Miscarriage: Causes, Symptoms and Care
A miscarriage (or spontaneous abortion) means that a pregnancy has ended on its own before it reaches the age of viability. Age of viability is that age beyond which a foetus can survive out of the uterus with or without medical aid. Since the age of viability is dependent on environmental factors, scientific advances and medical facilities, it is currently said to be 23 weeks.
Hence, any pregnancy that ends on its own before 23 weeks is said to be a miscarriage
What is possibility of a Miscarriage?
Spontaneous abortion is the most common complication of early pregnancy. The frequency decreases with increasing gestational age. The incidence of spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) in clinically recognized pregnancies up to 20 gestational weeks is 8 to 20 percent. However, the incidence among women who have previously had a child is much lower (5 percent).
Causes of Miscarriage:
- Advanced maternal age
- Previous spontaneous abortion
- Maternal smoking
- Chromosomal abnormalities
- Congenital anomalies
- Fetal injury
Besides these, other causes could be:
Excessive caffeine intake
Folic Acid deficiency
Uterine structural anomalies
Symptoms Of Miscarriage:
Spontaneous abortion usually presents as vaginal bleeding or pelvic pain or may be discovered during an ultrasound for a woman who does not show any symptoms.
Measures To Prevent Miscarriage:
Except for modifying dietary factors, nothing much can be done to prevent a miscarriage.
Medical Interventions During Miscarriage:
If the pregnancy is not completely expelled by itself than some medical interventions will be needed.
A suction and evacuation may be done when less than 12 weeks or a delivery may be done when greater than 12 weeks.
Investigation of Causes of Miscarriage:
First time miscarriage is not uncommon and hence nothing should be done to find the cause. But miscarriage happens successively for the second or third time then it is termed as Recurrent Pregnancy Loss and needs to be investigated.
Since the causes for abortion could be multiple in nature, several tests may be required to find the exact cause. In some cases, we may not be able to pinpoint the cause.
There are several myths associated with miscarriage. Some of them are:
- Food Habits – like eating certain fruits, vegetables etc.
- Exercise – physical exertion
- Vaginal intercourse
- Lifting heavy weights
- Blood Group Incompatibility
Coping With Miscarriage:
Unfortunately, miscarriage can affect anyone. Women are often left with unanswered questions regarding their physical recovery, their emotional recovery and trying to conceive again.
It is very important that women try to keep the lines of communication open with family, friends and doctors during this time. If there are support groups available for same it may be a good idea to participate.
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