Miscarriage

The loss of a pregnancy can be a very difficult time for woman and her family.

Definition Of Miscarriage

A miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy that occurs during the first 20 weeks of gestation. The loss of a pregnancy after 20 weeks is called a stillbirth.
Miscarriages are common, affecting about one in five pregnancies.
A miscarriage can occur so early in a pregnancy that a woman may not know that she was pregnant. These miscarriages are often unreported to the doctor.

Causes Of Miscarriage

The cause of a miscarriage is often unknown. Generally, miscarriage occurs because the fetus did not develop properly. At least half of all miscarriages are believed to be related to a problem with the genetic makeup of the fetus.

Risk Factors

  • Age (the risk increases in women older than 30 years of age)
  • Previous miscarriages
  • The use of some medications
  • Use of alcohol, drugs or cigarettes
  • Number of pregnancies
  • Previous surgeries of the uterus
  • Abnormalities of the uterus
  • Connective tissue disorders
  • Poorly controlled diabetes
  • Kidney or thyroid disease
  • Infections
  • Measles
  • Blood coagulation disorders
  • Fetal chromosome abnormalities
  • Trauma to the uterus

Types Of Miscarriage

  • Threatened miscarriage is a pregnancy complicated by vaginal bleeding and little or no pain before the pregnancy has reached 20 weeks.
  • Incomplete miscarriage is a lost pregnancy where the uterus may still contain the fetus, placenta or membranes.
  • Complete miscarriage is a lost pregnancy in which the fetus and all products of pregnancy have passed out of the uterus and vagina without the need for any medical treatment.
  • Missed miscarriage occurs when a pregnancy has stopped but typically without bleeding or other symptoms.
  • Septic miscarriage is a lost pregnancy complicated by an infection in the uterus.
  • Ectopic or tubal pregnancy occurs when the fetus is growing in a Fallopian tube rather than the uterus.
  • In early pregnancy loss, no fetus has formed but the gestation sac is present.
  • Recurrent miscarriage is three or more consecutive lost pregnancies.

Diagnosis

Although signs and symptoms vary, they may include vaginal bleeding, abdominal cramps and pain and the passage of tissue.

The Treatments For Miscarriage

The approach to treatment depends on the type of miscarriage.
Although the standard approach in these cases is the surgical removal of pregnancy tissue, some doctors may suggest an expectant or a medical approach to treatment.