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What is a Miscarriage?

A miscarriage, also called a spontaneous abortion is the loss of a fetus during pregnancy due to natural causes. A miscarriage refers to the spontaneous termination of a pregnancy before fetal development has reached 20 weeks. If the pregnancy is lost after the 20th week, it is categorized as a pre-term delivery.

It is estimated that about 50% of all fertilized eggs die. This usually occurs before the woman knows she is pregnant. Miscarriages occur in about 10% of known pregnancies. In known pregnancies, miscarriages usually occur between the 7th and 12th weeks of pregnancy.

Most women miscarry at least once in their life.

What causes a Miscarriage?

Most miscarriages are caused by a fetal death due caused by a birth defect or genetic abnormalities. Some other causes are: the fetus did not implant itself into the womb lining properly, infection, physical problems experienced by the mother, hormones, and immune responses. A miscarriage may also occur if the mother is over 35 years of age, has diabetes, scleroderma, thyroid problems or smokes.

What are the Symptoms of a Miscarriage?

If a woman is pregnant, the most common symptoms of a miscarriage are:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Low back pain or abdominal pain
  • Dull or sharp or cramping
  • Tissue or clot-like material that passes from the vagina

If you believe that you are having a miscarriage, please contact your doctor.

What happens during a Miscarriage?

After the fetus dies, the dead tissue is discarded from the uterus through bleeding. The bleeding will probably continue for about 7-10 days. The woman's period should return within 6 weeks.

Sometimes the uterus does not expel all of the fetal tissue, in which case it is considered an incomplete miscarriage. Incomplete miscarriages may require surgical removal of the rest of the tissue.

What happens after a Miscarriage?

After a miscarriage, the body will undergo some hormonal adjustments. Women are usually very emotional and will probably feel grief for the lost child.

Grief is a very normal reaction to the loss.

Can Miscarriages be prevented?

Many of the miscarriages that are caused by diabetes or thyroid problems can be prevented when monitored closely by a doctor.

Other ways to reduce miscarriages are:

  • Early, comprehensive prenatal care
  • Avoiding environmental hazards (X-rays and infectious diseases).

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