Miscarriage - Signs, Types and Treatments
Miscarriage can be a very devastating experience, especially if it occurs after the first trimester. There is a sudden, empty feeling of loss, a sense of grief and pain and perhaps anger as well. It is not an easy thing. The excitement of pregnancy can be blinding and if a miscarriage occurs, the emotional drop is hard. While no woman wants to view her pregnancy through the paradigm of loss, it is important to know the sign and symptoms of miscarriage in order to be informed in the event that you or someone close to you experiences one.
Many miscarriages occur before a woman even knows she's pregnant and between 50-75 percent of all clinically recognized pregnancies that end in miscarriage do so because they are chemical pregnancies. A chemical pregnancy is lost shortly after implantation and usually occurs right around the time of the usual menstrual period.
Some Causes of Miscarriage
First trimester miscarriages, those that take place within the first 13 weeks of gestation, are the most common and they occur for different reasons. In many cases the reason is obscured and unknown. However, the most common cause of miscarriage is chromosomal abnormalities that are caused by a damaged egg or sperm cell, or happen because of a problem with cell division in the zygote. Other causes include:
· Maternal health issues such as hormonal problems and infections
· Poor lifestyle choices (smoking, drugs, excessive caffeine, malnutrition)
· Poor implantation of the egg
· Age of the mother
· Trauma to the mother, whether emotional or physical
Miscarriage Signs and Symptoms
There are warning signs and certain symptoms that are consistent with many miscarriages. If any of the following symptoms of miscarriage are experienced, your healthcare provider should be contacted immediately:
· Back pain that ranges from mild to severe, often worse than menstrual cramping
· Weight loss
· White-pink mucus
· Real contractions that are very painful and come at five to 20 minute intervals
· Brown or bright red bleeding that may or may not be accompanied by cramps
· Tissue and clots passing from the vagina
· Sudden decrease in pregnancy signs
Unless there is a sudden, serious accident, miscarriage tends to be more of a process than an event. There are usually stages to miscarriage and there are also different types of miscarriage. In order to be aware of what is going on, you should educate yourself about your pregnancy. Learning about fetal development in the early stages and first trimester can help you be better prepared and aware should anything untoward begin to happen. You'll know what your healthcare provider is looking for if there seems to be a chance things are not going as planned.
Types of Miscarriage
Miscarriages are usually all lumped under one heading: Miscarriage. However, there are distinct medical terms for the various different miscarriages that do occur.
Threatened Miscarriage: There is evidence of some uterine bleeding along with cramping or a backache in the lower region of the back. The cervix is not open. This often happens as a result of implantation where there is some bleeding.
Inevitable or Incomplete Miscarriage: When the cervix is dilated or thinning of the cervix occurs, with or without rupture of the membranes, miscarriage is inevitable. An incomplete miscarriage is bleeding accompanied with abdominal or back pain and an open cervix. If the miscarriage is not complete, bleeding and cramping may continue.
Complete Miscarriage: When the uterus empties out entirely of the embryo and other conception tissue, it is called a complete miscarriage. Bleeding usually subsides quickly as does pain and cramping. An ultrasound will confirm a complete miscarriage.
Missed Miscarriage: When a woman experiences a miscarriage without realizing it - the embryo has died but has not been expelled - it is a missed miscarriage. Absence of fetal tones and loss of pregnancy symptoms indicates this mystery miscarriage has occurred.
Recurrent Miscarriage: This term is used when a woman has three or more consecutive first trimester miscarriages.
When it comes to treating a miscarriage, the primary goal is to avoid or treat hemorrhaging and infection. The earlier in the pregnancy you are when the miscarriage occurs, the better the chance of all pregnancy tissue being expelled by the body itself. However, if the body does not rid itself of all the tissue, then a D&C (dilation and curettage) is performed to clear out the uterus. Drugs may be prescribed to control bleeding, if necessary. Any bleeding that is excessive or is accompanied by fever and chills needs to be monitored by a doctor.
Emotional treatment is harder to provide. There are often too many unanswered questions about emotional and physical recovery and trying again. Thankfully there are counselors who are able to address these issues with women who have experienced miscarriage. Your medical professional can help you get in touch with someone if the need is there.
Miscarriages happen. Learn more here.