What is a Miscarriage?
Miscarriage is when you lose your pregnancy before 20 weeks. Women are most likely to get a miscarriage during their first trimester of pregnancy. If you lose your baby after 20 weeks of pregnancy it is called stillbirth. Most people who had a miscarriage can have normal pregnancies after that again. There are different types of miscarriages.
A threatened miscarriage is when you experience bleeding during your pregnancies but do not really have pain. Most of the time a threatened miscarriage turns out fine and you do not lose your baby.
An incomplete miscarriage is when there is still part of the foetus left in the uterus after a miscarriage. You need to contact your doctor to do a scrape, otherwise, this can result in infection.
A complete miscarriage is when all the foetus is excreted from the uterus. An asymptomatic miscarriage is when you experience a miscarriage without bleeding or cramping. It is also known as an empty sac pregnancy. You need to see your doctor if this happens so that they can remove what is left of the foetus from your uterus to prevent infection.
A repeat miscarriage is when you lose two or more pregnancies in a row. The more miscarriages you experience, the more your risk of having another miscarriage increases.
What Causes a Miscarriage?
There are various reasons why miscarriages occur. If an embryo has the wrong number of chromosomes a miscarriage would happen. Chromosomes are structures in cells that hold the genes. Each person should have 23 chromosome pairs. Each chromosome pair contains one chromosome from your mother and one chromosome from your father.
Other reasons for miscarriages are a blighted ovum, intrauterine foetal demise, molar pregnancy, and translocation. A blighted ovum is when the embryo implants into the uterus but does not develop into a baby. When an embryo stops developing it is called an intrauterine foetal demise. When tissue in the uterus develops into a grape-like structure it is called a molar pregnancy. When one part of a chromosome moves to another part of a chromosome it is called translocations.
Can Problems With My Uterus and Cervix Cause a Miscarriage?
Problems with your uterus and cervix can cause a miscarriage. These problems include the following:
- Septate Uterus – this is when the septum divides the uterus into two sections. Your doctor might recommend surgery before conceiving. This is also a common cause of repeated miscarriages.
- Asherman Syndrome – This is when you have scar tissue in the uterus that can damage the endometrium (inner lining of the uterus). Your doctor can surgically remove the scar tissue. This condition can also result in repeated miscarriages.
- Fibroids and Polyps – These growths can interfere with the blood supply of your baby, resulting in a miscarriage. Your doctor will be able to remove these growths surgically.
- Surgical Insufficiency – This happens when your cervix opens up too early during pregnancy. It is best to speak to your healthcare provider to give you treatment options. Some providers can put in a stitch in your cervix to help keep it closed.
Are You at Risk of Having a Miscarriage?
Some factors can increase your chances of having a miscarriage, such as having two or more previous miscarriages if you are older than 35 years of age, smoking, drinking and being exposed to harmful chemicals.
Can I Get Pregnant After a Miscarriage?
It is different for each woman trying to conceive after a miscarriage. Some women will fall pregnant right after a miscarriage, others will take longer to fall pregnant again. Women who conceived and fell pregnant within 6 months of their miscarriage lower their risk by one-third of not getting another miscarriage. It is advised that you first wait until your miscarriage symptoms such as pain and bleeding are gone before you try to conceive again, this is to prevent infection from happening. Your doctor might also advise you to only start conceiving after your first period post miscarriage, this is because the first period after a miscarriage can be longer or shorter than your normal period. This can make it difficult to calculate your due date for the future.
Most women only miscarry once in their life. Only a small number of women will experience repeated miscarriages. A miscarriage is not a sign that you as the mother are infertile. This is not the same case for males, some studies have indicated that sperm which has damaged DNA can increase the risk of a miscarriage. Miscarriages can also be associated with a low sperm count.