Miscarriage: Symptoms, Risks and Causes

by Dr. Zareena A Khalid

A miscarriage mostly occurs in the first trimester of pregnancy, a time where many women are unaware that they are pregnant. It is caused by chromosomal issues. Although it happens frequently, miscarriage is undeniably a traumatic event. Understanding the potential causes of a miscarriage might help women move on and emotionally heal. Get the advice of a doctor from the best gynaecology hospital in Ernakulam to learn about miscarriage, miscarriage risk factors and miscarriage prevention measures.

What is a miscarriage?

A miscarriage, also known as a spontaneous abortion, occurs when a foetus dies before 20 weeks of pregnancy. The first trimester, or first three months of pregnancy, is when it commonly occurs.
There are several medical causes for miscarriages, many of which are beyond a person's control. Understanding the risk factors, symptoms and causes, however, can help you better comprehend the incident and receive any necessary support or treatment.

Miscarriage symptoms

Depending on your pregnancy stage, a miscarriage might present with a variety of symptoms. Sometimes, it occurs so swiftly that you might not even be aware of your pregnancy before miscarrying.

The following are some signs of a miscarriage:

  • Intense spotting
  • Uterine bleeding
  • Severe abdominal discomfort
  • Cramping
  • Vaginal discharge of tissue or fluid
  • Mild to severe backache

If you encounter any of these signs while pregnant, contact your doctor immediately. These signs and symptoms can occur even if you do not experience a miscarriage, but to be sure that everything is okay, your doctor will want to run certain tests.

Causes of miscarriage

During pregnancy, your body gives nutrients to the growing foetus to support appropriate development. The improper growth of a foetus is one of the major reasons for miscarriage in the first trimester. This could happen for a variety of reasons.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS):

PCOD is a condition where the ovaries are filled uo with tiny cysts hence enlarged. It happens as a result of female hormonal changes. It results in infertility as it decreases egg production in females.  Research points to a possible connection between it and a higher incidence of miscarriages in fertile women.

Genetic problems:

Chromosome problems could be the cause of 50% of miscarriages. The issues happen at random when foetal cells divide. Additionally, a damaged sperm or egg cell may be the cause.

Chromosome abnormalities:

Miscarriage can occur due to a variety of chromosome abnormalities, including:

  • Partial molar pregnancy: In this circumstance, the mother's chromosomes remain, but the father additionally contributes two sets of chromosomes. It is linked to aberrant foetal development and placental abnormalities.
  • Missed miscarriage:  It occurs when the embryo begins to form but stops growing before any miscarriage symptoms appear.
  • Molar pregnancy: The father supplies both sets of chromosomes, but the foetus does not develop. Instead, the placenta grows abnormally. 
  • Blighted ovum: An embryo does not develop in this situation. It is one of the early causes of miscarriage.

Long-term health conditions:

Miscarriage within 20 weeks of pregnancy may be brought on by a mother's long-term health issues, which include:

  • Uncontrolled  diabetes
  • Thyroid disorders 
  • Heart diseases
  • Hypertension
  • Antiphospholipid syndrome
  • Lupus and other immune system diseases
  • Renal illness
  • Infections

Infection:

A miscarriage can occur as a result of several infections, which include:

  • Chlamydia gonorrhoea
  • Syphilis\malaria
  • German measles
  • AIDS
  • Toxoplasmosis

Weakened cervix:

Weakened cervixes, sometimes referred to as incompetent cervix or cervical incompetence, are among the factors that contribute to miscarriage in the second trimester of pregnancy. The cervical muscles are weaker and unable to support the foetus in this situation. It could happen as a result of a cervix injury that already existed, such as after surgery. During the second trimester of pregnancy, due to weak muscles, the cervix may open prematurely, leading to miscarriage.

Risk factors

  • Invasive prenatal examinations: There is a small chance of miscarriage with some invasive prenatal genetic tests, including chorionic villus collection and amniocentesis.
  • Age: A miscarriage is more likely to occur in women over 35 years old than in younger women. You have a 20% risk at age 35 years. About 40% of women older than 40 years of age are at risk of miscarriage and at 45 years of age, the risk is almost 80%.
  • Weight: An increased risk of miscarriage has been associated with being overweight or underweight. 
  • Chronic diseases: Women with chronic conditions, like uncontrolled diabetes, are more likely to miscarry.
  • Cervical or uterine issues: The risk of miscarriage may be increased by specific uterine anomalies or weak cervical tissues (incompetent cervix).
  • Earlier miscarriages: Women who have miscarried twice or more in a row are more likely to do so again.
  • Drugs, alcohol and smoking: Smokers are more likely to experience a miscarriage than non-smokers. The use of drugs and excessive alcohol both increase the risk of miscarriage.
  • A miscarriage is beyond your control. Just concentrate on looking after yourself and your child; if you have a chronic illness, work with your doctor to keep it under control.

FAQs:

1. When can I try again after a miscarriage?
Once the bleeding has stopped, you can try again.

2. Can stress cause miscarriage?
Stress is not a risk factor for miscarriage. 

3. Can lifestyle choices cause miscarriage?
The majority of miscarriages are not brought on by anything you did or did not do. However, there are some things that can increase its risk.

4. Does bleeding always end with a miscarriage?
No. Some women experience minor spotting or bleeding without miscarriage.

5. When will I get my period?
Though this might vary, your period might often occur between four and six weeks after your loss.

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