Spontaneous abortion is mostly known as a miscarriage. It is a spontaneous loss of pregnancy, before the 20th week. (Most spontaneous abortions occur before the 12th week of pregnancy). 10-20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, but the real number of miscarriages is considered to be much higher, due to the fact that in many cases spontaneous abortion occurs early in pregnancy, when the women doesn’t even know that she is pregnant. The main reasons are problems with fetal development. It is often difficult to determine the real cause, because these abnormalities are rarely understood.
Risk Factors of Spontaneous Abortion
- Age – women older than 35 have a higher risk of spontaneous abortions,
- Chronic conditions – like diabetes, especially uncontrolled levels of sugar in the blood can lead to miscarriage,
- Smoking, alcohol and drugs – increase the risk of miscarriage,
- Weight – being overweight or underweight increase the risk of miscarriage,
- Previous miscarriages – women who have had two or more miscarriages in a row are at higher risk of miscarriage.
- Cervical problems – like incompetent cervix
- Uterine abnormalities
- Invasive prenatal tests – like amniocentesis.
But, what are the signs and symptoms of spontaneous abortion? Usually, signs and symptoms of spontaneous abortion include abdominal pain especially in the pelvic area, abdominal cramping, lower back pain, true contractions every 5-20 minutes, vaginal spotting or bleeding and even fluid or tissue passing through the vagina.
If you are experiencing any of the above mentioned signs and symptoms, please contact your health care provider.
Types of Miscarriages
- Threatened miscarriage – spotting or bleeding in the early pregnancy, usually accompanied by cramping or lower back pain. The cervix is not dilated and there is a threat of miscarriage. The bleeding is often a result of embryo implantation in the uterus and the pregnancy often proceeds without any further problems.
- Inevitable miscarriage – spotting or bleeding accompanied by cramping, abdominal pain and pain on the lower back. The cervix is usually dilated and the miscarriage is inevitable due to uterine contractions.
- Incomplete miscarriage – occurs when some part of the fetal or placental material passes through the cervix and vagina, while some remains in the uterus.
- Missed miscarriage – it occurs when the embryo has died, but there is no expulsion. The placental and embryonic tissues remain in the uterus.
- Complete miscarriage – occurs when the embryo together with the placental and embryonic tissues have been expulsed outside of the uterus. Complete miscarriages often occur before the 12th week of pregnancy.
- Septic miscarriage – occurs when the uterus gets infected. Fever, chills, abdominal pain and smelly vaginal discharges characterize septic miscarriages. Immediate medical care is necessary in these cases.
- Recurrent Miscarriage – is defined as 3 or more consecutive miscarriages in the first trimester.
Unfortunately, miscarriage can occur to anyone. The physical recovery from miscarriage in most cases will take only a few hours to a couple of days, while the emotional healing can take much longer. Miscarriage can be a heart-wrenching loss, especially for the mother.
Often, there’s nothing you can do to prevent a miscarriage. Simply focus on taking good care of yourself and your baby. Seek regular prenatal care, and avoid known risk factors. If you have a chronic condition, work with your health care team to keep it under control.
Take some time before you start trying to conceive again, even though it’s possible to become pregnant during the menstrual cycle immediately after a miscarriage. Most women who miscarry go on to have a healthy pregnancy after miscarriage.