After a miscarriage and isolated, others may wish to The physical effects of a miscarriage talk about it. tend to clear up quickly. Any bleeding Some couples decide that they want to settles down within seven to10 days, begin trying for another pregnancy and the next period will return in around six week's time. Sometimes right away, while others feel that this is too soon and need longer to recover. Miscarriage infection can make the bleeding last There is no "right" thing to do, and you longer or cause an offensive discharge. have to go with your feelings. It is If this happens, a course of antibiotics Each year in the UK, hundreds of thousands of advisable to wait at least one normal can be prescribed and this will usually period before trying again, though it is women are affected by miscarriage. It is often part of clear it up quickly. safe to have sex when the bleeding has the natural process of making sure that when a The emotional impact of miscarriage settled and you both feel ready. pregnancy does continue, the baby will be healthy. can be greater. Grief is a very normal In the vast majority of cases, there is no way of reaction to miscarriage and it is normal Further information The Miscarriage Association preventing a miscarriage. for it to be intense as that after any other bereavement. Many women 01924 200799 Having a miscarriage does not mean that you won't be describe a feeling of numbness and www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk able to get pregnant again, and most women go on to emptiness following a miscarriage. Women's Health Information have a successful pregnancy. Some couples withdraw, feeling alone www.womens-health.co.uk What is it? not always signal a miscarriage has This factsheet is based on reputable sources of medical evidence and has been reviewed by BUPA doctors. It is intended for taken place, especially if the bleeding is general information only, and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional. The medical definition of miscarriage is light and only lasts a short time. the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy Bleeding that is prolonged or heavy, like before 24 weeks. Research has found a period, is more likely to lead that as many as one quarter of to miscarriage. pregnancies miscarry, the most risky time being between six and eight weeks, Often there is cramping, with period- dating from the last menstrual period. type pains. Some women find that the usual symptoms of pregnancy, such as Miscarriage symptoms breast tenderness, feeling sick and The most common symptom is vaginal having to pass urine more frequently bleeding, which can range from light than usual, may stop unexpectedly. spotting to heavier than a period. There may be blood clots, or other tissue that Why does it happen? is not clearly identifiable. Sometimes a In over 60% of miscarriages, there is a sac-like structure is seen. problem with the way genetic material Some bleeding is very common during from the egg and sperm combines as a pregnancy, and vaginal bleeding does result of fertilisation. There is no other Published by BUPA’s Health Information Team, June 2003 reason for this than bad luck. Another Pregnancy test Sometimes, a sensitive Missed miscarriage – when the Surgical treatment involves going to cause is the embryo failing to implant blood test for the pregnancy hormone, pregnancy stopped growing some theatre for a short operation to empty into the lining of the womb. Doctors beta HCG, is sometimes taken. weeks ago, but there was no bleeding at the uterus. This is known as an don’t full understood why this happens, this time. This type of miscarriage evacuation of retained products of Ultrasound scan This will show the but sometimes it can be due to a usually causes a slight, dark-brown conception (ERPOC), but is sometimes uterus and any developing embryo. hormone imbalance. blood loss and the sudden end of called a dilatation and curettage (D&C). If all is well and the pregnancy is normal pregnancy symptoms. It is It takes about 5 minutes. A soft plastic Miscarriage is more common as a sufficiently advanced, a fetal heartbeat sometimes called a blighted ovum. tube is passed through the cervix into woman gets older, because the quality can be seen. If pregnancy is not very the uterus and the pregnancy material of eggs deteriorates with age. It is more far on (less than six to seven weeks) it Treatment options is removed by suction. common in smokers and with multiple is sometimes not possible to tell if pregnancies, such as twins. everything is normal, and another scan If a miscarriage is complete then no Recurrent miscarriage is needed in seven to10 days time. further treatment is needed. The other Previously having taken the types of miscarriage frequently require Miscarriage is a very common event and contraceptive pill seems to reduce the treatment, though in some cases it is many women experience two Types of miscarriage risk of having a miscarriage slightly. appropriate to see first if nature takes miscarriages, purely by chance. Having Different terms are used to describe its course. The decision on whether more than one miscarriage can lead to Miscarriage is not caused by stress or miscarriage, depending on what the medical treatment is needed depends anxieties that a normal pregnancy will lack of rest. Once a miscarriage has doctor finds out from an internal on the stage of pregnancy, the amount never occur But even after two started there is very little that can be examination. By feeling the cervix (neck of bleeding, and each woman's personal miscarriages it is unlikely that there is done to prevent it. of the womb) the stage of miscarriage choice. When miscarriage occurs under any underlying problem, and there can be assessed. 10 weeks, it is more likely to complete should be every chance of a successful At hospital Threatened miscarriage - this is used pregnancy in the future. spontaneously. Women with bleeding in early to describe bleeding in early pregnancy, pregnancy may be referred to an early After three consecutive miscarriages it is where the cervix is found to be tightly For missed miscarriage or when there is pregnancy assessment unit, based at a advisable to undergo some tests to rule closed. The pregnancy is most likely significant bleeding, treatment with local hospital. Usually an ultrasound out a specific cause. Possibilities include to continue. medicines or surgery may be needed to scan and other tests are needed to find a hormonal disturbance, genetic remove the remaining pregnancy tissue. out what is happening. Inevitable miscarriage – this describes problems, abnormalities of the uterus, Medicines are effective for miscarriage bleeding in early pregnancy where the or a condition of the immune system under seven weeks, or where there is a After a discussion of the symptoms, and cervix is found to be open, suggesting called "antiphospholipid syndrome". small amount of tissue remaining in the possibly an examination, some tests that the pregnancy will be lost. uterus. Although bleeding may be more and investigations may be needed: Miscarriage later in pregnancy Incomplete miscarriage – miscarriage prolonged afterwards, research suggests that avoiding an operation may halve Four-fifths of miscarriages occur in the Blood count This is to make sure the has definitely started, but there is still the risk of an infection. first 12 weeks (first trimester) of bleeding hasn't caused anaemia. some pregnancy tissue left in the uterus. pregnancy. Pregnancy loss later than The cervix is usually found to be open. Blood group Women who have a The medicine doctors prescribe is called this is much less common, and the rhesus negative blood group may need Complete miscarriage – when the misoprostol , and it makes the uterus causes may be different to those to have an injection to prevent pregnancy has been lost, the uterus is contract so that the remainder of the described above. A hospital specialist problems for subsequent pregnancies. now empty and the cervix has closed. pregnancy is expelled. can provide specific advice.
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