Miscarriage is how 10-20% of pregnancies end.  A miscarriage is when a pregnancy is lost spontaneously before the 20 week mark.  Miscarriages usually occur in the first trimester.  They are usually beyond your control, and are not caused by anything you did specifically.  It can be hard sometimes to narrow down what is the cause or reason for a miscarriage.  

There are different types of miscarriage. 

A missed miscarriage is when the lost pregnancy happens but you are unaware that you were pregnant.  Sometimes there are no symptoms such as cramping or bleeding.  A missed miscarriage can be seen with an ultrasound, showing the fetus with no heartbeat.  Usually tissue passes on its own and there is no additional treatment needed. 

A complete miscarriage is when the pregnancy is lost and the uterus is empty.  Bleeding and cramping are present, and you pass the fetal tissue on your own.  You may want an ultrasound confirmation to make sure that all the tissue did pass.  No other treatment is usually needed. 

An incomplete miscarriage is when not all the fetal tissue passes.  This may cause the need for a follow up appointment to remove the leftover tissue. 

A recurrent miscarriage is when you have 3 complete miscarriages in a row. 

A threatened miscarriage is when you have bleeding and cramping, but your cervix remains closed.  Usually the pregnancy will continue with no issue. 

An inevitable miscarriage is when you have bleeding, cramping, and the cervix dilates.  You may also leak amniotic fluid.  This usually turns into a complete miscarriage.  


Common Signs Of A Miscarriage

Most miscarriages occur before 12 weeks. 

When you miscarry you may experience some vaginal spotting, and pain or cramping in the abdomen or lower back. You also may pass fluid or tissue from your vagina.  You can also pass blood clots as well.  You may notice a decrease in pregnancy symptoms. 

If you develop a fever, chills, abdomen tenderness, or foul discharge from vagina, you may be septic and you will need immediate attention from your healthcare provider.   


Common Miscarriage Causes

Irregular Fetal Development

The main cause of miscarriages is because the fetus isn’t developing as expected.  Fifty percent of miscarriages are because the fetus has extra or missing chromosomes.  So as the embryo is growing and dividing there are errors from the extra or missing chromosomes.  The extra or missing chromosomes are not caused by the parents.  One kind of chromosome problem is a blighted ovum which is when there is no embryo that develops. 

A molar pregnancy is when both sets of chromosomes come from the father and there are no chromosomes from the mother.  This leads to the placenta to not grow so the fetus does not develop.  A partial molar pregnancy is when 2 sets of chromosomes come from the father, but one comes from the mother as well.  This will cause the embryo to start growing but will stop. 

Other chromosome problems that can cause miscarriage are Trisomy 13, 18, 21 and monosomy. 

There are no ways to prevent chromosome problems.  Most of them happen by chance there is no way to know if it will happen or not.  As you age the change of a chromosome issue occurring increases.  

Health Issues With Mother

The health of the mother can also play a role in miscarriages.  If the mother has a chronic condition such as uncontrolled diabetes, thyroid disease, congenital heart disease, or severe kidney disease the chance of miscarriage rises. 

Infections, hormonal problems, or uterus and cervix problems can also cause miscarriages. 

Severe malnutrition can also cause miscarriages. 

If a mother has had previous miscarriages it can raise the risk of having more. 

Age is another factor.  The older you get the higher your risk of miscarriages increase.  At age 35 you have a 20% chance, age 40 a 40% chance, and age 45 an 80% chance of miscarrying. 

Smoking or using illicit drugs can raise your risk of miscarriages.  Drinking alcohol can also raise your risk. 

Drinking more than 2 caffeinated beverages a day has also been shown to raise your risk of miscarriages. 

Certain medications can also raise your risk of miscarriage.  

When To Seek A Health Care Professional

If you have gone through repeated miscarriages, which is 3 or more you may want to have some tests done to see what is going on. 

Your doctor can use an ultrasound to check for any uterine problems, or an incompetent cervix. 

Your doctor may also suggest genetic testing.  This is done with a blood test of you and your partner to check for chromosome abnormalities. 

If the tissue from a previous miscarriage is available your doctor can send that out for testing to also check for chromosome abnormalities.  

A regular blood test can also be done to check for autoimmune or hormone conditions that may have been undiagnosed up to this point.  



There is no way to prevent miscarriages 100%.  You can make sure you are eating healthy, getting plenty of exercise.  You can also make sure you stop any lifestyle choices that can raise the risk of a miscarriage.  Making sure you are taking a prenatal vitamin. 

Talk with your doctor if you are concerned or if you have had repeated miscarriages. 

About 87% of people who have a miscarriage can get pregnant after.



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