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Miscarriage Symtoms


									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                                                  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                  
                                                                                                                               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.
  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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