosomes are composed of DNA and proteins that mothers and fathers pass on to their offspring. Contained inside DNA are chemical instructions directing the development of a fetus. Severe abnormalities affecting chromosomes can make it impossible for the fetus to continue surviving at some point early in pregnancy. When this happens, a miscarriage will likely happen.
Other reasons for miscarriage include:
- Lack of sufficient pregnancy hormones, such as FSH, LH, hCG, estrogen, progesterone and/or placental growth factor (PGF)
- Substance abuse
- Pelvic infections and STDs
- Being obese
- Structural abnormal reproductive organs
- Untreated systemic diseases such as diabetes, hyper/hypothyroidism, lupus or kidney disease
- Being over 35 years old
- Having a history of miscarriages
Signs of a Possible Miscarriage
If you are less than 20 weeks pregnant and begin experiencing the following symptoms, call your doctor right away:
- Sharp, low back pain accompanied by cramping or abdominal pain
- Vaginal bleeding (could occur with or without cramps)
- Passage of tiny clots of tissue from the vagina
Bleeding in early pregnancy does not always mean a miscarriage has happened. An ultrasound and lab tests of passed tissue can tell doctors whether a woman is still pregnant. Sometimes, if a miscarriage has occurred but not all pregnancy tissue has passed, doctors may want to perform a D and C to ensure all tissue is cleaned out of the womb.
Coping with Miscarriage
Women who have miscarried report feeling a sense of deep loss, guilt, and fear that they may be unable to have children. If you have had a miscarriage and feel this way, understand that it is perfectly normal to experience these strong emotions. However, no one is to blame for a miscarriage. Having a miscarriage does not mean you can never get pregnant again and have a healthy child.
Closure and acceptance of a miscarriage means allowing yourself to grieve the way you want to grieve. For some women, closure means spending time talking out their feelings with their significant other, family members, and close friends. Other women simply want to be left alone with their thoughts before they decide they want to talk about it. Still, others may need grief counseling to help them cope with a miscarriage.
How you deal with miscarriage is your choice. Don’t let others tell you to “move on” when you aren’t ready to move on. You alone should make that decision. You should also expect your support group to remain empathetic and helpful during your period of grieving.
When Should You Think About Getting Pregnant Again After a Miscarriage?
Doctors recommend women wait until they have had at least two or three normal menstrual periods after a miscarriage before trying to get pregnant again. In addition, if your doctor suspects something caused you to miscarry (a previously undetected disorder, something in your genetic background, hormonal problems), you should always fully address these issues before attempting another pregnancy.
If you have had multiple miscarriages, are over 35 years old, and have experienced problems getting pregnant, consider calling Viera Fertility Clinic today to learn how assisted reproductive technology may help you achieve a healthy pregnancy. In addition, we provide fertility testing, fertility treatments, and minimally invasive surgeries to diagnose and treat fertility or reproductive organ issues.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation appointment regarding your pregnancy goals following a miscarriage. 321.571.HOPE.