Approximately one in 3-4 known pregnancies are lost within the first trimester to miscarriage. This number is based upon pregnancies that are verified before the miscarriage occurs. In all reality, the number of first trimester miscarriages is far greater due to the fact that many women miscarry their pregnancy before they know they are pregnant and associate the bleeding with the onset of their next menstrual period.
Miscarriage, by definition, is any loss or self abortion of a fetus before the 20th week of the gestational period. Most of the miscarriage occurring in the first trimester happen before the 12th week of pregnancy. After the first 12 weeks of gestation, the chances of a miscarriage dramatically decrease to less than 10% of all pregnancies.
The Reasons for Miscarriage
The reasons for a miscarriage of a fetus can be attributed to and abnormal fetus, an improper implantation of the fertilized egg, an insufficient blood supply being established between the fertilized egg and the uterine wall or an ectopic or tubal pregnancy.
For some women, the miscarriage will occur over a short time span, usually no more than 12 hours, with the passing of blood clots and larger than normal amounts of blood. Many women attribute these symptoms as the onset of a bad menstrual cycle in pregnancies that are unverified by physical examination or pregnancy testing.
Other women, however, will notice cramping and small amounts of spotting occurring over several days. If upon examination, the pregnancy is diagnosed as self aborted, the woman may have to undergo a D&C (dilation and curettage) in order to remove any remaining fetal tissue from the uterus.
The Emotional Loss and Feeling of Guilt
Women often blame themselves for the miscarriage of the baby. First trimester miscarriages most often occur because of improper formation of the fetus. The body will self abort a fetus if there is a chromosome problem or problem with growth in order to prepare the body for a viable implantation.
Preventing a First Trimester Miscarriage
While many first trimester miscarriages cannot be prevented, lifestyle changes may reduce the risk of the first trimester miscarriage. Smoking, drinking too much caffeine and alcohol consumption in the first trimester may increase the risk of miscarriage and should thus be avoided.
Pregnancy After Miscarriage
Many women fear they will never be able to have children after they have experienced a miscarriage. The truth of the matter is that the body was protecting itself and the fetus from future problems. A miscarriage is a natural occurrence in most cases and is in no way a end sentence for the chances of motherhood.
For women who experience recurring miscarriages, there may be exceptional problems preventing the egg from implanting or growing properly after fertilization. The gynecologist will be able to run a series of tests in order to determine if there are changes that can be made to help increase the chances of establishing a viable pregnancy in the future.
The first trimester of pregnancy is often the trimester with the most changes occurring in the female body and the fetus. If there are troubles with the growth of the fetus, the body will often self abort the fetus.