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Signs of Miscarriage in Pregnancy

Early Pregnancy Loss

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Signs of miscarriage in pregnancy can be scary, but what do they mean?

Signs of miscarriage in pregnancy can be scary, but what do they mean?

Photo © A.D.A.M.

Do you know what the signs of miscarriage are in pregnancy? Miscarriage is usually defined as a pregnancy loss prior to 20 weeks gestation, though it is more common to have this happen in the first trimester or first 12 weeks of pregnancy. It is believed that about 1 in 5 pregnancies will end in miscarriage, some even before you take a pregnancy test.

Signs of Miscarriage

You may have some signs of miscarriage, which can include:

There are also some women who have none of the signs of miscarriage. They may simply find out at a regular prenatal appointment that their baby has died. This is usually discovered during an ultrasound, which may be performed if the doctor or midwife does not hear a heart beat with a Doppler by pregnancy weeks 12-14.

What to do if you think you are having a miscarriage.

If you are experiencing any of the above signs of miscarriage or other danger signs in pregnancy you should immediately contact your doctor or midwife. They will advise you what you need to do, if anything. One of the hardest parts of pregnancy is the wait and see approach, but unfortunately, there is really nothing that can be done if your are experiencing a threatened miscarriage, which simply means that you are having signs that you may be having a miscarriage.

You may be advised to do any or all of the following:

The other types of miscarriage include the complete miscarriage, which means the pregnancy is completely over and your uterus is empty. You may also have an incomplete miscarriage, which means that your baby has died but the uterus still contains parts of the placenta, which may require a surgery known as a D & C (dilation and curettage).

Figuring out which type of category you go in will depend on a couple of factors including:

 

  • Is there a fetal heart beat?
  • Is the cervix opened or closed?
  • Is there anything coming out of the cervix?
  • Is there anything in the cervix?

Be sure to ask lots of questions about your pregnancy and the signs you are having. Your practitioner will let you know if you need to come to the hospital or their office for treatment.

The good news is that even if you have a miscarriage, you are more than likely to have a healthy pregnancy in the future. However, do not think that there is not a grief process or mourning for your baby who has died. Take the time to grieve, read books on pregnancy loss and generally be good to yourself.

Many people say well-intentioned but awful things after you've had a miscarriage. You will need to be prepared for these statements. Depending on how well you know the person, you may or may not decide to say something or to let it slip past. If you have a natural miscarriage, you may experience bleeding for many days. You may also be asked to come in to see your practitioner. If you have had surgery, you will also bleed, the length of time will vary depending on the stage of your pregnancy and the type of surgery you had. Either way, you will need some physical recovery time for both. Many people forget this and try to rush back to the real world. Be sure to take some time to relax and ease into your regular life. Your doctor or midwife will explain what the physical limitations you may have will look like and they are typically short lived.

You can usually return to having normal sexual relations once you have stopped bleeding. This is an indication that your uterus has healed. You may or may not be ready emotionally. You will also want to think about birth control. Do you plan to try again? When is that a good idea? Has your practitioner asked you to wait? If yes, why and how long?

In the end, remember that a miscarriage is nothing that you've done wrong. It is not a punishment. It's not because you had bad thoughts, forgot a prenatal vitamin, etc.

See also: Why is my hCG falling?

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