Miscarriage is the spontaneous end of a pregnancy before the 20th week of pregnancy. The medical term for miscarriage is spontaneous abortion. Miscarriage is the most common complication of early pregnancy.
Fifteen percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage, and one in every four women will have a miscarriage at some point in her reproductive years. Most miscarriages occur during the first 13 weeks of pregnancy; many occur within the first 10 weeks. Some women miscarry even before they know that are pregnant. A menstrual period that is late and heavier than usual may be the only symptom.
Causes for miscarriage are varied, and most often cannot be identified. Many miscarriages are related to chromosomal abnormalities or something similarly profoundly abnormal about the pregnancy, and therefore cannot be predicted or prevented. Unfortunately, when a miscarriage is happening, there is no way to stop it. A single miscarriage does not necessarily mean a woman’s risk for a miscarriage is increased in a subsequent pregnancy. Miscarriage is not related to anything a woman does in everyday life, such as lifting, exercise, dietary intake, or intercourse.
After a positive pregnancy test, signs of miscarriage may include strong cramps that make you double over or breathe in a huffy way and heavy bleeding that soaks a pad in a few hours or less. Sometimes women pass tissue that resembles large, thick blood clots or pinkish/grayish material. It is always important to check with your healthcare provider if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. Keep in mind that bleeding occurs in sixty percent of all pregnancies, but only ten percent end in miscarriage.
Knowing that miscarriage is not uncommon does not make it any less upsetting when it happens to you. Women differ greatly in their recovery from a miscarriage. Although a woman may recover quickly physically, psychological healing may take a long time. It is important to our providers and staff that you have your concerns and questions addressed. They can also direct you to support groups and other resources if desired.
If you have suffered from multiple miscarriages, there may be tests and/or treatments that may help improve your chances of carrying a pregnancy to term. Call our office to make an appointment to discuss these options.