Sign of miscarriage
THE TERM USED
for a pregnancy that’s lost spontaneously in the first 20 weeks is miscarriage or spontaneous abortion. Statistics show that one in four pregnancies does end in miscarriage. You may be surprised to know that many women who think they are having a late, heavy period actually may be having a miscarriage. Because pregnancy tests can be done with accuracy and confirmed from a very early stage, more women are aware that they are indeed losing the conceptus and it is not just a late period. The most common warning sign is vaginal bleeding, which should always be checked out with your caregiver. It may be light, heavy, irregular or constant over a few days. The second sign is pain. Pain with bleeding is more likely to be a sign that a miscarriage is occurring. You may experience this pain as belly cramping, or pelvic cramping or it may be a dull ache in your lower back. Pain may only occur after the initial bleeding has started or at the same time. Blood clots and tissue passing from the vagina together with pain is also a sign. The reasons for a miscarriage occurring is not always known and the cause cannot be pinpointed. If it occurs in the very early stages of pregnancy (the first trimester) the most common reason is a chromosomal abnormality. If there has been a hiccup because of a damaged or abnormal sperm or egg at the time the zygote was going through the division process, the body often discards the “flawed” products.
OTHER POSSIBLE CAUSES INCLUDE
Genital or uterine infections Unusual infections like toxoplasmosis, listeria and syphilis Uterine abnormality Deficiency of progesterone in early pregnancy Maternal antibodies that disrupt the growth of the embryo and developing
placenta Maternal smoking Alcohol consumption Use of recreational drugs Implantation of the egg into the uterine lining does not occur properly Maternal age Maternal trauma If you think that you are having a miscarriage, talk to your doctor immediately. In most cases, there is nothing that you can do to stop it from happening. Ultrasound scans and blood tests may be done to assist your doctor in determining the next course of action. If you expel all of the products of conception and bleeding and cramping stops, it may be all over. If everything is not expelled, it is necessary to undergo a D&C (dilatation and curettage) procedure. This involves minor surgery to clear the uterus of any leftover products that could cause pain, bloating, infection and bleeding. For many women losing a pregnancy is devastating and self-blame is common. Many women question whether they played any part in causing a miscarriage (a bumpy car trip, a Panado, a little alcohol, sexual intercourse, and so on) and whether there was anything she could have done to prevent it. Talking about it is important and some counselling may be necessary (many women hold their feelings in). Most people around you are sympathetic and may say something like, “It was probably for the best.” This is not what you want to hear! Some people will avoid the topic if they know that this has devastated you. You may need to take some time off work for breathing space and to come to terms with what happened. How much time will depend on you, your doctor and your contract with your employer. It is different for everyone. While the physical recovery is usually very quick, the emotional recovery may take a little longer, especially if this is not the first time you’ve miscarried. When you feel emotionally ready to try again then your body will almost certainly be ready too. Physically there is no evidence that waiting a long time to conceive again improves the outcome. Use common sense when preparing for the next pregnancy: Start taking folic acid, stop smoking, ensure a healthy diet, consider nutrient supplementation, reduce or stop alcohol consumption, avoid all non-essential drugs, control any medical conditions (e.g. diabetes or hypertension), ensure you are immune to rubella, and start a moderate exercise programme. If you have had a miscarriage, remember, the statistics are on your side and the chances of a healthy baby next time are very high.