Miscarriages happen far more often than many people realize. Luckily, you can still have a healthy pregnancy after a miscarriage.
Miscarriage is a subject that’s not often discussed, but it affects anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of known pregnancies. The actual number of miscarriages is likely even higher given that many miscarriages occur before a woman even realizes she’s pregnant.
Miscarriage is defined as the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week. Most miscarriages occur because the fetus is not developing normally, not because of any issue in how it is being carried. It is important to keep in mind that most women who miscarry are able to go on to have successful pregnancies resulting in healthy babies. According to the Mayo Clinic, miscarriage is typically a one-time occurrence.
Though the experience of miscarriage is fairly common, that does not make it any easier. Many people feel like they are suffering alone when they experience a miscarriage, but it’s important to be able to share your struggles with others and find support. Here’s what you should know about miscarriage, including when to consider visiting a fertility specialist.
Symptoms of Miscarriage
Most miscarriages occur before the 12th week of pregnancy and, unfortunately, the vast majority of them cannot be prevented. Some of the signs and symptoms of miscarriage to watch out for include:
Vaginal bleeding or spotting (though it’s important to note that most women who experience some bleeding or spotting in the first trimester go on to have successful pregnancies).
Cramping or pain in your lower back or abdomen.
Tissue or fluid passing from your vagina.
In general, miscarriage is a process. If you begin experiencing these symptoms, you should contact your healthcare professional to assess whether or not you need to be seen right away. If you are experiencing heavy bleeding or are feeling faint, you should call 911 immediately. You should also place any fetal tissue in a clean container and take it to your medical provider for analysis.
Recurrent Miscarriages and Fertility Testing
Recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) is defined as two or more pregnancy losses. The condition affects around two to five percent of couples. If you have had multiple miscarriages, you should consider undergoing fertility testing to determine the possible causes of your RPL. Once the causes are determined, your doctor can help determine the best possible treatment options for you.
Some of the possible causes of RPL include:
Abnormalities in the anatomy of the uterus.
Genetic factors in the fetus itself or in the male or female partner.
Thrombophilia factors, such as blood clotting disorders.
Environmental factors, which can be found at home, work, or even following certain medical procedures.
Lifestyle problems, such as smoking or heavy alcohol use.
If you have had a miscarriage, especially more than one, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with a fertility specialist. They can help you navigate the fertility testing and treatment process so that you can begin growing your family.