Definition. Miscarriage or spontaneous abortion is the loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks gestation 80% of which occurs within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. About 15% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage.
Cause of miscarriage. It is now thought that miscarriage comes about as a result of chromosomal disorder or mismatch between sperm and ova. Or put another way, miscarriage may be nature’s way of dealing with doomed foetuses. This is not to at all deny the terrible sense of loss and pain felt by those who have suffered a miscarriage. It does however explain why treatment of miscarriage is neither possible nor desirable.
Miscarriage then is not caused by other factors such as life-style or occupation. For example there is no higher incidence of miscarriage among female jockeys than among women who might have more sedentary occupations.
A miscarriage can be all over in a matter of hours or it may take days to develop and complete. Or it can continue on for a week or more and become known as an Incomplete Miscarriage. In the main the symptoms are
- Crampy lower abdominal pain like those experienced before a menstrual period. In the absence of any “show” or bleeding this may settle down of its own accord and is referred to as a Threatened Miscarriage.
- Vaginal bleeding or spotting along with the cramps. If this bleeding begins to equal or exceed in amount that normally experienced during a menstrual period then full miscarriage is imminent and the situation is referred to as Inevitable Miscarriage.
- Passages of “tissue” with the bleeding and increased blood loss are the end stages of miscarriage symptoms. Depending to the period of gestation this situation may be handled at home or when the pain and bleeding is very severe, hospitalisation may be the wiser option. Late miscarriages, say at 16 or 17 weeks gestation will require hospitalisation. Incomplete miscarriage, where products of conception are retained in the uterus may require assisted delivery or D&C
There is another situation referred to as Missed Abortion or Missed Miscarriage where the foetus dies in the uterus but the event passes with only very minimal symptoms of spotting or cramping or no symptoms at all. This only happens in very early miscarriages perhaps even before a period is missed.
If you are wondering if you are experiencing the symptoms of miscarriage or not and are confused as to what might be going on then perhaps we can help you. Our email consultation service is fast, affordable, private and amazingly stress free. It can start here with a free medical assessment.