Miscarriages are unfortunately becoming common these days. It is estimated that 10%-20% of all conceptions end in miscarriages. Although miscarriage is not something you want to think or be anxious about especially if you are pregnant, it is nevertheless important to understand what is a miscarriage, its causes, symptoms and what to do afterwards.
What Is A Miscarriage?
Miscarriage is one of the most common type of pregnancy loss. It is also known as ‘spontaneous abortion’. It happens when a pregnancy is spontaneously lost during the first 20 weeks. We mentioned earlier how 10%-20% of pregnancies may be lost in the initial weeks. However, these numbers only represent the number of reported pregnancies that end in miscarriages. Many a times, a miscarriage happens even before the woman realizes she is pregnant. If these numbers are also taken into account, it may be estimated that 30%-40% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage.
What Causes A Miscarriage?
It is a natural occurrence. When your body realizes that your pregnancy is not viable (that is the fetus is not developing as it should), then the uterus starts contracting and empties itself. There could be many reasons for an unviable pregnancy:
Chromosomal problems in the embryo (genetic abnormality)
Use of drugs, alcohol and smoking by the mother
Maternal trauma (e.g. mom having a bad fall)
Age of the mother (higher risk if age is > 35)
Hormonal problems of the mother
How Do I Know If I Am Having A Miscarriage?
Miscarriages usually start with light spotting. However, all spotting need not result in miscarriages. Spotting can also be a sign of implantation, hence do not conclude anything. Many a times, spotting stops naturally and pregnancy will continue. However, your doctor might be extra cautious in this case as the pregnancy was threatened once. But otherwise, the symptoms of miscarriage include:
Cramps (caused by contraction of the uterus. It could be mild or severe)
Vaginal discharge that is pinkish in color and mucus-like
Passing large blood clots and tissues
Disappearance of your pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness
Can I Stop A Miscarriage After Starting To See The Symptoms?
Unfortunately, no. Once the miscarriage starts, it will usually run its course. However, it is still a good idea to see a doctor to understand why it happened.
What Happens After The Miscarriage?
As we mentioned before, a miscarriage is a natural occurrence and will complete naturally without any need of intervention. In most cases you will not require any medical treatment as well. You will continue having bleeding for 7-10 days, post which it will reduce a great deal, but might still continue for 2 more weeks. This is normal. However, there are few things you should do in this period:
Do a home pregnancy test again to confirm the end of pregnancy
Consult a doctor to ensure that you and your body are recovering as expected
Ask if you need to undergo any scans or blood tests to ensure the miscarriage was complete, and no amount of pregnancy tissue is left in the uterus
Eat healthy and drink plenty of water to regain energy
Talk to people close to you for emotional support. Read more about it here
Will I Be Able To See The Baby?
This topic is a major taboo and you hardly see anyone discussing it in public. But if your miscarriage is happening towards the 20th week, then it is quite natural for you to wonder if a tiny baby will come out of your vagina. Let us assure you – it is not weird at all to think on these lines.
In the early weeks of pregnancy, if you are having a miscarriage, then you might not really be able to detect any fetal matter as it will be too small. In late pregnancies, your pregnancy sac might come out in a big tissue clot, and yes, if you cut open the sac, you might see a tiny fetus inside. It is entirely up to you if you want to do this. Some women find closure in actually seeing the fetus. This is quite normal. It is also normal if all you do not want to see it at all and will rather flush the toilet in shock and despair. There are no rules here. It is entirely up to you how you want to deal with it.
Will I Have A Miscarriage Again?
Unless you have some major medical problem, most miscarriages are one-off incidents and 80% of the women will proceed to have a healthy full term pregnancy next time around. If a woman experiences miscarriages for more than two or three times, the condition is termed as recurrent miscarriages, and you can read about it here. All the best..
Read more on loss of pregnancy in our section here.