Losing a baby through miscarriage

Out of all the complications that can occur during pregnancy, miscarriage is the most common and affects three in every ten pregnancies according to NHS statistics. However, even if mother experiences recurrent miscarriages, she may still go on to give birth to a healthy baby in the future. Having a miscarriage is not a reason to stop trying to conceive.

What is miscarriage?

A pregnancy that ends spontaneously by week twenty of gestation is termed a miscarriage because the embryo or foetus cannot survive outside of the womb. Miscarriage may also be called a spontaneous abortion.

Symptoms of miscarriage or risk of miscarriage

Bleeding from the vagina, whether light spotting or extremely heavy with the presence of tissue, is the main symptom of a miscarriage. Medical help should be sought immediately if such symptoms occur. Other symptoms may include pelvic or abdominal pain with cramps, nausea, frequent urination and breast tenderness.

Causes of miscarriages

Causes of miscarriage vary and are not always explainable. In some cases the joining of the father's sperm with the mother's ovary or egg causes chromosomal development abnormalities. Diseases, infections, hormonal imbalance, and immune system irregularities are also contributing factors.

Preventing and diagnosing miscarriages

Unless detected through medical tests, such as blood and ultrasound results, miscarriages may not be able to prevent if the causes are not clear or early diagnosed. Seeking medical advice if you have concerns is vital during pregnancy. A mother can reduce the risk of miscarriage as previously mentioned through age considerations, health care and lifestyle choices.

Once tested, a miscarriage may be described as a:

  • threatened miscarriage
  • inevitable miscarriage
  • incomplete miscarriage
  • complete miscarriage
  • delayed miscarriage

If the cervix remains closed during bleeding, the pregnancy may be preserved as long as the baby's heart still beats. In an incomplete pregnancy, some foetal tissue may still be present in the womb even though the baby is lost. In a delayed miscarriage, the foetus may have stopped growing and died, but may not have passed through the cervix yet.

Risk to the mother

Medication or surgery may be required depending on the type and extent of the miscarriage. When a mother has experienced miscarriage and lost a lot of blood, or if foetal tissue is still within the womb, the mother's health is at risk and medical attention will be required.

Mothers often feel emotionally and psychologically traumatised after miscarriage. Counselling may be needed to deal with feelings of hurt, guilt and inadequacy. Partners may want to try for another baby. Although it is advised to wait until the first period in four to six weeks, a mother may need more time to emotionally recover.

For more information on Miscarriages click here


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