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Signs of Miscarriage
It is important to know the signs of miscarriage as it is fairly common in early pregnancy. Understanding the signs of miscarriage will help you know when to seek medical care and what is normal to experience during early pregnancy.
A miscarriage is a pregnancy that ends on its own during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, and usually during the first trimester, or first 13 weeks of pregnancy. A quarter or more of all pregnancies may end in miscarriage, but many of these miscarriages occur before a woman knows she is pregnant and may seem to her like a normal period. Most women will experience a miscarriage in their lives, though they may not be aware of it.
The fact that miscarriage is common does not make it less devastating for the woman who knows she is pregnant when a miscarriage occurs. Women who know or suspect that they have experienced a miscarriage should allow themselves to mourn for the lost fetus, and should seek counseling if their feelings of sadness do not ease with time.
In the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, women should watch for some of the common possible signs of miscarriage, such as:
A woman who is experiencing any of these symptoms should not panic, but should call her doctor as soon as possible. A pregnant woman should not be embarrassed to call after hours if she may be experiencing a miscarriage. If a pregnant woman is experiencing a lot of bleeding or discharge and/or having severe cramps, and cannot get in touch with her doctor, she should go to the emergency room.
The signs of miscarriage listed above may mean one of several things, and a doctor can help determine which is the case:
In most cases, women who experience a miscarriage can go on to have a healthy pregnancy when they are ready to try again. Miscarriages usually occur due to a problem with the developing fetus that will not repeat in future pregnancies. A smaller number of miscarriages are due to hormonal problems, infection, injury to the mother, exposure to harmful substances, or underlying medical conditions that may need to be treated before the woman can have a healthy pregnancy.
When a woman is carrying multiples it is possible to miscarry one of the fetuses but carry the other(s) to a healthy delivery.
To reduce the risk of miscarriage, women should practice good care before and during their pregnancy, including:
In most normal pregnancies, moderate activity, including safe sex, should not cause a miscarriage. A woman with a history of miscarriage or signs of miscarriage may be advised to be more cautious.
Sources:American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “Early Pregnancy Loss” [online]
American Pregnancy Association, “Miscarriage” [online]
MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia, “Miscarriage” [online]
Related Article: Ectopic Pregnancy >>