Miscarriage is a natural part of the reproductive process; but when it happens to you, that fact is not very reassuring. If you have miscarried your child, an important thing to remember is that it’s NOT your fault. Most miscarriages occur because of a genetic flaw or defect that was unpreventable. In fact, the miscarriage rate is determined to be anywhere from 10-20% of all pregnancies, most of which happen before you even know you are pregnant.
The majority of miscarriages occur early in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Signs of early miscarriage include a late, very heavy period and bleeding with the passage of clots. If you are just spotting, this does not necessarily mean you are having a miscarriage. In fact, early spotting is quite common. If you are having moderate to heavy brown or bright red bleeding with or without cramps, this can sometimes signal a miscarriage. Call your doctor if you experience any bleeding at all.
With the advances in research and technology, late term miscarriages or stillborn births are now very rare in the United States, but still possible.
Some signs of late term miscarriage (after 20 weeks) include:
- More than 3 tablespoons of pink tinged vaginal mucus
- Constant Braxton Hicks contractions that occur more than 24 hours at a time
- Labor-like contractions before you are due. These are very painful
If you are experiencing any of the signs of miscarriage, your doctor will normally perform an ultrasound to detect the baby’s heartbeat and to inspect the uterus and placenta. She should also do a pelvic and cervical exam. This will determine what is happening with your pregnancy.
If there is no heartbeat or if you are determined to have had a miscarriage, your doctor may perform a D&C (Dilation & Curettage). This assures that all tissue is expelled from your uterus so you can recover more quickly.
If you have not yet had a miscarriage, there are many things your doctor can do if you are late term, including prescribing bed rest, administering drugs to stop contractions, and/or stitching of your cervix to stop dilation. If you are in early pregnancy, there is not much the doctor can do to stop miscarriage.
The physical recovery is not near as difficult as the emotional. You will enter a natural grieving process, much the same as you would for the death of anyone that is close to you. This is normal, as you have most assuredly suffered a loss. If you find yourself suffering from depression, contact your doctor or a Counselor. What you need right now is a good support system.
Another grieving tool is to join a support group or write in a journal. Write to your baby if you want. This will help you heal by dealing with all the emotions you may be feeling.
You may be wondering if and when you should attempt another pregnancy. After your body heals physically and you get the OK from your doctor, there is no reason why you can’t have a healthy baby in the future. In fact, there is only a 1% chance of miscarriage in your second attempt, so when you’re ready, try again.
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Activities to Avoid
Avoid Preterm Labor