What is a miscarriage?
A miscarriage (also known as a spontaneous abortion)is
the loss of a baby before 24 weeks of your pregnancy. However, nearly
all miscarriages occur in the first 12 weeks, sometimes before the woman
even knows she is pregnant. This is why the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy
are the most important. The risk of miscarriage decreases as the weeks
of pregnancy go by. If you lose the baby after the 24th week it is then
known as a stillbirth (delivery of a dead baby).
What causes a miscarriage?
In most cases a miscarriage usually happens when
there is something wrong with the baby and it has no chance of developing
normally. Miscarriage is the bodys natural response to a pregnancy
in trouble. A miscarriage may also occur because of an illness (e.g. German
measles) during your early pregnancy, especially if you have
had a fever over 100°f.
Miscarriages are very common and in most cases there
is nothing you could have done to avoid it and no explanation as to
why it happened. However, when pregnant or planning a pregnancy you
should try to maintain a healthy diet and start taking folic
acid, while avoiding smoking, illegal drugs and drinking alcohol.
What are the symptoms?
The first symptom of a miscarriage is usually vaginal
bleeding. If the bleeding is only light and there is little or no pain
the baby is probably okay. This is known as a threatened miscarriage,
your doctor will usually recommend that you rest and take it easy for
awhile. If you notice any bleeding during your pregnancy you should
contact your doctor or midwife for help and advice.
Other symptoms to look out for include:
- Cramping pains in your stomach.
- Very heavy bleeding - often
with clots of blood.
- Mild to severe back
- Nausea and dizziness.
Typically, the symptoms of a miscarriage worsen
as the condition progresses.
What happens after a miscarriage?
After a miscarriage you should have
a heavy period for a few days, this will decrease over a week or two. If you
have had a miscarriage or suspect you might be having one, you should
consult your doctor. It will usually be recommended that you have a
minor operation called a D & C (Dilation and Curettage), to ensure
that your uterus (womb) has been completely emptied.
When can I try again?
It is sensible to wait until you have had at least
one normal period, this should come 6-7 weeks after the miscarriage.
However, wait until you feel sure you are ready in yourself to cope
with another pregnancy. There is no wrong or right time to try again,
you have to go with your feelings.
Will it happen again?
Having a miscarriage doesn't make it more likely
that you will miscarry again. If you have 3 miscarriages in a row, your
doctor may suggest doing some tests to ensure that it isnt happening
for a reason. The reassuring news is, that most couples who have had
a miscarriage go on to have a healthy baby in the future. Miscarriage
does not mean that you will not be able to get pregnant again.
A condition known as Hughes Syndrome, sticky blood
or antiphospholipid syndrome is a possible cause of recurrent miscarriages.
Hughes Syndrome occurs when you have antiphospholipid antibodies present in the blood. These antibodies make the immune
system work harder, increasing blood clotting. In pregnancy, this
affects the placenta,
preventing vital nutrients getting to the growing baby. For more information
on Hughes Syndrome click
Deciding to have a baby