Miscarriage: Types, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Prevention - Tips On Parenting


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September 16, 2020

Miscarriage: Types, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Prevention

Miscarriage is the natural death of a fetus before it is able to survive on its own independently, usually in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. Medically termed spontaneous abortion, miscarriage is one of the most common pregnancy related issues. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists or ACOG estimates that about 15% to 20% of clinically recognized pregnancies end up in miscarriages.

Miscarriage: Types, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Prevention

Although it is common, it can be an extremely traumatic and devastating experience. Many women may even have a miscarriage before they know they are pregnant or before it has been confirmed by a healthcare provider. In women who are under the age of 35 the risk is about 10% while in those over the age of 40 the risk is about 45%. Most women who have a miscarriage go on to have healthy pregnancies after a miscarriage.


After one miscarriage the predicted risk of miscarriage in a future pregnancy is usually about 14%. The predicted risk increases to about 26% after two miscarriages and after three miscarriages it increases to about 28%.


Types of Miscarriage

Threatened miscarriage

The woman may experience signs of miscarriage such as bleeding with lower backache, but the loss of pregnancy has not yet occurred. Despite all these complications and problems, your pregnancy is likely to continue.


Incomplete miscarriage

In this type of miscarriage some of the tissue from the pregnancy has been expelled from the uterus, but some remain in the uterus.


Complete miscarriage

In this one, all of the tissue from the pregnancy are expelled from the body. This miscarriage is usually seen before 12th week of pregnancy.


Missed miscarriage

The embryo dies but the body does not expel the pregnancy tissue and no symptoms such as bleeding or pain are experienced.


Recurrent miscarriage

It is the occurrence of multiple consecutive of miscarriages during the first trimester. Occurs only in around 1% of the couples trying for a baby.


Septic miscarriage

Where tissues from a missed or incomplete miscarriage become infected.


Causes of Miscarriage

Most women blame themselves for miscarriage, but most miscarriage happens for reasons that are beyond control. In most cases, there is no way to prevent a miscarriage and nothing done right would have stopped it. Miscarriage can happen for various reasons including:


An abnormal placenta development that interrupts with the flow of blood from the mother to the baby. 


Chromosomal abnormalities in the baby, about 50% of miscarriages are due to chromosome issues.


Weakened cervix.


Abnormally shaped womb.


Poor diet or malnutrition.


Food poisoning.


Certain medications and side effects.


Uterine abnormalities.


Underlying health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, HIV, malaria, gonorrhea, syphilis, thyroid, gland problem, lupus.



Risk factors for miscarriage include

  • Obesity
  • Older maternal age
  • Previous miscarriage
  • Illicit drug use
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Smoking
  • Being underweight
  • Exposure to workplace hazards such as radiation or toxic agents
  • Caffeine.



Symptoms of Miscarriage

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Lower abdominal cramps
  • Spotting
  • Pelvic pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Uterine contraction
  • Vagina discharge that looks mucousy and has a white pinkish color
  • The disappearance of pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness and breast tenderness
  • Weight loss.

Diagnosis of Miscarriage

The following test is used to diagnose miscarriage.

Trans-vaginal ultrasound placed into the to check for the heartbeat of the embryo or fetus. This is done in the case of blood loss, pain, or both.

Blood test to check hormones that are associated with pregnancy.

A pelvic exam to assess the cervix for thinning or any opening.

Chromosome test are done while couple have faced multiple miscarriage. This test identifies which of the partners gene is causing the miscarriage.


Prevention of Miscarriage

Most miscarriages cannot be prevented but precautions can be taken to increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy. These include:

Alcohol, drugs and smoking cessation during pregnancy.


Maintaining a healthy weight before and after pregnancy.


Eating a healthy well-balanced diet with plenty of folic and calcium.


Taking prenatal vitamins daily.


Limit caffeine intake.


Attending all scheduled prenatal appointments as well as discussing all concerns with the doctor.


Immunization against communicable diseases.


Lighter regular exercise to increase fetal health.


When to try conceive after a miscarriage?

It is important to discuss such matter with your doctor before taking any step. Experts recommend that you should wait for some time before trying again. The time ranges from one menstrual cycle to 3 months. To prevent any further miscarriage, you can talk to your doctor about treatment with progesterone. It is a hormone that helps during the implantation of embryo and supports it in your uterus during early stages of pregnancy.


Above all this, you should stop blaming yourself or your partner and start healing physically and emotionally. Take advice from couples who have been in similar situation as yours and later have had successful pregnancies.