Pregnancy is a beautiful experience but it does come with its potential issues—miscarriage being the most common complication. If you’re pregnant, the likelihood of having a miscarriage is about 10% to 20%.
The more you know about miscarriages, the better you’ll be able to manage the occasional unusual pregnancy symptom or get the proper care if you are having a miscarriage.
Today, we’ll outline the top 10 things you should know about miscarriages.
1. Miscarriages Aren’t The Mom’s Fault
With very few exceptions, there’s nearly nothing you or your doctor can do to affect whether or not you will have a miscarriage.
Most miscarriages are caused by chromosomal abnormalities, which occur at the time of fertilization and cannot be predicted or changed afterwards. Unfortunately, there is little doctors can do to stop a first-trimester miscarriage that’s already in progress. There’s rarely a way to predict or prevent them. They just happen.
If you’ve had multiple miscarriages, your doctor may be able to prevent future events with treatment for specific preventable miscarriage causes.
2. Statistically, your next pregnancy is very likely to be healthy
Great news! Many, many women who’ve had a miscarriage go on to have one or more children; the likelihood of having multiple miscarriages is relatively low.
In fact, only about 5% of women will have at least 2 consecutive miscarriages while only 1% experience 3 or more. If you’ve had 2 losses or more you should talk to your doctor or an infertility specialist to see if you should be tested for conditions that cause recurrent miscarriages. Doctors typically don’t look for an underlying reason for miscarriage until you’ve had two or more losses.
3. Miscarriage Usually Happens Early in Pregnancy
The definition of miscarriage is a pregnancy lost before 20 weeks. Almost all miscarriages occur before the 12-week mark, and most occur even before detection of the heartbeat which is why expecting parents are often told to wait until the second trimester to start spreading the news. A pregnancy lost after 20 weeks is referred to as stillbirth.
4. Miscarriage Symptoms Vary
Depending on your stage of pregnancy, miscarriage symptoms can vary. In some cases, a loss happens so quickly that you may not even know you’re pregnant before you miscarry.
Here are some common symptoms of a miscarriage:
* Mild to severe back pain
* Vaginal spotting or bleeding
* Vaginal discharge of tissue or fluid
* Severe abdominal pain or cramping
It’s possible to have these symptoms without experiencing a miscarriage so if you know you’re pregnant, call your doctor right away if you experience any of these symptoms. They’ll conduct tests to make sure that everything is fine.
5. You May Not Know You Miscarried
Sometimes a baby dies without any outward signs of miscarriage; this is called a missed miscarriage.
With a missed miscarriage, the pregnancy loss is often discovered incidentally during a routine ultrasound or when the heartbeat cannot be found on a handheld doppler by the start of the second trimester.
Once a missed miscarriage is diagnosed, your doctor can help determine next steps. For instance, you may decide to have a natural miscarriage, which means waiting for the symptoms to begin and the fetal tissue to pass on its own. Your doctor may offer a medication, which induces contractions so the tissue passes earlier. Or you might opt for a medical intervention like a dilation and curettage procedure.
6. Your Weight Can Increase Miscarriage Rate
Being outside the normal weight range can increase your likelihood of having a miscarriage. While being too thin or undernourished may increase the miscarriage rate, poorly controlled diabetes and obesity can also increase your risk. Excess fatty tissue leads to higher levels of oestrogen and testosterone in the body and may also lead to insulin resistance, thyroid disorders, or hypertension.
7. Grieving After A Miscarriage is Normal
Even if you miscarry early on in your pregnancy, feelings of loss are common. Some women have significant depression or anxiety and fathers can grieve, too.
The grief felt is real. Some well-intentioned friends and family may try to minimize the significance of a loss with a “Don’t worry, you can try again,” not realizing that the loss of a baby, no matter when it occurs during a pregnancy, can be devastating.
Still, if you’ve suffered a miscarriage, it’s important to remember that you have the right to grieve as much—or as little—as you need to. Do this in any way that helps you to heal and eventually move on.
Turn to your partner for support—remember they’re also mourning a loss and may show that grief in a different way. Sharing your feelings openly with each other, rather than trying to protect each other, can help you both heal. We recommend seeking counseling and spiritual support in the weeks and months following a miscarriage and giving yourself the time and space to fully grieve your loss.
Just remember, you should also start to feel gradually better as time passes. If you don’t, or if you have continued trouble coping with everyday life or if you continue to feel very anxious, continue with professional counseling and lean on your community.
8. You May Not Need To Go To The Emergency Room
Unfortunately, your doctor usually can’t do anything to help prevent you from miscarrying in the first trimester of a pregnancy. It is possible you may not be able to get a confirmed diagnosis that you’ve miscarried during a single doctor’s visit. A doctor can test for a miscarriage by testing for the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your blood. Usually, the hCG level will double approximately every two to three days in the first trimester. Failure to do so may indicate a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy has occurred. You may not necessarily need emergency medical care if you are worried you’re miscarried. You can call your doctor for recommendations.
However, if you have any of the following symptoms, you should go to an emergency room:
Extremely heavy bleeding (soaking a menstrual pad in under an hour)
Severe abdominal pain
Suspicion that you may have an ectopic pregnancy
9. A Miscarriage Can Take Several Days
A first-trimester miscarriage usually does not happen all at once. By the time the physical symptoms of miscarriage appear, the baby usually has already passed away, sometimes more than a week before.
Miscarriage may manifest as bleeding that starts as light spotting and then progress to a heavier flow with clots after a few days. You may have some level of bleeding for up to two weeks, although it should not remain heavy for that entire time.
The precise timing of how long a miscarriage lasts is fairly unique for each woman, but you're most likely to start and finish bleeding within two weeks of the diagnosis.
10. Fertility After Miscarriage Varies
Unfortunately, it is not possible to accurately predict when you will be fertile again. Some women resume ovulating in as little as two weeks after a miscarriage, whereas others may find themselves waiting up to three months before normal menstrual cycles resume. If you don’t want to get pregnant again right away, it's a good idea to use protection until you’re ready.
If you’d like someone to talk to about your new pregnancy and how to manage it well, schedule an appointment to see a medical provider at The Source. We have a full staff of medical professionals ready with the information and care you need.
If you have experienced a miscarriage and need support, we offer free professional counseling and spiritual support.
Click the image below to book an appointment with your nearest Source clinic today.
What You Should Know About miscarriage? ›
Miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week. About 10 to 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. But the actual number is likely higher because many miscarriages occur very early in pregnancy — before you might even know about a pregnancy.What can accidentally cause a miscarriage? ›
Certain types of uterine infections and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can also play a role. Problems with the uterus or cervix such as fibroids and cervical insufficiency, which is when the cervix dilates too soon during pregnancy, can also lead to miscarriage.What are the major causes of miscarriage in early pregnancy? ›
A pregnancy may also be more likely to end in miscarriage if you:
- are obese.
- use drugs.
- drink lots of caffeine.
- drink alcohol.
A woman early in her pregnancy may have a miscarriage and only experience bleeding and cramping for a few hours. But another woman may have miscarriage bleeding for up to a week. The bleeding can be heavy with clots, but it slowly tapers off over days before stopping, usually within two weeks.What week is the highest risk of miscarriage? ›
Weeks 0 to 6
These early weeks mark the highest risk of miscarriage. A woman can have a miscarriage in the first week or two without realizing she's pregnant. It may even seem like a late period.
A 2019 review of medical studies suggests that sleeping on your back carries risks, but it doesn't seem to matter whether you sleep on your right or left side. These studies do have some flaws, though. Third trimester pregnancy loss is very uncommon. Therefore, there aren't many cases from which to draw conclusions.What fruit is not good for pregnancy? ›
- Papaya – It tops the list for obvious reasons. ...
- Pineapple – These are also not recommended to the pregnant women as they contain certain enzymes that alters the texture of cervix which could induce premature contractions. ...
- Grapes –
A UK case-control study showed that caffeine consumption of more than 300 mg/day during pregnancy approximately doubles the risk of miscarriage, and this effect is driven by coffee consumption .What's the most common miscarriage? ›
Most miscarriages - 8 out of 10 (80 percent) - happen in the first trimester before the 12th week of pregnancy. Miscarriage in the second trimester (between 13 and 19 weeks) happens in 1 to 5 in 100 (1 to 5 percent) pregnancies.Can stress cause a miscarriage? ›
While excessive stress isn't good for your overall health, there's no evidence that stress results in miscarriage. About 10% to 20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. But the actual number is likely higher because many miscarriages occur before the pregnancy is recognized.
How many miscarriages does it take to have a healthy baby? ›
Miscarriage is usually a one-time occurrence. Most women who miscarry go on to have healthy pregnancies after miscarriage. A small number of women — 1 percent — will have repeated miscarriages. The predicted risk of miscarriage in a future pregnancy remains about 20 percent after one miscarriage.How many miscarriages is too many? ›
Having a miscarriage can be devastating, but having one after another is often a very traumatic experience. If you have had 3 or more miscarriages in row, you should be referred to a specialist unit dedicated to managing recurrent miscarriage. You can have tests and investigations to find a possible reason.Should I give up after 3 miscarriages? ›
Even after having three miscarriages, a woman has a 60 to 80 percent chance of conceiving and carrying a full-term pregnancy. Often women decide to continue trying to get pregnant naturally, but in certain situations a doctor may suggest treatments to help reduce the risk of another miscarriage.What should you not do after a miscarriage? ›
No sex, tampons, or douching for 2 weeks.
We recommend waiting until after 2 normal periods to attempt pregnancy again.
Not all miscarriages are physically painful, but most people have cramping. The cramps are really strong for some people, and light for others (like a period or less). It's also common to have vaginal bleeding and to pass large blood clots up to the size of a lemon.How quickly does a miscarriage progress? ›
In many cases, a miscarriage will take around two weeks to pass naturally. Your doctor may prescribe the medication misoprostol (Cytotec) to help a miscarriage pass more quickly. Bleeding may start within two days of beginning the medication. For others, it may take up to two weeks.Why do most miscarriages happen at 8 weeks? ›
Most miscarriages happen between 6 and 8 weeks gestation. We know that most of these occur due to a major genetic abnormality in the fetus. The sperm and the egg (which are known as gametes) each contain half the genetic material necessary for a complete person.Is no heartbeat at 7 weeks a successful pregnancy? ›
No Fetal Heartbeat After Seven Weeks Gestation
If you are past seven weeks pregnant, seeing no heartbeat may be a sign of miscarriage.1 By this point a transvaginal ultrasound should be able to reliable detect a heartbeat or lack thereof. But there are many exceptions to the "heartbeat by seven weeks" rule.
More than 80% of miscarriages occur within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. After 12 weeks, the rate decreases rapidly (Dante et al, 2013; Houry and Salhy, 2014).Can laying on your stomach while pregnant cause a miscarriage? ›
Is it safe to sleep on the stomach while pregnant? There is no evidence to suggest that sleeping on the stomach during the early weeks of pregnancy causes harm. The uterine walls and amniotic fluid cushion and protect the fetus.
Can staying up all night cause miscarriage? ›
They found that after 8 weeks of pregnancy, women who worked two or more night shifts the previous week had a 32% increased risk of miscarriage compared with women who did not work night shifts. Additionally, the more night shifts a woman worked, the greater the risk of miscarriage.Can jumping around cause miscarriage? ›
Miscarriage is not caused by the activities of a healthy pregnant woman, such as jumping, vigorous exercise, and frequent vaginal intercourse. Trauma causes miscarriage only very rarely. Stress and emotional shock do not cause miscarriage either.Why grapes is not good for pregnancy? ›
This one is a bit up in the air, but it is sometimes advised that women avoid grapes during their pregnancy. This is because grapes contain resveratrol, a toxic compound that could cause poisoning or other pregnancy complications.What are 3 foods a pregnant woman should avoid eating? ›
- Avoid raw, undercooked or contaminated seafood. To avoid harmful bacteria or viruses in seafood:
- Avoid undercooked meat, poultry and eggs. ...
- Avoid unpasteurized foods. ...
- Avoid excess caffeine.
Eating watermelon during pregnancy is generally considered safe. However, this fruit is moderately rich in carbs and low in fiber, a combination that can cause blood sugar levels to spike ( 1 ).What to avoid when trying to get pregnant? ›
- Smoking. ...
- Excessive Caffeine. ...
- Too Much Alcohol. ...
- Being a Couch Potato. ...
- Extreme Exercise. ...
- Junk Food. ...
- Chronic Stress. ...
- High-Mercury Fish.
Compared with nonuse, use of a hot tub or whirlpool bath after conception was associated with a twofold increased risk of miscarriage (adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) = 2.0, 95% confidence interval: 1.3, 3.1).Can pineapple juice affect pregnancy? ›
Pineapple is safe to eat while pregnant. But you may want to limit how much of it you eat. The most common species of pineapple in the US, the Smooth Cayenne, has a high acid content. Heartburn and acid reflux are common when pregnant, and acidic foods can make these problems worse.What happens to a fetus after a miscarriage? ›
Eventually, the pregnancy tissue (the fetus or baby, pregnancy sac and placenta) will pass naturally. This can take a few days or as long as 3 to 4 weeks.Are most miscarriages genetic? ›
Experts believe at least half of early pregnancy losses are due to genetic abnormalities. Other causes include blood clotting disorders, thyroid imbalances and structural problems in the uterus.
What does 1 in 4 mean miscarriage? ›
One in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage—that's not one in four women will have a miscarriage, but that in all pregnancies, 25 percent of them will end in grief.Can crying cause miscarriage? ›
Having an occasional crying spell isn't likely to harm your unborn baby. More severe depression during pregnancy, however, could possibly have a negative impact on your pregnancy.How do I stop worrying about a miscarriage in the first trimester? ›
Easing Your Miscarriage Fears
Try to remember that your fears are normal, but that this phase will pass. Take time to practice mindfulness, meditation, and take some time for yourself. This could include any stress-reducing activities you enjoy like yoga or going for a walk.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends it, stating that exercise does not increase the risk of low birth weight, premature delivery, or miscarriage in women with normal pregnancies.Why wait 3 months after miscarriage? ›
After a miscarriage, how soon can you try to get pregnant again? In the United States, the most common recommendation was to wait three months for the uterus to heal and cycles to get back to normal. The World Health Organization has recommended six months, again to let the body heal.How can I prevent repeated miscarriages? ›
- Quit Smoking. Smoking tobacco has been linked with reduced fertility in women and a higher risk of miscarriage, in which a pregnancy ends before the 20th week. ...
- Limit Caffeine. ...
- Screen for STDs. ...
- Take Folic Acid. ...
- Get Tested for Diabetes.
Is It Easier to Get Pregnant After a Miscarriage? It's unclear whether fertility increases after a miscarriage, but there is some evidence that it may be higher in the first few months.Why do I keep losing babies at 6 weeks? ›
Recurrent early miscarriages (within the first trimester) are most commonly due to genetic or chromosomal problems of the embryo, with 50-80% of spontaneous losses having abnormal chromosomal number. Structural problems of the uterus can also play a role in early miscarriage.Why does a woman keep having miscarriages? ›
The most commonly identified causes include uterine problems, hormonal disorders and genetic abnormalities.What should you not do during a miscarriage? ›
Don't put anything in your body, including a tampon, and don't have sex for about 1-2 weeks. It can take longer for you to heal emotionally, especially if you knew you were pregnant when you miscarried. You might have many different feelings, such as anger and sadness, that can last for some time.
Do I need to see a doctor after an early miscarriage? ›
Call your doctor or midwife right away if you have symptoms of a miscarriage. Getting medical advice and care can lower your chance of any problems from the miscarriage. Your doctor or midwife will check to see if you: Might be losing too much blood or getting an infection.What should I do after miscarriage at home? ›
Even though the pregnancy will not continue, caring for the body is still essential for healthy miscarriage recovery. Hydration, good nutrition, light exercise, and sleep will help the body heal. Consider trying a new physical activity that brings you joy or allows for an emotional release, such as boxing.What happens to your body after a miscarriage? ›
It's common to feel tired, lose your appetite and have difficulty sleeping after a miscarriage. You may also feel a sense of guilt, shock, sadness and anger – sometimes at a partner, or at friends or family members who have had successful pregnancies.Is it OK to flush a miscarriage? ›
If you miscarry early outside of a hospital, for example at home, your pregnancy might come away naturally. Some women pass the remains in a toilet and simply flush it away, while others want to take a closer look. Both reactions are completely natural.How do you clean your uterus after a miscarriage? ›
Dilation and curettage (D&C) is a procedure to remove tissue from inside your uterus. Health care providers perform dilation and curettage to diagnose and treat certain uterine conditions — such as heavy bleeding — or to clear the uterine lining after a miscarriage or abortion.What happens if you miscarry and don't go to the hospital? ›
If you miscarry at home or somewhere else that's not a hospital, you are very likely to pass the remains of your pregnancy into the toilet. (This can happen in hospital too.) You may look at what has come away and see a pregnancy sac and/or the fetus – or something you think might be the fetus.How long do u have to stay in the hospital after a miscarriage? ›
The pregnancy tissue will pass between four to six hours after taking the medicine, during which time you may be in hospital. After a few hours, if the pregnancy hasn't passed, you may be sent home to wait. This will depend on where you are and which hospital you are in.Are you very fertile after a miscarriage? ›
In the long-term, no. There is no evidence that suggests that you are more fertile after one or more miscarriages. However, some studies do suggest that in the short-term, couples may be more likely to conceive after miscarriage if they conceive within 3 months, compared to those who wait longer than three months.What helps a woman after a miscarriage? ›
- 1) Acknowledge their loss. ...
- 2) Listen and let them grieve. ...
- 3) Encourage them to talk to other women who've had a miscarriage. ...
- 4) Offer practical support. ...
- 5) End the silence around miscarriage. ...
- 1) Avoid clichéd comments. ...
- 2) Avoid blaming and offering unsolicited advice. ...
- 3) Recognise grief doesn't have a time limit.