Understanding Miscarriage

According to the Mayo Clinic, a miscarriage is “the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week.” Bumrungrad International Hospital lists a miscarriage as death of an embryo or fetus before the 28th week of pregnancy.

What are the Reasons For Miscarriage?

  • Many miscarriages occur due to abnormalities in the fetus. Problems with the baby’s chromosomes are responsible for about 50 to 60 percent of early pregnancy loss.
  • A woman over 35 years has a higher risk of miscarriage.
  • Previous miscarriage(s) or having dilation and curettage (D & C) increases your chances.
  • Drinking alcohol, smoking, or using drugs
  • A chronic illness, such as uncontrolled diabetes or a uterine problem
  • Hormonal issues
  • Rh incompatibility
  • Certain medications
  • Severe malnutrition, specifically the lack of folic acid and Vitamin C
  • Being underweight or overweight

How Often Do Miscarriages Occur?

The Mayo Clinic says about 10 to 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. Other studies by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) estimate that as many as 26% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage.

Many women miscarry before they even know that they’re pregnant.

What Are The Signs of a Miscarriage?

Bumrungrad International Hospital lists the following as symptoms of a miscarriage:

  • Vaginal bleeding in various amounts, from light spotting to heavy bleeding
  • Abdominal or lower back pain
  • Tissue or fluid leaking from the vagina

You might also experience the following:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Lower abdominal tenderness
  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge

Can a Possible Miscarriage Be Treated?

Bedrest is often prescribed for women who are noticing vaginal bleeding. Usually, most women go on to have successful pregnancies after their first miscarriage. The reason for the first miscarriage may determine future treatment.

For instance, if your miscarriage was related to a hormone imbalance, you may be prescribed progesterone.

Potential Complications of a Miscarriage

  • If the miscarriage is incomplete, a doctor may need to perform dilation and curettage (D & C). This procedure has a small risk of uterine perforation.
  • Excessive vaginal bleeding could cause anemia, shock, or even death.
  • You could develop an infection if the contents of an incomplete miscarriage remain in your body.

What Can I Do To Avoid A Miscarriage?

  • Seek regular prenatal care.
  • Avoid known miscarriage risk factors — such as smoking, drinking alcohol, and illicit drug use.
  • Take a daily multivitamin.
  • Limit your caffeine intake. A recent study found that drinking more than two caffeinated beverages daily was associated with a higher risk of miscarriage.