Miscarraige is the spontaneous loss of a woman’s pregnancy. Miscarriage can occur at any point in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.
What causes a miscarriage?
A miscarriage is a pregnancy loss that occurs on its own within the first 20 weeks of gestation. While doctors are sometimes unable to explain why a miscarriage occurs, about half of miscarriages result from an abnormal number of chromosomes in an embryo.
Some women are at a greater risk for miscarrying than others, including those who are older than 35, have a history of two or more miscarriages, use drugs or alcohol, smoke cigarettes, or have been exposed to harmful chemicals. If you’ve experienced a miscarriage, it’s important to understand that it was in no way your fault, and it’s likely that your next pregnancy will go well.
1) Weeks 2 Through 4
In the first few weeks after conception, most women won’t even know they’re pregnant, as only a very sensitive pregnancy test will detect a pregnancy so early. A miscarriage during this early period is often referred to as a chemical pregnancy and sometimes goes unnoticed. Chemical pregnancies are often mistaken for a regular menstrual cycle that may arrive earlier or later than expected, with similar bleeding and cramping.
2) Weeks 4 Through 12
Through the first trimester of pregnancy, the symptoms of miscarriage remain the same. “The most typical symptom of impending miscarriage is some degree of bleeding which can vary from light spotting to heavy bleeding. The color of the blood can be brownish, pink, or bright or dark red, and can include some clots. The heavier the bleeding, the more likely it is that a miscarriage has occurred. You may also feel cramping in your abdominal or pelvic region, as well as a lower back ache. “The degree of discomfort can vary from minimal to quite severe during the actual miscarriage,” noting that pain can also radiate down the upper legs. The severity of the bleeding and cramps can sometimes (but not always) correlate with the duration of the pregnancy. “Think of it this way: the more tissue that’s built up in the uterus, the more that must be removed,” she explains. Hence, there will be more bleeding and cramping as the pregnancy progresses. After a miscarriage, you may notice that any pregnancy symptoms you’ve been experiencing breast tenderness, fatigue, nausea, and more, will disappear once a miscarriage occurs. “If nausea and breast tenderness disappear, that could signify that pregnancy hormone levels are dropping, though this is a very soft sign and without bleeding or cramping.
3) Weeks 12 Through 20
Once you’ve entered your second trimester, miscarriage symptoms can include pelvic pressure and mucous discharge; otherwise the main symptoms to look for are still bleeding and cramping.
If you experience any of the symptoms of miscarriage, see your doctor, who can help stop the bleeding and prevent infection.