You all must be familiar with the term MISCARRIAGE and most probably know its meaning too. But for those of you who don’t, miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy usually before the 20th week. Technically, it is termed as ‘spontaneous abortion’. But it is quite different from the term ‘abortion’ as unlike abortion miscarriage is a naturally occurring event.
While more than 80% miscarriages occur during the first three months of pregnancy a few occur after 20 weeks of pregnancy too. Though miscarriage is relatively common with about 20% of pre-known pregnancies and about 50% of all pregnancies ending in it but the impact is devastating for many women and their partners.
Symptoms of Miscarriage
Symptoms of miscarriage can vary from person to person. Here are some common signs of miscarriage:
Light to heavy vaginal bleeding, which may be accompanied by the passing of clots or tissue, is one of the most common symptoms of miscarriage. It can range from light spotting to heavy menstrual-like bleeding.
Persistent, moderate to severe abdominal cramps or pain may be experienced. The intensity and duration of the pain can vary from person to person.
Some individuals may experience lower back pain that can be similar to menstrual cramps or a dull ache.
Loss of Pregnancy Related Symptoms:
If you were experiencing pregnancy symptoms such as breast tenderness, nausea, or fatigue, you may notice a sudden decrease or disappearance of these symptoms.
Tissue Passing from the Vagina:
In some cases, the passing of grayish-pink tissue or clots from the vagina may occur. This can be a sign of a miscarriage.
Absence of Fetal Movement:
If you had previously felt fetal movements and suddenly notice a lack of movement for an extended period, it could be an indication of a miscarriage.
It is important to remember that not all individuals will experience all of these symptoms, and some may not experience any symptoms at all. Additionally, experiencing these symptoms does not necessarily mean a miscarriage has occurred, as they can also be related to other conditions. If you suspect a miscarriage or have any concerns, it is essential to seek medical attention promptly for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate care.
Causes of Miscarriage
Miscarriages can be caused by various factors, both genetic and non-genetic. Here are some common causes of miscarriage.
The most common cause of miscarriage is chromosomal abnormalities in the embryo. These abnormalities often occur randomly and prevent the embryo from developing properly.
Imbalances in hormones, such as progesterone, can affect the viability of the pregnancy and lead to miscarriage.
Maternal Health Conditions:
Certain health conditions, such as uncontrolled diabetes, thyroid disorders, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and autoimmune disorders, can increase the risk of miscarriage.
Smoking, alcohol consumption, drug use, and exposure to environmental toxins can contribute to an increased risk of miscarriage.
Advanced maternal age (usually over 35) is associated with a higher risk of miscarriage due to an increased likelihood of chromosomal abnormalities in eggs.
Women who have had two or more consecutive miscarriages are at higher risk of miscarriage.
A miscarriage sometimes happens when the mother has a weakness of the cervix. Doctors call this a cervical insufficiency. It means the cervix can’t hold the pregnancy. This type of miscarriage usually happens in the second trimester.
Impacts of Miscarriage
The impacts can be vast and profound – physically, emotionally and psychologically . Here are few of them:
- Vaginal Bleeding: Miscarriage is often accompanied by vaginal bleeding, which can vary in intensity.
- Cramping and Pain: Many individuals experience cramping and pain, similar to menstrual cramps, during a miscarriage.
- Incomplete shedding: In some cases, the uterus may not expel all pregnancy tissues, requiring medical intervention to complete the process.
- Other Complications: While most miscarriages do not lead to complications, there is a risk of infection or excessive bleeding, requiring medical attention.
- Grief and Loss: Miscarriage can trigger a range of emotions, including grief, sadness, anger, guilt, and a sense of loss.
- Anxiety and Depression: It is common for individuals who have experienced a miscarriage to feel anxious or develop symptoms of depression.
- Relationship Impact: Miscarriage can strain relationships as partners cope with grief differently. Open communication and support are crucial during this time.
How can I prevent Miscarriage naturally?
While it is not always possible to prevent a miscarriage, there are certain precautions that can be taken to promote a healthy pregnancy and reduce the risk of miscarriage. Here are some general recommendations that may help:
If you are planning to conceive, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare provider for preconception care. This includes ensuring that any pre-existing health conditions are well-managed, such as diabetes or thyroid disorders, and optimizing overall health before becoming pregnant.
Once you become pregnant, early and regular prenatal care is essential. Attend scheduled appointments with your healthcare provider to monitor the progress of your pregnancy, address any concerns, and receive appropriate medical guidance.
Healthy Lifestyle Choices:
– Balanced Diet: Maintain a nutritious and well-balanced diet, including a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Stay hydrated and limit the consumption of processed foods, sugary snacks, and excessive caffeine.
– Avoid Harmful Substances: Eliminate or minimize exposure to substances that can be harmful to pregnancy, such as tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs, and certain medications (unless approved by a healthcare provider).
– Environmental Factors: Minimize exposure to environmental toxins, such as certain chemicals, radiation, and pollutants. This may involve taking precautions in the workplace or avoiding certain activities or environments that pose a risk.
– Weight Management: Maintain a healthy weight before and during pregnancy, as being overweight or underweight can increase the risk of complications, including miscarriage.
– Exercise: Engage in regular, moderate yoga exercise as approved by your healthcare provider. Exercise can help promote overall health and well-being during pregnancy. Avoid high-impact or strenuous activities that could pose a risk.
If you have a family history of genetic disorders or have had multiple miscarriages, genetic counseling may be beneficial. It can help identify potential genetic risks and provide guidance on available testing options.
Chronic stress may have an impact on pregnancy outcomes. Engage in stress-reducing activities such as relaxation techniques, mindfulness, yoga, or seeking counseling support if needed.
- Avoid Infections:
Take precautions to prevent infections that can pose a risk to pregnancy, such as practicing good hygiene, avoiding contact with individuals who are sick, and staying up to date with recommended vaccinations.
Again, it’s important to remember that even with all precautions taken, miscarriages can still occur. Miscarriage is often beyond an individual’s control, and most are due to genetic or developmental factors that cannot be prevented. If you experience symptoms of a potential miscarriage or have concerns, seek prompt medical attention for proper evaluation and guidance.
At the end what we cannot prevent , we can cope with through compassion and support. By shedding light on the symptoms, causes, impacts, and avenues for healing, we hope to provide valuable insights and resources for those who have experienced pregnancy loss.
It is crucial to remember that grieving is a unique process for each individual and seeking support and empathy can make a significant difference in navigating the complex landscape of miscarriage. Together, we can foster a more compassionate and supportive society for those affected by this deeply emotional journey.