According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), studies done by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists claim that miscarriage occurs in 10-25% of all pregnancies, making it the most common form of pregnancy loss. A miscarriage is an unplanned loss of a baby that usually occurs before the 20th week of pregnancy. The cause of miscarriage is hard to pinpoint, but most likely, miscarriages happen because of genetic problems in the baby, not with the mother.
Miscarriage doesn’t occur because of something the mother did or did not do. While there are some obvious things that pregnant women could do to harm a pregnancy (like drinking alcohol or taking drugs), most of the time, a miscarriage is not the mother’s fault. Miscarriages are unpredictable, especially since they are most likely caused by chronic illnesses, a genetic disorder, or hormonal imbalance which is something that the mother (or doctor) cannot control.
According to WebMD, some symptoms of a miscarriage include bleeding (that progresses from light to heavy), severe cramps, back or abdominal pain, fever, and weakness. Any or some of these symptoms show that something is not quite right with the baby or the pregnancy, especially if these symptoms occur before 20 weeks. If these symptoms are present, see an obstetrician as soon as possible.
There are several different types of miscarriage, all of which have to do with the timing or circumstance of the miscarriage. APA lists them as:
Threatened Miscarriage: early pregnancy uterine bleeding.
Inevitable or Incomplete Miscarriage: bleeding with an open cervix.
Complete Miscarriage: the embryo or products of conception have emptied out of the uterus.
Missed Miscarriage: embryonic death has occurred but there is no expulsion of the embryo.
Recurrent Miscarriage (RM): three or more consecutive first trimester miscarriages.
Blighted Ovum: the fertilized egg implants into the uterine wall, and fetal development never begins.
Ectopic Pregnancy: a fertilized egg implants itself in places other than the uterus, most commonly the fallopian tube.
Molar Pregnancy: the result of a genetic error during the fertilization process that leads to the growth of abnormal tissue within the uterus.
Many people believe that because a woman has had a miscarriage that they are more likely to have another. According to the APA, 85% of women who have had a miscarriage will have a healthy pregnancy (75% for those who have experienced 2 to 3 miscarriages). Just because a woman may have had a miscarriage does not mean they should lose all hope of ever having a baby. If you have experienced a miscarriage, it is recommended you wait a while to allow the body and emotions time to heal. However, then length of time depends on your own personal situation. Talk to a healthcare provider to decide when the right time is for you to conceive again.
Visit our next blog in the Miscarriage series on how to cope.
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