Miscarriage: What You Should Know?

Miscarriage
Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
 
Q: Last week I was late with my period but I’m unsure about how many days. Probably it must be do two to five days late. I got what I thought as my period the previous Sunday and then it was only two-three weeks since I had sex with my hubby. The blood didn’t smell like period like I did during my period. It lasted only till Tuesday morning which was weird as my normal period lasts for 4 days. Could I’ve been pregnant? Did I’ve miscarriage?
Expert Answer

Sometimes, miscarriages are discovered during a routine during early pregnancy scans, thanks to an ultrasound test! In those cases, mothers are not fully aware they’ve had a miscarriage. Some symptoms may indicate a miscarriage, but a late period is not one of those.

Signs for miscarriage are period like pains and heavy bleeding. In many cases, women mistake a miscarriage for a late period. Late periods are usually caused by extra time added to the first half of the cycle. This is the time when lining is built, and if more is built, blood flow and cramps are common. While it is possible that a heavy period is linked to a very early miscarriage, most often than not, that is not the case. The only way to know if the late period was a miscarriage is a pregnancy test. Women need to remember that a miscarriage is not a sign that something is wrong with them. Miscarriage is a common condition, and it can happen in 15-30% of all conceptions. In majority of those situations, the reason lies in chromosome problems in the sperm or egg.

In the majority of cases, miscarriages happen in the first three months of pregnancy. There are three types of miscarriage: complete (the body naturally expels fetus), incomplete (remnants of the tissue remain in the uterus) and missed (the embryo dies, but placenta keeps growing). Every miscarriage is different, but heavy bleeding is a common symptom. Mothers that think have had miscarriage, need to contact their health care provider as soon as possible. Ultrasound is required to confirm the miscarriage, and it can be performed in the nearest hospital. If the doctors confirm the mother has had a miscarriage, they can speed up the natural process, without surgery (this applies for incomplete miscarriage).

Causes for Early Miscarriage

Reasons for miscarriage are rarely fully identified, and the cause is unknown. Miscarriages occur because the egg has not developed properly, or the baby is not developing accordingly. However, what hampers development, is not known. The cause for miscarriage cannot be identified until three consecutive miscarriages (recurrent miscarriage). Doctors usually say that babies who would be born with disabilities are often miscarried. Some ladies think they could have prevented miscarriage, but that is not the case, as they are very rarely linked to mother’s actions.

Symptoms of Miscarriage

Symptoms for miscarriage are often the same, no matter if the miscarriage has happened before week 10 or after. Some women don’t find out they are pregnant before they miscarriage. However, symptoms are same.

As mentioned, the first and most common symptom of miscarriage is bleeding. Even though some spotting is normal in the first weeks of pregnancy (due to implantation), miscarriages result in heavy bleeding. Mothers can identify and learn to make a difference between normal spotting and bleeding linked to miscarriage. Brown or bright red blood, accompanied with cramps is a cause for concern. When miscarriage occurs, bleedings soaks more than one pad in an hour, contains tissue, and it worsens with time. Women should consult their physician if they notice any of the mentioned forms of bleeding.

Cramping is next on the list of symptoms. It is worth noting that mild cramping is normal, but moderate to severe cramping, which is worse than typical menstrual cramps is a sign of concern. This type of cramping is located in the back, is accompanied by bleeding, and lasts longer than few moments. Should mothers experience heavy cramping and bleeding, they should consult their physician.

Some other symptoms of miscarriage are inexplicable weight loss*, sudden loss of pregnancy symptoms, and no heartbeat on ultrasound. Whenever mothers are faced with symptoms that may indicate miscarriage, they need to seek help from a health care expert.

Next Pregnancy Following Pregnancy

Mothers, who experience miscarriages, are advised to wait at least until their next period to try to get pregnant again. However, some may suggest trying right away.

Myths Linked to Miscarriage

There are several old wives tales linked to miscarriage, and most of them are about possible reasons for losing the baby. Mothers should try to avoid these tales, and put little to no belief in them. There are two very common myths. First one is that having sex while pregnant or under stress is one of the causes for miscarriage. Sex is in no way linked to miscarriage, and mothers can have sex when they feel comfortable. And stress has never been linked to miscarriage. Another myth is that exercise is the reason why some mothers lose* their baby. On the contrary, exercise is recommended for overall better* health and benefits during pregnancy.

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Author

Expert Author : Peony C Echavez (Consumer Health Digest)

Peony is a registered nurse, and former Director of Nursing services for a large nursing facility. She has written web content for a large health education website, and currently creates content for a number of health practisioners.