The joys that pregnancy brings, at times can end abruptly. Such is a miscarriage, an unfortunate event that occurs in an expectant mother, leaving her scarred and traumatized.
So, what is a miscarriage?
Medically speaking, a miscarriage is defined as the unexpected loss of the embryo or a fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy. It is synonymously also known as “spontaneous abortion”. Indians, especially young couples are unaware how common miscarriage occurs, (10 – 20% of pregnancies end in a miscarriage) and think that its occurrence is rare.
What are the major risk factors for miscarriage?
Some major risk factors for miscarriage include:
- Developmental abnormalities that lead to fetal death, leading to a miscarriage.
- Overexposure to radiation during pregnancy
- Hormonal imbalance during pregnancy
- Sudden and prolonged illness and/or an untreated infection of the mother
- Low immunity of the mother
- Expectant mother’s age is > 35 years
- Previous history of recurrent miscarriages ( such cases should be supervised if the mother plans to have children in the future)
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- Smoking (increases the occurrence of miscarriage significantly)
- Certain drugs that treat malaria, cancer and skin acne can lead to spontaneous abortion ( please consult your gynecologist and give a proper history of any known history of familial disease and previous treatments that you underwent to your gynecologist)
Things to know about a miscarriage
- First sign/ earliest symptom of a miscarriage is – cramping of your stomach ( this would be similar to your period, at times longer in duration) along with back pain
- Bleeding (heavier than a period) with clots
- Exercise and intercourse never cause an early miscarriage.
- Predominantly, most miscarriages happen before the 13th week of your pregnancy
- Two – three miscarriages occurring consecutively increases the chances of having another miscarriage
- The early symptoms of miscarriage are stomach cramps (similar to menstrual pain) and a small percentage of bleeding.
- Women experiencing miscarriage will experience nausea, painful cramps, heavy bleeding and blood clots.
- Blood tests/Advance investigations to detect any genetic problems and hormonal imbalance is a must
- CAT scan or MRI to detect any abnormalities in the uterus is advised