While women have been blessed with the ability to bring new life into the world, it is also a fact that there is always an unexpected risk of something going wrong. The worst can be a Miscarriage i.e. the loss of a foetus before the 20th week of the pregnancy. It is reported that more than 80% of the miscarriages occur in the first three months of pregnancy and can emotionally shatter the expecting parents. The causes of miscarriage are many, the most common are uterine abnormalities, infection, a medical condition like diabetes, or thyroid, etc. According to a non – profit organization, 10-15% of all known pregnancies end in miscarriage.
Causes of Miscarriage
Several Risk factors lead to miscarriage are:
Rh factor: Miscarriage can be caused because of the incompatibility of the mother’s blood and the blood of the unborn foetus commonly known as Rh factor incompatibility. This type of miscarriage occur when the blood type of mother is Rh negative, and the foetus blood type is Rh positive.
Therefore, when there is a difference in the Rh factor between a mother and the foetus, the body of the mother recognizes the foetus as a foreign material and can cause a miscarriage. However, nowadays, Rh incompatibility is rare cause of miscarriage due to advancement in the health care sector.
Improper implantation: Improper implantation of the fertilized egg or ovum that is unable to attach in the proper place is one of the important causes of miscarriage. In order to maintain pregnancy, the fertilized egg must implant inside the uterine cavity of the mother. In ectopic pregnancies, the fertilized egg implants outside the uterine cavity, resulting in miscarriage.
Trauma and Injuries: Trauma or injuries like a heavy hit by the steering wheel in the abdominal area or a blunt force to the abdominal area during pregnancy can cause miscarriage.
Consumption of illegal drugs: The consumption of recreational or illegal drugs while pregnant, put the mother at huge risk of having miscarriages. Illicit drugs, as well as some prescribed drugs, do not have the ability to cross into the foetal blood circulation resulting in miscarriages. Therefore, it is highly suggested that a pregnant woman should never take prescription medication unless it is specially prescribed for her and the prescribing doctor is aware of the pregnancy.
Genetic Disorder: Genetics, cause due to chromosomal abnormality is one of the vital causes of miscarriage. If it occurs early, the women not even get to know about her pregnancy. When this type of failure occurs, the woman simply thinks that she has an extra menstrual cycle or period that month, when in fact she is actually having had a miscarriage.
Intentional Abortions: If a woman who has had previous intentional abortions are at a higher risk for a miscarriage in future pregnancies. Intentional abortion causes the cervix to become incompetent, sensitive and irritable resulting in miscarriages. During that time, the mother’s body is unable to maintain adequate levels of hormones that are needed to support a pregnancy.
Age: Age is a great factor contributing to the occurrence of miscarriages. The risk of miscarriages is 20% – 35% in the women aged 35-45 years. A woman who gets pregnant at the age of 45 has a 50% have a huge chance of going through a miscarriage.
Other causes: Other miscarriage causes are naturally occurred due to unknown reasons. Sometimes people blame the environmental factors such as pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones that farmers use when raising livestock. Exposure to radiation, malnutrition, smoking or high caffeine intake are some of the unknown causes of miscarriages.
Types of Miscarriages
- Threatened Miscarriage: It involves bleeding from the uterus. Here, women experience a blockage in the cervix and suffer from lower back pain along with cramps.
- Complete miscarriage: It occurs when the uterus of the expecting moms completely expel. The bleeding usually does not take much time to stop, and women experience pain and cramping.
- Missed miscarriage: In this case, the foetus dies but not expelled. Usually, women remain unaware of this type of miscarriages and that is diagnosed later with the help of ultrasound.
Symptoms of Miscarriages
- The most common symptoms of is excessive bleeding. It may initially be less but gradually progresses to more profuse bleeding.
- Severe cramps and back pain.
- Constant or irregular vaginal bleeding.
- Persistent pelvic cramps and belly pain.
- Blood clots or grayish (fetal) tissue passing from the vagina.
The primary goal of treatment during and after miscarriage is to prevent hemorrhaging and infection.
- Doctors usually recommend an ultrasound, blood test and pelvic examination to determine if a miscarriage has occurred.
- In the case of threatened miscarriages, the doctors give medication to support the pregnancy, only if the baby’s heartbeat is fine and there are no further symptoms of miscarriage or other complications.
- Doctors also monitored the levels of pregnancy hormone HCG in order to diagnose a miscarriage.
- In case of frequent miscarriages (2-3 times), doctors try to find out the causes of the failures and suggest genetic examination, medication, or blood tests. Hysteroscopy, (looking at the inside of a uterus through a telescope like device), Ultrasound of the pelvic region (an x-Ray of the uterus and the Fallopian tube can be conducted to determine the possible causes of miscarriages.
Psychological Effects of Miscarriage During Pregnancy
The mind of an expecting mother prepares and waits eagerly for her new-born baby. When this fails to materialize, it leaves a woman with a void and extremely emotional and vulnerable situation. The feeling is more acute in the case of a planned baby. The reason why most doctors ask patients to wait for some time post miscarriage, is because to heal them emotionally.
A beneficial way to overcome the shock is to take proper counselling. There should be a mutual conversation and interaction between the partners about their feelings and emotions. Even talking to the people who have had a prior experience of this problem helps a lot.
Prevention of Miscarriage
The prevention of a miscarriage is difficult unless the doctors have been able to identify a preventable cause well before the miscarriage. Apart from this, one has to keep in mind strictly the symptoms and causes of miscarriage and in order to avoid the unexpected fatal consequences.