Miscarriage is probably the most dreaded word for most expecting moms! It is an unfortunate and terrible situation, and one which can leave you traumatized. Alarmingly, most young couples remain blissfully unaware of the rising number of miscarriages in modern society.
If you are planning to conceive a baby or expecting one, you need to know all about the miscarriage risk factors of and what you can do to avoid it. So, here is a detailed overview of miscarriage, what causes it, and what you can do about it. Read on to learn more:
What Is Miscarriage?
Medical experts define miscarriage as the sudden loss of the embryo or fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy. It is also called spontaneous abortion. Most people think that miscarriages are extremely rare. But, studies show that almost 10 to 20% of all known pregnancies end in miscarriage.
Different Types Of Miscarriage
Depending upon the stage of pregnancy, there are different kinds of miscarriages that can occur. The symptoms may differ, and women may need to undergo specific miscarriage treatment.
Let us look, at the different types of miscarriages
1. Chemical Pregnancy
2. Blighted Ovum
3. Missed Miscarriage
4. Threatened Miscarriage
5. Inevitable Miscarriage
6. Incomplete Abortion
7. Complete Miscarriage
Causes Of Miscarriage
Some of the most prevalent causes of miscarriage are:
1. Chromosomal Abnormalities
- Mismatched chromosomes impose almost 60 percentages of miscarriages.
2. Uterine Abnormalities And Incompetent Cervixes
- When your uterus appears to be abnormally shaped or divided (uterine septum), miscarriages seems to occur predominantly as the embryo cannot implant into the uterine wall.
3. Immunologic Disorders
- Immunological disorders sometimes restrict the embryo from implanting in the uterus, and the woman experiences a miscarriage.
4. Untreated Illnesses
- Chronic ailments like uncontrolled diabetes or Thyroid Problems (Both Hyper- and Hypo-Thyroidism) creates an unfavorable uterine environment. The embryo cannot survive in such harsh environment and it results in miscarriage.
5. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
- Women suffering from PCOS are at higher risk of experiencing recurrent miscarriages in their life.
- Due to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, the woman’s body contains high levels of male hormone testosterone that causes irregular ovulation and menstruation.
- PCOS prevents the endometrial lining of the woman’s body from maturing properly.
7. Bacterial Infections
- Many microbes help in restoring the health condition of the male and female reproductive tracts.
8. Exposure to Smoking, Alcohol, Drugs, Environmental Toxins
Symptoms Of Miscarriage
Some of the common symptoms of miscarriage are
1. Vaginal Bleeding
- The most common symptom of miscarriage is vaginal bleeding.
- It usually varies from light spotting to bleeding, which seems to be heavier than your period.
- The vaginal bleeding comprises clots, either small or large.
- If you experience vaginal bleeding at any time during your pregnancy, it is advisable to seek medical assistance from the GP or midwife immediately.
2. Severe Back Pain
- Back pain during miscarriage makes you feel extremely uncomfortable and stressed out.
- You will experience severe pain in the lowest part of your spinal cord and the lower back portion.
3. Abdominal Cramp
- Severe stomach cramp or pain around the genital region needs high attention during pregnancy.
- If you experience severe abdominal pain on either side of the abdomen, it requires immediate medical supervision.
- The aches or pain appears similar to menstrual cramps, and the early miscarriage symptoms start with twinges in the genital region.
- Apart from the signs as mentioned above, you can also notice the following signs of miscarriage:
- Passing tissue or clot-like material
- Bleeding which progresses from light to heavy
In some rare cases, there are no symptoms to indicate miscarriage, until and unless it gets discovered during a routine medical check-up. You need to remember that bleeding, severe abdominal pain or dizziness is a sign of ectopic pregnancy. It is the condition when the embryo implants outside the uterus and requires medical intervention immediately.
Risk Factors To Elevate Your Chances Of Miscarriage
Here are some of the risk factors to trigger the chances of miscarriage in pregnancy:
- Aged women above 40 years old are more likely to conceive their baby with a chromosomal abnormality, which increases their risk of miscarriage.
- 40-year old women are more prone to miscarry as compared to 20-year-olds.
2. A History
- Women who have undergone recurrent miscarriages in a row are at higher chances to miscarry again.
- Exposure to certain infectious diseases like listeria, rubella, measles, mumps, and HIV elevates the risk of miscarriages.
- Intake of over-the-counter drugs, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and aspirin increases the risk of miscarriages.
5. Environmental toxins
- Higher exposure to harmful toxic chemicals like lead, arsenic, benzene, ethylene oxide or anesthetic gases elevates the chances of miscarriage.
During a pelvic examination, the gynecologist closely examines whether your cervix has opened or thinned out. The medical specialist performs the Abdominal or vaginal ultrasound, to check your baby’s development and heartbeat.
When the miscarriage occurs, the fetal tissue that passes from your vagina is examined closely by the medical specialist. Proper diagnosis can identify the chromosomal abnormality and the type of treatment needed to overcome the issues.
If the pregnancy tissue does not come out naturally from your body, the doctor recommends you to go through surgery (suction curettage, D and C), to remove the remaining contents from your womb. After the surgical procedure, your menstrual cycle resumes within 4 to 6 weeks. Medical experts recommend waiting for one normal menstrual cycle before you try to conceive again.
Natural Ways To Prevent Miscarriage
Here are some helpful tips that may help you prevent miscarriage naturally:
1. Taking Folic Acid or Prenatal Vitamins
- Taking a prenatal vitamin or folic acid supplement before or during pregnancy helps you to fight against the odds of miscarriages.
- Doctors advise intake of 600 mg of folic acid per day that eliminates the chances of birth defects and miscarriages.
2. Regular Immunizations
- Some of the chronic medical conditions increase your risk of miscarriage. You can prevent such diseases through simple vaccinations. If you cannot remember your vaccination history, maintain a notebook.
- During pregnancy, you need to undergo regular medical check-ups and blood tests to ensure your baby’s growth and development within the womb.
3. Disclosing Medical History To The Gynecologist
- Certain health ailments like Thyroid disease, epilepsy, and lupus increases the chances of miscarriage.
- It is advisable to inform the complete medical history to the gynecologist, so that he can prescribe suitable medications accordingly.
4. Avoid Caffeinated Beverages Or Alcohol
- After you get pregnant, you should limit your intake of caffeinated beverages and not drink more than two cups of coffee (200mg) per day.
- The harmful substance caffeine affects the hormonal levels and increases the risk to miscarriage.
5. Exercise Regularly
- During pregnancy, it is advisable to practice light exercises, stretches, Pilates and yoga postures.
- Avoid over-exerting yourself, as it elevates your body temperature and reduces the amount of blood supply to the fetus.
- It is better to avoid contact sports like skiing and boxing during pregnancy, as it can potentially injure the baby.
6. Eat Healthy Foods
- During pregnancy, it is better to avoid consumption of raw meat and unpasteurized dairy products. Some of the infectious diseases caused by these foods are listeria and toxoplasmosis, which elevates the risk of miscarriage.
- Try to intake organic vegetables and fruits and refrain yourself from consuming conventional products that contain herbicides and pesticides. These chemicals may negatively impact fertility.
- During pregnancy, you can intake sea fishes that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Apart from being rich in protein and vitamin A, the seafood contains healthy fatty acids. The omega-3 fatty acids help increase hormone production, ensure a regular menstrual cycle and reduce uterine inflammation.
- You can include wild salmon, cod, and halibut in your daily diet. Avoid intake deep sea fishes like tuna, swordfish, and sea bass as they contain high levels of mercury.
- Include whole grains in your daily diet, as they are rich in fiber and essential vitamins. Dietary fibers help in eliminating the harmful toxic wastes from your body and maintain a healthy blood sugar level.
Apart from regulating the blood sugar levels and hormone levels, fibers also aid in healthy digestion. You need to intake high amounts of fibrous fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and leafy vegetables in your meal.
- Refrain from consuming refined sugars found in candy, packaged desserts, bottled juices and carbonated beverages. The processed sugar disrupts your sugar level and weakens the immune functioning.
7. Avoid Illicit Drugs
- You should refrain from using tobacco, alcohol, or illegal drugs during pregnancy.
- In addition to being extremely unhealthy for both the mother and the fetus, the drugs elevate the risk of miscarriage.
8. Managing Stress Level
- Managing the stress level plays an important role in eliminating the odds of miscarriages during pregnancy.
- When you feel extremely stressed out, you find difficult to keep yourself healthy and calm throughout your pregnancy phase.
- There are certain stress relieving techniques that your should practice during your pregnancy like deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or even painting or gardening.
9. Quit Smoking
- Researchers conclude that smoking is a major health risk for both the mother and her unborn baby. It elevates the risk of cancer, heart disease, lung disorders, high blood pressure, and stroke.
- Women addicted to smoking or exposed to passive smoking are at higher risk of experiencing infertility, miscarriages, preterm delivery, or low birth weight.
- Quitting tobacco not only saves the life of your growing fetus but helps you stepping into the life of parenthood.
10. Managing Healthy Body Weight
- Like smoking, obesity also plays a negative impact on the pregnant women.
- Obesity increases the risk of medical complications from heart disease, diabetes, and various forms of cancer. It also elevates the chances of pregnancy complexities like miscarriage, premature birth, preeclampsia, and gestational diabetes.
- Managing a healthy body weight, helps you overcome the pregnancy complexities and give birth to your healthy baby.
11. Have Safe Sex
- Sexually transmitted infections, like syphilis and Chlamydia can cause sudden miscarriage, neonatal death, infertility, and ectopic pregnancy. To avoid such unwanted circumstances, pregnant women need to have safe sex with her partner.
Did you go through the traumatic phase of miscarriage in your life? How did you deal with it? Share your story with us!