The medical name for miscarriage is spontaneous abortion (SAB) and in this this article we will refer to any type of spontaneous abortion or pregnancy loss under 20 weeks as miscarriage.
Miscarriage is the most common type of pregnancy loss, and studies reveal that anywhere from 10-25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage.
Chemical pregnancy, a pregnancy with a positive pregnancy test but no visible pregnancy on ultrasound, may account for 50-75% of all miscarriages. A chemical pregnancy occurs when a pregnancy is lost shortly after implantation, resulting in bleeding that occurs around the time of or shortly after her expected period. Unless there was a positive pregnancy test the woman may not realize that she conceived when she experiences a chemical pregnancy.
Most miscarriages occur during the first trimester or 12-13 weeks of pregnancy. There can be many confusing terms and moments that accompany a miscarriage, as well as different types of miscarriage, different treatments for each, and different statistics for what your chances are of having one.
The following information gives a broad overview of miscarriage. This information is provided to help you understand what is going on in the body during a miscarriage and be better equipped to cope with the situation. As with most pregnancy complications, remember that the best person you can usually talk to and ask questions of is your health care provider.
Causes of Miscarriages
The reason for miscarriage is varied, and most often the cause cannot be identified. During the first trimester, the most common cause of miscarriage is chromosomal abnormality - meaning that something is not correct with the baby's chromosomes. Most chromosomal abnormalities are the cause of a faulty egg or sperm cell, or are due to a problem at the time that the zygote went through the division process.
Causes for miscarriage include (but are not limited to):
Factors that are not proven to cause miscarriage are sex, working outside the home (unless in a harmful environment) or moderate exercise.
What are the Chances of Having a Miscarriage?
For women in childbearing years, the chances of having a miscarriage can range from 10-25%, and in most healthy women the average is about a 15-20% chance.
What are the Warning Signs of Miscarriage:
If you experience any or all of these symptoms, it is important to contact your doctor or a medical facility to evaluate if you could be having a miscarriage:
The Different Types of Miscarriage:
Miscarriage is often a process and not a single event. There are many different stages or types of miscarriage. There is also a lot of information to learn about healthy fetal development so that you might get a better idea of what is going on with your pregnancy. Understanding early fetal development and first trimester development can help you to know what things your health care provider is looking for when there is a possible miscarriage occurring.
Most of the time all types of miscarriage are just called miscarriage, but you may hear your health care provider refer to other terms or names of miscarriage such as:
Treatment of Miscarriage:
The main goal of treatment during or after a miscarriage is to prevent hemorrhaging and/or infection. The earlier you are in the pregnancy, the more likely that your body will expel all the fetal tissue by itself and will not require further medical procedures. If the body does not expel all the tissue, the most common procedure performed to stop bleeding and prevent infection is a dilation and curettage, known as a D&C. Drugs may be prescribed to help control bleeding after the D&C is performed. Bleeding should be monitored closely once you are at home; if you notice an increase in bleeding or the onset of chills or fever, it is best to call your physician immediately.
Prevention of Miscarriage:
Since the cause of most miscarriages is due to chromosomal abnormalities, there is not much that can be done to prevent them. One vital step is to get as healthy as you can before conceiving to provide a healthy atmosphere for conception to occur.
Once you find out that you are pregnant, again the goal is to be as healthy as possible, to provide a healthy environment for your baby to grow in:
What are My Chances of Having a Miscarriage Under the Following Situations?:
Here are the odds of a miscarriage based on pregnancy age